Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Arthur Campbell, 10 December 1797

From Arthur Campbell

Washington Decr. 10. 1797


I take the liberty to send you some political items received from Correspondents that may amuse you in a leisure moment. They may only be the effusions of the writers on hearing of so important an event.

May not all our fears of a war with France now evanish. Let republicans in America also take an erect attitude. Let them loudly proclaim their principles, and unite their voices with their friends and Allies across the Atlantic. This will conciliate, it will enable us to renew and improve the Alliance, to meet again as Brothers.

The occurrence is an important and critical one. The Executive, the Legislature, can make the first movement, and I auger that We the People will press fast after them in our Ranks. This will do more than half the Work of our Commissioners, at least it will introduce them to our Brethren, with eclat. When so received we trust they have both hearts and minds to improve an advantageous situation for the good, the lasting good of their Country. Please place these sentiments, to the account of an effusion, that your better judgment can appreciate, and use as you think proper. I am Sir, with the greatest Respect, Your most obedient servant

Arthur Campbell

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 5 Jan. 1798 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Extract “From an eminent Lawyer,” 27 Nov. 1797, expressing a mixture of pleasure and terror at events in France, a wish that war between France and England would continue, a hope for “the destruction of the Royalists, Emigrants and Priests,” and an apprehension that France would pursue an “invasion of Ireland, and harsh measures against America.” (2) Extract “From Doctor—an old Whig,” 2 Dec. 1797, predicting that only licentiousness can ruin France, “Knowledge and temperance” securing republics, and that after the storm, calm will prevail and France “yet be free.” (3) Extract “From an Old Military Character,” 1 Dec., 1797, noting the division in America between those leaning to the old order tending to monarchy and those cherishing a republican form of government wanting freedom and independence, and trusting the Americans to follow closely after the French, to “trudge on steadily, making slow, but sure progress, in political attainments, and a knowledge of the Rights and Duties of Man”; and praising the “late epoch of the French Revolution” as one exceeding “all others in brilliancy” where republican principles will be established to withstand all future shocks, a peace with the Emperor will be concluded, France, Spain, and Holland will gain naval superiority, and the sun of the British monarchy set, “never to rise again” (MSS in DLC: TJ Papers, 102:17510–12; in Campbell’s hand; at head of text: “Extracts from Correspondents”).

So important an event: the Fructidor coup of 4 Sep. 1797.

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