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larly daring effort to beat the French Consul at a game he was himself very fond of playing towards other nations. The further chances of the game—the skill of the players—the end which tests the wisdom of the beginning—are to be hereafter recorded. Before the close of Congress, General Hamilton resorted to his old practice of drawing up a plan, or programme of action, for his party. It was dated April, 1802, and addressed to Bayard. It is worth the study of those who feel interested in the inquiry whether he was a profound and wise statesman, understanding men, and especially understanding his own countrymen, and was borne down only by an overwhelming tide of circumstances which no sagacity could foresee or resist; or whether he was that visionary “projector” we have seen him so recently pronouncing the President—as much of an “exotic” in American affairs as he sometimes suspected himself of being' and as John Adams always declared him to be. We present the material parts of the plan:
“Nothing is more fallacious than to expect to produce any valuable or permanent results in political projects by relying merely on the reason of men. Men are rather reasoning than reasonable animals, for the most part governed by the impulse of passion. This is a truth well understood by our adversaries, who have practised upon it with no small benefit to their cause, for at the very moment they are eulogizing the reason of men, and professing to appeal only to that faculty, they are courting the strongest and most active passion of the human heart—wanity 1.
“It is no less true, that the Federalists seem not to have attended to the fact sufficiently; and that they erred in relying so much on the rectitude and utility of their measures as to have neglected the cultivation of popular favor, by fair and justifiable expedients. The observation has been repeatedly made by me to individuals with whom I particularly conversed, and expedients suggested for gaining good will, which were never adopted. Unluckily, however, for us, in the competition for the passions of the people, our opponents have great advantages over us; for the plain reason that the vicious are far more active than the good passions; and that, to win the latter to our side, we must renounce our principles and our objects, and unite in corrupting public opinion, till it becomes fit for nothing but mischief. Yet, unless we can contrive to take hold of, and carry along with us, some strong feelings of the mind, we shall in vain calculate upon any substantial or durable results. Whatever plan we may adopt, to be successful, must be founded on the truth of this proposition. And perhaps it is not very easy for us to give it full effect; especially not without some deviations from what, on other occasions, we have maintained to be right. But in determining upon the propriety of the deviations, we must consider whether it be possible for us to succeed, without, in some degree,
* Letter to Morris, February 27th, 1802, already quoted.
employing the weapons which have been employed against us, and whether the actual state and future prospect of things be not such as to justify the reciprocal use of them. I need not tell you that I do not mean to countenance the imitation of things intrinsically unworthy, but only of such as may be denominated irregular; such as, in a sound and stable order of things, ought not to exist. Neither are you to infer that any revolutionary result is contemplated. In my opinion, the present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bond fide, must we combat our political foes, rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provides for amendments. By these general views of the subject have my reflections been guided. I now offer you the outline of the plan which they have suggested. Let an association be formed to be denominated “The Christian Constitutional Society.” Its objects to be— “1st. The support of the Christian religion. “2d. The support of the Constitution of the United States.
“1st. A council, consisting of a president and twelve members, of whom four and the president to be a quorum.
“2d. A sub-directing council in each State, consisting of a vice-president and twelve members, of whom four, with the vice-president, to be a quorum; and
“3d. As many branches in each State as local circumstances may permit to be formed by the sub-directing council.
“The meeting at Washington to nominate the president and vice, together with four members of each of the councils, who are to complete their own numbers respectively.
“Its means :
“1st. The diffusion of information. For this purpose not only the newspapers but pamphlets must be largely employed; and to do this a fund must be created; five dollars annually, for eight years, to be contributed by each member who can really afford it (taking care not to burden the less able brethren), may afford a competent sum for a competent term. It is essential to be able to disseminate gratis useful publications. Wherever it can be done, and there is a press, clubs should be formed, to meet once a week, read the newspapers, and prepare essays, paragraphs, etc. “ 2d. The use of all lawful means in concert to promote the election of fit men; a lively correspondence must be kept up between the different societies. “3d. The promoting of institutions of a charitable and useful nature in the management of Federalists. The populous cities ought particularly to be attended to ; perhaps it would be well to institute in such places—1st, societies for the relief of emigrants; 2d, academies, each with one professor, for instructing the different classes of mechanics in the principles of mechanics and the elements of chemistry. The cities have been employed by the Jacobins to give an impulse to the country; and it is believed to be an alarming fact, that while the question of Presidential election was pending in the House of Representatives, parties were organizing in several of the cities, in the event of there being no election, to cut off the leading Federalists and seize the government. ' “The foregoing to be the principal engine, and in addition, let measures be adopted to bring as soon as possible the repeal of the judiciary law before the Supreme Court; afterwards, if not before, let as many legislatures as can be prevailed upon, instruct their senators to endeavor to procure a repeal of the repealing law. The body of New England, speaking the same language, will give a powerful impulse. In Congress, our friends to propose little, to agree cordially to all good measures, and to resist and expose all bad. This is a general sketch of what has occurred to me. It is at the service of my friends for so much as it may be worth.”
General Hamilton was even more unsuccessful when he attempted to secure the “sweet voices” of the multitude by caresses, than when he acted the natural and vigorous part of Coriolanus. The passages in which he assures one of the most intimate and confidential of his political correspondents that now no “revolutionary result” is contemplated, that, “in his opinion,” they must cling to the Constitution “bond fide,” and reject “all changes but through the channel itself provided for amendments,” are very suggestive. This card-castle did not make a favorable impression on a man of equal ability and far greater shrewdness and knowledge of men. Bayard wrote back that “the plan was marked with great ingenuity, but he was not inclined to think that it was applicable to the state of things in this country.” He said, “they had the greater number of political calculators,” their opponents of “political fanatics;” that “an attempt at association, organized into clubs, on the part of the Federalists, would revive a thousand jealousies and suspicions which now began to slumber;” that they must “not be too impatient;” that two or three years, without any exertion on their part, “would render every honest man in the country their proselyte;” and finally, that he had “had an opportunity of learning the opinions of the Chief Justice,” who “ considered the late repealing act as operative in depriving the judges of all power derived under the act repealed,” the office however still remaining, a “mere capacity, without a new appointment, to receive and exercise any new judicial powers which the legislature might confer.” And thus dropped the extinguisher on “The Christian Constitutional Society.” The President wrote Joel Barlow, May 3d, giving the political statistics of the United States at the time with great accuracy and force. The following sentences will show what he
* For letter, see Hamilton's Works, vol. vi. p. 543.
anticipated from Judge Marshall's then forthcoming biography of Washington:
“John Marshall is writing the life of General Washington from his papers. It is intended to come out just in time to influence the next Presidential election. It is written, therefore, principally with a view to electioneering purposes.”
Congress adjourned on the 3d of May, and on the 5th the President set out on a flying visit home. He reached the capital again before the close of the month.
He wrote one of his usual highly respectful letters to Dr. Priestley, June 19th, repelling the praise of the latter for any exclusive agency in the great political revolution which had been effected—declaring that “no individual had a right to take any great share to himself” of its accomplishment—that “our people in a body were wise”—that “those they had assigned to the direction of their affairs had stood with a pretty even front—if any one of them had been withdrawn, many others, entirely equal, had been ready to fill his place with as good abilities.” Few, probably, will quite concur in the accuracy of these modest expressions.
To MARIA JEFFERson Eppes, BERMUDA HUNDRED.
WAshingtox, July 1st, 1802. MY DEAR MARIA :
Mr. Eppes's letter of May 11th is the last news I have heard of you. I wrote to him June 13. Your sister has been disappointed in her visit here by the measles breaking out in her family. It is therefore put off to October. I propose to leave this on the 21st inst., and shall be at Monticello on the 24th or 27th, according to the route I take; where I shall hope to find you on my arrival. I should very much apprehend that were you to continue at the Hundred till then, yourself, Mr. Eppes, or the little one, might be prevented by the diseases incident to the advancing season, from going up at all. It will therefore give me great pleasure to hear of your leaving the Hundred as soon as Mr. Eppes's affairs will permit. Mr. Trist and Dr. Bache will both set out within a few days for the Mississippi, with a view to remove their families thither in the fall; so we shall lose those two late accessions to our neighborhood. However, in the summer season, our complaint is not the want of society; and in the winter there can be little, even among neighbors. Dabney Carr was married on Monday (28), and set out yesterday (30) with his new wife for Albemarle, where he will join his mother, now keeping house at Dunlora, till he can fix himself in Charlottesville, which will be soon. Sam Carr returns decidedly to live at Dunlora; the marriage of the other sister to Dabney seems to have effected this. Peter and his wife are expected here daily on their way to Baltimore. From this sketch you may judge of the state of our neighborhood when we shall meet there. It will be infinitely joyful to me to be with you there, after the longest separation we have had for years. I count from one meeting to another as we do between port and port at sea; and I long for the moment with the same earnestness. Present me affectionately to Mr. Eppes, and let me hear from you immediately. Be
assured yourself of my tender and unchangeable affections. Th. JEFFERSoN.
To MARIA JEFFERSoN EPPEs.
WAshington, July 2, 1802. MY DEAR MARIA:
My letter of yesterday had hardly got out of my hand when yours of June 21st and Mr. Eppes's of the 25th were delivered. I learn with extreme concern the state of your health and that of the child, and am happy to hear you have got from the Hundred to Eppington, the air of which will aid your convalescence, and will enable you to delay your journey to Monticello till you have recovered your strength to make the journey safe. With respect to the measles, they began in Mr. Randolph's family about the middle of June, and will probably be a month getting through the family; so that you had better, when you go, pass on direct to Monticello, not calling at Edgehill. I will immediately write to your sister, and inform her I have advised you to this. I have not heard yet of the disease having got to Monticello, but the intercourse with Edgehill being hourly, it cannot have failed to have gone there immediately; and as there are no young children there but Bet's and Sally's, and the disease is communicable before a person knows they have it, I have no doubt those children have passed through it. The children of the plantation, being a mile and a half off, can easily be guarded against. I will write to Monticello, and direct that should the nail boys or any others have it, they be removed to the plantation instantly on your arrival. Indeed, none of them but Bet's sons stay on the mountain : and they will be doubtless through it. I think, therefore, you may be there in perfect security. It had gone through the neighborhood chiefly when I was there in May; so that it has probably disappeared. You should make inquiry on the road before you go into any house, as the disease is now universal throughout the State, and all the States. Present my most friendly attachment to Mr. and Mrs. Eppes. Tell the latter I have had her spectacles these 6 months, waiting for a direct conveyance. My best affections to Mr. Eppes, if with you, and the family, and tender and constant love to yourself.
P.S. I have always forgotten to answer your apologies about Critta, which were very unnecessary. I am happy she has been with you and useful to you. At Monticello there could be nothing for her to do; so that her being with you is exactly as desirable to me as she can be useful to you.
To MARIA JEFFERSoN EPPEs. Washington, July 16, 1802. MY DEAR MARIA: Your sister informs me she has lately given you information of the health of the family. It seems her children have escaped the measles, though some of the negroes have had it. The following is an extract from her letter dated July 10th :