Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 21 June 1798

To James Madison

Philadelphia June 21. 98.

Yours of the 10th. inst. is recieved. I expected mine of the 14th. would have been my last from hence, as I had proposed to have set out on the 20th. but in the morning of the 19th. we heard of the arrival of Marshall at New York, and I concluded to stay & see whether that circumstance would produce any new projects. no doubt he there recieved more than hints from Hamilton as to the tone required to be assumed. yet I apprehend he is not hot enough for his friends. Livingston came with him from New York. M. told him they had no idea in France of a war with us. that Taleyrand sent passports to him & Pinckney, but none for Gerry. upon this Gerry staid without explaining to them the reason. he wrote however to the President by Marshall, who knew nothing of the contents of the letter. so that there must have been a previous understanding between Taleyrand & Gerry. M. was received here with the utmost eclat. the Secretary of state & many carriages, with all the city cavalry went to Frankfort to meet him, and on his arrival here in the evening the bells rung till late in the night, & immense crowds were collected to see & make part of the shew, which was circuitously paraded through the streets before he was set down at the city tavern. all this was to secure him to their views, that he might say nothing which would expose the game they have been playing. since his arrival I can hear of nothing directly from him, while they are disseminating through the town things, as from him, diametrically opposite to what he said to Livingston. Dr. Logan about a fortnight ago sailed for Hamburgh. tho for a twelvemonth past he had been intending to Europe as soon as he could get money enough to carry him there, yet when he had accomplished this, and fixed a time for going, he very unwisely made a mystery of it, so that his disappearance without notice excited conversation. this was seised by the war-hawks, and given out as a secret mission from the Jacobins here to sollicit an army from France, instruct them as to their landing &c. this extravagance produced a real panic among the citizens, & happening just when Bache published Taleyrand’s letter, Harper on the 18th. gravely announced to the H.R. that there existed a traiterous correspondence between the Jacobins here and the French Directory, that he had got hold of some threads & clues of it, and would soon be able to develope the whole. this increased the alarm; their libellists immediately set to work directly & indirectly to implicate whom they pleased. Porcupine gave me a principal share in it as I am told, for I never read his papers. this state of things added to my reasons for not departing at the time I intended. these follies seem to have died away in some degree already. perhaps I may renew my purpose by the 25th. their system is professedly to keep up an alarm. Tracy at the meeting of the joint committee for adjournment declared it necessary for Congress to stay together to keep up the inflammation of the publick mind; and Otis expressed a similar sentiment since. however they will adjourn. the opposers of adjournment in Senate yesterday agreed to adjourn on the 10th. of July: but I think the 1st. of July will be carried. that is one of the objects which detains myself as well as one or two more of the Senate who had got leave of absence. I imagine it will be decided tomorrow or next day. to separate Congress now will be withdrawing the fire from under a boiling pot.

Your commissions here are all in readiness, but no vessel for Fredericksburg has yet occurred. my respectful salutations to mrs Madison & the family, and cordial friendship to yourself.

P.M. a message to both houses this day from the Pr. with the following communications.

Mar. 23. Pickering’s letter to the envoys, directing them if they are not actually engaged in negociation with authorised persons, or not conducted bonâ fide & not merely for procrastination, to break-up & come home. and at any rate to consent to no loan.
Apr. 3. Talleyrand to Gerry. he supposes the other two gentlemen, percieving that their known principles are an obstacle to negociation, will leave the republic, and proposing to renew the negociations with Gerry immediately.
Apr. 4. Gerry to Taleyrand. disclaims a power to conclude any thing separately. can only confer informally & as an unaccredited individual, reserving to lay every thing before the government of the US. for approbation.
Apr. 14. Gerry to the President. he communicates the preceding and hopes the President will send other persons instead of his collegues & himself if it shall appear that any thing can be done. the President’s message says that as the instructions were not to consent to any loan, he considers the negociation as at an end; and that he will never send another minister to France until he shall be assured that he will be recieved & treated with the respect due to a great, powerful, free & independant nation.
A bill is brought into the Senate this day to declare the treaties with France void, prefaced by a list of grievances in the style of a manifesto. it passed to the 2d. reading by 14. to 5. a bill for punishing forgeries of bank paper passed to the 3d reading by 14. to 6. three of the 14 (Laurence, Bingham & Read) bank directors.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); addressed: “James Madison junr. near Orange court house”; franked. PrC (DLC); added by TJ in ink at foot of first page: “Madison James.”

The conversation over George Logan’s departure led TJ to visit Deborah Logan at Stenton on 22 or 23 June, using a circuitous route to elude “his spies.” TJ advised Logan to express her “thorough consciousness” of her husband’s innocence and honor by showing herself in Philadelphia “as one not afraid nor ashamed to meet the public eye.” She made the trip shortly thereafter (Logan, Memoir description begins Francis A. Logan, ed., Memoir of Dr. George Logan of Stenton, by his widow Deborah Norris Logan, Philadelphia, 1899 description ends , 75–6). On 21 July Porcupine’s Gazette reported that TJ “went to his friend Doctor Logan’s farm, and spent three days there, soon after the Doctor’s departure for France. Quere: What did he do there? Was it to arrange the Doctor’s valuable manuscripts?”

On 16 June Bache published a letter from Talleyrand to the American envoys dated 18 Mch., before it had been officially released by the Adams administration. This convinced William Cobbett and the Federalists that Bache had received it from France or from a French agent in America “for the express purpose of drawing off the people from the Government, of exciting discontents, of strengthening opposition, and to procure a fatal delay of preparation for war.” According to Deborah Logan one of the reasons TJ had prolonged his stay in Philadelphia was to learn how Robert Goodloe Harper would “make out with his conspiracy” announcement (Porcupine’s Gazette, 16 June 1798; Logan, Memoir description begins Francis A. Logan, ed., Memoir of Dr. George Logan of Stenton, by his widow Deborah Norris Logan, Philadelphia, 1899 description ends , 75). On 19 June Porcupine’s Gazette announced that TJ was seen going into Bache’s house “on the very day that the dispatches appeared.” For the controversy surrounding Bache’s publication of the Talleyrand letter and the efforts to associate TJ with treasonous correspondence, see note to Fulwar Skipwith to TJ, 17 Mch. 1798. For Harper’s charges in the House, see Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United StatesCompiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 8:1972, and Smith, Freedom’s Fetters description begins James Morton Smith, Freedom’s Fetters: The Alien and Sedition Laws and American Civil Liberties, Ithaca, N.Y., 1956 description ends , 102–6.

Upon receiving the message and communications from the president, the Senate voted to have 500 copies printed (JS, description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends 2:513–14). See Evans, description begins Charles Evans, Clifford K. Shipton, and Roger P. Bristol, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of all Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from … 1639 … to … 1820, Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–59, 14 vols. description ends No. 34825. The letter from Gerry to the president was dated 16 not 14 Apr. 1798 (Message of the President of the United States, to Both Houses of Congress June 21st, 1798 [Philadelphia, 1798], 2).

On a printed copy of the bill to declare the treaties with France void, TJ recorded changes as the Senate considered the preamble or manifesto, which consisted of 92 lines of text (DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 5th Cong., 2d sess.). See also TJ to Madison, 7 June.

Forgeries of bank paper: the bill “to punish frauds committed on the Bank of the United States” passed the Senate on 22 June and the House four days later. Senators John Laurance, William Bingham, and Jacob Read were directors of the Bank of the United States as was Representative Harrison Gray Otis (JS, description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends 2:515, 518; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 1:573–4; Longworth’s American Almanack, New-York Register, and City Directory, for the Twenty-third Year of American Independence [New York, 1798], 65). A letter from Bingham to TJ of 13 Feb. 1797, recorded in SJL as delivered “by Hope, Baring & Beecker” on 30 Apr. of that year, has not been found.

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