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an enormous surplus of food, he suggested whether it would not be better for America to raise food “ to nourish the now perishing births of Europe” (an allusion to Malthus's theory of the fatal necessity of starvation, where human fecundity outruns the means of subsistence), and that Europe in return should send us “our clothes and other comforts.” He said “morality” favored this idea; and “so invariably did the laws of nature create our duties and interests, that when they seem to be at variance, we ought to suspect some fallacy in our reasonings.” In a letter to Mr. Gerry, of March 3d, the President, after stating the general prospects of the two political parties, thus alluded to his feelings in respect to his own renomination:
“I sincerely regret that the unbounded calumnies of the Federal party have obliged me to throw myself on the verdict of my country for trial, my great desire having been to retire, at the end of the present term, to a life of tranquillity; and it was my decided purpose when I entered into office. They force my continuance. If we can keep the vessel of State as steadily in her course for another four years, my earthly purposes will be accomplished, and I shall be free to enjoy, as you are doing, my family, my farm, and my books.”
On the 16th of April he wrote (from Monticello) to the Postmaster General, commenting on a statement of the latter that there was a Federal scheme on foot for forming a coalition between the Federalists and Republicans, “ of what they called the seven eastern States.” The commentary is far too good to be omitted:
“The Federalists know, that, eo nomine, they are gone forever. Their object, therefore, is how to return into power under some other form. Undoubtedly they have but one means, which is to divide the Republicans, join the minority, and barter with them for the cloak of their name. I say, join the minority; because the majority of the Republicans, not needing them, will not buy them. The minority, having no other means of ruling the majority, will give a price for auxiliaries, and that price must be principle. It is true that the Federalists, needing their numbers also, must also give a price, and principle is the coin they must pay in. Thus a bastard system of Federo-Republicanism will rise on the ruins of the true principles of our Revolution. And when this party is formed, who will constitute the majority of it, which majority is then to dictate? Certainly the Federalists. Thus their proposition of putting themselves into gear with the Republican minority, is ex. actly like Roger Sherman's proposition to add Connecticut to Rhode Island. The idea of forming seven eastern States is moreover clearly to form the basis of a separation of the Union. Is it possible that real Republicans can be gulled by such a bait? And for what? What do they wish that they have not Federal measures? That is impossible? Republican measures? Have they them not * Can any one deny, that in all important questions of principle, Republicanism prevails? But do they not want that their individual will shall govern the majority? They may purchase the gratification of this unjust wish, for a little time, at a great price; but the Federalists must not have the passions of other men, if, after getting thus into the seat of power, they suffer themselves to be governed by their minority. This minority may say, that whenever they relapse into their own principles, they will quit them and draw the seat from under them. They may quit them, indeed, but in the meantime, all the venal will have become associated with them, and will give them a majority sufficient to keep them in place, and to enable them to eject the heterogeneous friends by whose aid they get again into power. I cannot believe any portion of real Republicans will enter into this trap; and if they do, I do not believe they can carry with them the mass of their States, advancing so steadily as we see them, to a union of principle with their brethren. It will be found in this, as in all other similar cases, that crooked schemes will end by overwhelming their authors and coadjutors in disgrace, and that he alone who walks strict and upright, and who, in matters of opinion, will be contented that others should be as free as himself, and acquiesce when his opionion is fairly overruled, will attain his object in the end. And that this may be the conduct of us all, I offer my sincere prayers, as well as for your health and happiness.”
The following family letters, though scattered over a wide space, we prefer, for obvious reasons, to present connectedly.
To MARIA JEFFERson Eppes, EDGEHill.
WashingtoN, Nor. 27, 1808.
It is rare, my ever dear Maria, during a session of Congress that I can get time to write anything but letters of business, and this, though a day of rest to others, is not all so to me. We are all well here, and hope the post of this evening will bring us information of the health of all at Edgehill, and particularly that Martha and the new bantling are both well; and that her example gives you good spirits. When Congress will rise no mortal can tell: not from the quantity, but the dilatoriness of business. Mr. Lilly having finished the mill, is now, I suppose, engaged in the road which we have been so long wanting; and that done, the next job will be the levelling of Pantops. I anxiously long to see under way the work necessary to fix you there, that we may one day be all together. Mr. Stewart is now here on his way back to his family, whom he will probably join Thursday or Friday. Will you tell your sister that the pair of stockings she sent me by Mr. Randolph are quite large enough, and also have fur enough in them. I inclose some papers for Anne; and must continue in debt to Jefferson a letter for a while longer. Take care of yourself, my dearest Maria, have good spirits, and know that courage is as essential to triumph in your case as in that of a soldier. Keep us all, therefore, in heart of being so yourself; give my tender affections to your sister, and receive them for yourself also, with assurances that I live in your love only, and in that of your sister.
Adieu, my dear daughter.
To MARIA JEFFERson Eppes, EDGEHILL.
WAshingtoN, Dec. 26, 1803.
I now return, my dearest Maria, the paper which you lent me for Mr. Page, and which he has returned some days since. I have prevailed on Dr. Priestley to undertake the work of which this is only the syllabus or plan. He says he can accomplish it in the course of a year. But, in truth, his health is so much impaired and his body become so feeble, that there is reason to fear he will not live out even the short term he has asked for it. You may inform Mr. Eppes and Mr. Randolph that no mail arrived the last night from the Natchez. I presume the great rains which have fallen have rendered some of the water courses impassable. On new-year's day, however, we shall hear of the delivery of New Orleans to us. Till then the Legislature seem disposed to do nothing but meet and adjourn. Mrs. Livingston, formerly the younger Miss Allen, made kind inquiries after you the other day. She said she was at school with you at Mrs. Pine's. Not knowing the time destined for your expected indisposition, I am anxious on your account. You are prepared to meet it with courage, I hope. Some female friend of your mamma's (I forget whom) used to say it was no more than a jog of the elbow. The material thing is, to have scientific aid in readiness, that if anything uncommon takes place it may be redressed on the spot, and not be made serious by delay. It is a case which least of all will wait for doctors to be sent for, therefore with this single precaution nothing is ever to be feared. I was in hopes to have heard from Edgehill last night, but I suppose your post has failed.
I shall expect to see the gentlemen here next Sunday night to take part in the gala of Monday. Give my tenderest love to your sister, of whom I have not heard for a fortnight, and my affectionate salutations to the gentlemen and young ones, and continue to love me yourself, and be assured of my warmest affections.
To MARIA JEFFERSoN Eppes, EDGEHILL.
MY DEAREs.T MARIA :
All this we will settle together in March, and soon after we will begin the level
ling and establishment of your hen-house at Pantops. Give my tenderest love to
your sister; to all the young ones kisses; to yourself everything affectionate. Th. JEFFERson.
To MARIA JEFFERSoN EPPES, EDGEHill.
Washington, Feb. 26, 1804.
A thousand joys to you, my dear Maria, on the happy accession to your family. A letter from our dear Martha by last post gave me the happy news that your crisis was happily over and all well. I had supposed that if you were a little later than your calculation, and the rising of Congress as early as we expected, we might have been with you at the moment when it would have been so encouraging to have had your friends around you. I rejoice, indeed, that all is so well. Congress talk of rising the 12th of March, but they will probably be some days later. You will doubtless see see Mr. Eppes and Mr. Randolph immediately on the rising of Congress. I shall hardly be able to get away till some days after them. By that time I hope you will be able to go with us to Monticello, and that we shall all be there together for a month: and the interval between that and the autumnal visit will not be long. Will you desire your sister to send for Mr. Lilly, and to advise him what orders to give Goliah for providing those vegetables which may come into use for the months of April, August, and September—deliver her also my affectionate love. I will write to her the next week. Kiss all the little ones, and be assured
yourself of my tender and unchangeable affection. TH. JEFFERSox.
To MARIA JEFFERSoN EPPES, EDGEHILL. WAshingtoN, Mar. 8, 1804. The account of your illness, my dearest Maria, was known to me only this morning. Nothing but the impossibility of Congress proceeding a single step in my absence presents an insuperable bar. Mr. Eppes goes off, and I hope will find you in a convalescent state. Next to the desire that it may be so, is that of being speedily informed and of being relieved from the terrible anxiety in which I shall be till I hear from you. God bless you, my ever dear daughter, and preserve you safe
to the blessing of us all.
To John W. Eppes, EDGEHill. Washington, March 15, 1804. DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 9th has at length relieved my spirits; still the debility of Maria will need attention, lest a recurrence of fever should degenerate into typhus. I should suppose the system of wine and food as effectual to prevent as to cure that fever, and think she should use both, as freely as she finds she can bear them, light food and cordial wines. The sherry at Monticello is old and genuine, and the Pedro Ximenes much older still and stomachic. Her palate and stomach will be the best arbiters between them. Congress have deferred their adjournment a week, to wit, to the 26th, consequently we return a week later. I presume I can be with you by the first of April. I hope Maria will by that time be well enough to go over to Monticello with us, and I hope you will thereafter take up your residence there. The house, its contents, and appendages and servants, are as freely subjected to you as to myself and I hope you will make it your home till we can get you fixed at Pantops. I do not think Maria should be ventured below after this date. I will endeavor to forward to Mr. Benson, postmaster at Fredericksburg, a small parcel of the oats for you. The only difficulty is to find some gentleman going on in the stage who will take charge of them by the way. My tenderest love to Maria and Patsy," and all
the young ones; affectionate salutations to yourself. Th. JEFFERSoN.
To John W. EPPES. WASHINGTON, June 4, 1804. DEAR SIR:
I should much sooner have written to you but for the press of business which had accumulated at my return, and which is not yet entirely got under. We lamented much that you had not staid a day longer at Monticello, as on the evening of your departure the Eppington family arrived, and it would have added much to our pleasure to have been all together, the four or five days that the weather detained me at home. We consented to consign little Maria to the entreaties of Mrs. Eppes, until August, when she promised to bring her back herself. Nature's laws will in time deprive her of all her older connections; it will then be a great comfort to have been brought up with those of her own age, as sisters and brothers of the same house, knowing each other in no other relation, and ready to become the parents of each other's orphan children. While I live, both of the children will be to me the dearest of all pledges: and I should consider it as increasing our misfortune, should we have the less of your society. It will in no wise change my views at Pantops, and should considerations which ought not to be opposed by me in the actual state of things induce you to change the purpose of your residence at Pantops, I shall still do there what I had always proposed to you, expecting it will some day become the residence of Francis. I may only take more time for it. After Lilly shall have done at the mill, which I suppose will be by the time of my return home, there are then three jobs for him, the levelling at Pantops, the road along the river, and the levelling of the garden at Monticello. Which of these he first enters on, will depend on your views. If they be to get to Pantops as soon as you can, he shall first do that levelling, that it may be in readiness to be. gin a house the next season. In any other case I should set him about the road first, but I should be happier did the other order of things coincide more with your happiness. But I press nothing, because my own feelings as a parent teach me how to estimate and respect the feelings of parents. On this subject you must give me your wishes with frankness, as mine will be most gratified in taking the direction of yours. I inclose you a letter I received lately from Mrs. Adams. The sentiments ex
1 Mrs. Randolph.