« ZurückWeiter »
chancery jurisdiction) attempting, on a mere er parte hearing, to arrest by his fiat both the laws of Congress and the officers acting under the direct authority of the Executive of the United States for their execution. The marshal of Orleans disobeyed the judicial injunction, and dispossessed Mr. Livingston. The latter made no further attempts to resume his work. Three weeks after his dispossession, the Territorial Legislature passed an act prescribing the terms on which riparian proprietors should proceed, and this gave Mr. Fo an opportunity to resume his enterprise under its conditions; but he had elected to seek his remedy from Congress and courts of law. The Orleans Legislature also passed a vote of thanks to the President for his interposition. On the 7th of March, 1808, the President, by message, informed Congress of the general facts in this case, mentioning his own measures “to prevent any change in the state of things, and to keep the grounds clear of intruders,” “until this question could be decided under legislative authority.” He nowhere attempted to pass upon the real title, regarding the possession as “ #. only charge of the Executive,” and he committed the question of title to Congress, “the only authority competent to its decision.” ". He admitted that if that title was ultimately found to rest in Mr. Livingston, the latter would be o to damages from the parties, which, without right, had received the intermediate profits. .." Livingston appealed to the public in a pamphlet, and applied to Congress for relief. He also commenced suits for damages against Mr. Jefferson and the marshal who dispossessed him. From Congress he derived no satisfaction, though the matter was pressed for several terms. The Attorney-General, after two years more of consideration (and after Mr. Jefferson had retired from office), reaffirmed his former opinion. The Legislature of Orleans Territory also renewed their vote of thanks in February, 1810, pending the suit of Livingston against Jefferson. The latter was decided ... the plaintin (1311), on a technical point, we think, without reaching the merits of the case. The suit was not renewed by Mr. Livingston, and here the matter dropped, so far as Mr. Jefferson was concerned. Livingston afterwards, however, recovered possession of a portion of the Batture, on Gravier's title—and even this had risen so enormously in value, that it enabled him to pay all the expenses which he had been at, to most honorably discharge all his earlier liabilities, and still to realize a large fortune. On the legal questions involved in the Batture case, we do not, of course, assume to decide, though acting on the proofs before the President and Cabinet, it would be difficult for us to see on what possible sound rule, in regard to riparian possessions, an adjacent owner could be entitled to embank round and exclude the overflow of the river at high water from any mud deposit or shoal, over, which it was necessary for the river at such times to flow, in order not to be so dammed up or obstructed as to lead to inundation, or to a change in the bed of the stream, or to other practical injurious consequences, always liable to ensue in such cases. (For example, the filling up of the stream above or below the obstruction, to the entire destruction of existing docks, or rendering it necessary to extend them much further to reach deep water—thus constantly changing the frontage, and more and more obstructing the stream.) If the adjacent owners of shoals, uncovered in low water, are entitled, as a matter of course, to inclose them against high water, the Hudson, and many other of the finest navigable streams of our country, might thus be rendered wholly unnavigable in ten years. The owner of a far projecting shoal on one side of a river, might thus drive the descending waters of the next “fresh '' on the lands of the opposite owner, and lead, in some instances, to their complete abrasion, so that henceforth the bed of the stream would pass where they had stood. And let us imagine an adjacent owner “docking out,” beyond high water mark, from “one hundred and twenty-two to two hundred and forty-seven yards" into the North or East Rivers at the city of New York, or into the Delaware at Philadelphia . It is unnecessary to further demonstrate the complete and self-evident absurdity of such a doctrine. We repeat, we speak of facts as they were on proof before the President, and consequently as they appeared to his mind and to the minds of his Cabinet. How differently they were made to appear on the trial, we are not apprised, as we have not looked up the record of the case, considering the accuracy of the testimony in regard to the character of the Batture of no consequence in estimating the President's motives or even the degree of prudence which he exercised. He acted on abundant testimony; and, in reality, it was only the question of possession, and not the question of title, which the President interfered with. Here he had the direct authority of an act of Congress. And he had not then, or afterwards, the slightest direct or indirect personal interest in the matter. As we have several times cited Mr. Jefferson's paper in this celebrated case, we should, in justice to Mr. Livingston, make an explanation. That paper does not conceal the idea that the latter acted throughout the whole transaction the part of a trickish. unprincipled, greedy speculator and adventurer. Mr. Jefferson unquestionably enter
* See his Paper on the Batture case, Works, Cong. Ed., vol. viii. p. 601.
tained this view of Livingston's character, and he considered him doubly dangerous by reason of his great talents and perfect knowledge of all the turnings and windings of legal practice. It is proper also to say, that this was the prevailing impression, at the time, of the most prominent and best men in Orleans Territory. The Creole population, especially, regarded and feared him as a great incarnation of wickedness and subtlety.
There is little doubt that gross exaggerations had crept into these popular conceptions of his character. We are ready to believe that the President, influenced by the representations of the Government officers and prominent inhabitants of the territory, did no little injustice to his motives and his actions. Mr. Jefferson was proverbially scant in his charity towards great speculations and great speculators. There might have been other lurking Fo It is not to be denied that the prevailing impressions of Livingston's political career were far from favorable. He was spontaneously selected by bo parties as that Republican in Congress, in the election of 1801, who would be the first to #. over to Burr, if any one did so. Jefferson, at that period, had no suspicions of him.
e gave him an office. Livingston became a defaulter in that office. He went South
with a tarnished name. He was accused of favoring Burr's schemes in 1806. He appeared as his counsel at New Orleans. All these circumstances, with his attempted speculations and the public sentiment at New Orleans, conspired to beget unfavorable and exaggerated prejudices.
It would be difficult to believe, that at all periods of his life, Edward Livingston was a perfectly scrupulous man. Yet there is just as little doubt that, at the meridian of a career which became splendid, and from thence to its close, he possessed the full confldence of the most just and intelligent of his compatriots. He became a lawgiver and statesman, who received and was entitled to the common confidence of his country.
One of the surest indications that could be adduced that he was really a right-hearted man, is to be found in the fact that, subsequently to the bitter contests we have recorded, he purely voluntarily made an overture towards the restoration of friendly relations with Mr. Jefferson. This overture was made not when the great orb of the latter was blazing at its zenith, and when the ambitious were eager to bask in its beams, but when it was touching the horizon; and Livingston's own star now needed no reflected brightness. The spirit and tone of Jefferson's answer showed that he had completely changed his opinions of his earlier Batture antagonist.
The President at Home—Letters to his Grandson—Presidential Election, 1808–0ur Rela. tions with England—Mr. Canning and Mr. Pinkney—Their Diplomatic Correspondence, etc.—Canning's offensive Communication—Meeting of Congress—President's Message—Action of Congress on Embargo—Embargo sustained by a larger Majority than that by which it originally passed—The Enforcing Law—President's continued Avowals that Embargo was intended as a Temporary Measure—A Federal Quibble to find a Fulcrum for Sedition—Reception of Enforcing Law in Massachusetts—Resistance and Disunion called for in Newspapers and Town Meetings–Gore's Resolutions passed by Massachusetts Legislature, January, 1809—Awkward Posture in which they placed some of the Federal Leaders—Silence of our Government in regard to Canning's offensive Communication—That Communication published, through British agency, in Massachusetts—Effect produced on Public Mind and in Congress—Key's Speech—Bill for an Extra Session passes Congress—This a test question on the Administration Policy— That Policy described by the President—Other Bills, and Federal Policy—Nicholas's Resolution–Quincy moves Resolutions preparatory to an Impeachment of the Presi. dent—They receive one Vote—A new Republican Wing, and its Plan–It unites with the Opposition to vote down Nicholas's Resolution—Defeat of the Administration— Jefferson to his Son-in-law on the Subject–Administration Party rally–The Non-Intercourse Law passed—President's contemporaneous Explanation of premature Repeal of Embargo—His Contradictory Statements to Giles in 1825–Causes of his manifest Error in them in regard to J. Q. Adams, etc.—They fortunately do no Injustice to Mr. Adams—Mr. Adams's Remarks on them in National Intelligencer—His charges against Federalists of Disunion Projects in 1808–9 and previously—Jefferson's Real Attitude on Repeal of Embargo—The later Assailants of that Law—An English and French View of the subject—Testimony of Edinburg Review and the Emperor Napoleon—What Substitute did its Opponents propose ?—Inconsistency of New England Maritime Federalists—Memorial of John Jacob Astor and others—Final success of the Policy— Mr. Jefferson's Consistency while in Office—His Personal Feelings unchilled—His Rela. tions with Subordinates, etc.—His Feelings on leaving Office–Addresses pour upon him—Address of Virginia General Assembly—His Reply–Declines the Ovation of his Neighbors—His Answer to their Address.
THE President made his usual two visits to Monticello in the summer of 1808. His unpublished letters of this period to
Mr. Eppes give some traces of his private life, but they disclose nothing of particular interest."
* Mr. F. W. Eppes was again married, but he maintained as much as before towards Mr. Jefferson, the attitude of an affectionate and affectionately cherished son-in-law.
To Thomas JEFFERson RANDolph.
WASHINGTON, October 24th, 1808. Dr.AR JEFFERSox :
I inclose you a letter from Ellen, which, I presume, will inform you that all are well at Edgehill. I received yours without date of either time or place, but written, I presume, on your arrival at Philadelphia. As the commencement of your lectures is now approaching, and you will hear two lectures a day, I would recommend to you to set out from the beginning with the rule to commit to writing every evening the substance of the lectures of the day. It will be attended with many advantages. It will oblige you to attend closely to what is delivered to recall it to your memory, to understand, and to digest it in the evening; it will fix it in your memory, and enable you to refresh it at any future time. It will be much better to you than even a better digest by another hand, because it will better recall to your mind the ideas which you originally entertained and meant to abridge. Then, if once a week, you will, in a letter to me, state a synopsis or summary view of the heads of the lectures of the preceding week, it will give me great satisfaction to attend to your progress, and it will further aid you by obliging you still more to generalize and to see analytically the fields of science over which you are travelling. I wish to hear of the commissions I gave you for Rigden, Voight, and Ronaldson, of the delivery of the letters I gave you to my friends there, and how you like your situation. This will give you matter for a long letter, which will give
you as useful an exercise in writing as a pleasing one to me in reading. God bless you and prosper your pursuits. - TH. JEFFERSON.
A month later, was written to the same grandson, that beautiful letter of advice, given in both editions of Mr. Jefferson's Works, from which we have already extracted the author's recital of his own experiences and triumphs over temptation in early life."
The Presidential election of 1808 was conducted with extreme heat, particularly in the eastern States. The Federal gains were important. The great chief whom the Republicans had so long centered upon—the leader who never had a rival in his own party—was no longer before the people for their suffrages. Three Republican candidates were in nomination, and though two of them, in the final result, ostensibly withdrew but a very few electoral votes from Mr. Madison, the division had weakened the moral as well as the numerical strength of the party.” The sectional feelings and class interests, roused into action by the Embargo, swept back into the opposition, all
1 See vol. i., p. 22. * Monroe received no electoral votes, but he had a strong party in Virginia, and the genuine Quids were generally violently opposed to Madison.
the New England States but one, in which the Republicans had recently triumphed. The following was the result of the electoral vote:
For PRESIDENT. For WICE-PRESIDENT.
à | #5 | ## || 33 à | p 3 | = 5 as # #|#| #| #| #| #| #
*ā 35 | ## 35 | =3 | <= | *ā ==
New Hampshire..., || – - 7 - - - - 7 Massachusetts ....! — - 19 - - - - 19 Rhode Island..... - - 4 - - - - 4 Connecticut ...... - - 9 - - - - 9 Vermont ........ 6 - - - - - 6 New York ....... 13 6 - 13 3 3 - New Jersey....... 8 - - 8 - - - Pennsylvania . ...| 20 - - 20 - - - Delaware......... - - 3 - - - - 3 Maryland ........ 9 - 2 9 - - - 2 Virginia ......... 24 - - 24 - - - North Carolina.... 11 - 3 11 - - - 3 South Carolina....] 10 - - 10 - - - Georgia ......... 6 - -- 6 - - - Kentucky ........| 7 - - 7 - - - Tennessee ....... 5 - - 5 - - - Ohio ...... ..... 3 - - - - - 3 122 6 47 113 3 3 9 47
To get a clear view of the attitude of parties in Congress and throughout the country during the eventful winter of 1808-9, it is necessary that we understand the history of our diplomatic negotiations with England down to that period. We have seen what was the effect of Mr. Canning's personal deportment and official communications on the mind of Mr. Pinkney early in the summer of 1808—that the latter believed reparation for the affair of the Chesapeake was about to be made to the United States, and that the other principal questions in dispute between the two countries were on the point of being amicably adjusted.
Mr. Canning's seeming friendly dispositions appear to have been assumed, not only to gain time, but to draw out our minister who was opening himself with the frankness of a confidence carried to the utmost limits of proper official reserve. The British minister had been all smiles and smoothness. What must have cost him far more, he had kept under that habitual