Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on a Conversation with Henry Tazewell, 1 March 1798

Notes on a Conversation with Henry Tazewell

Mar. 1.    mr Tazewell tells me that when the appropriations for the British treaty were on the carpet and very uncertain, in the lower house, there being at that time a number of bills in the hands of Commees of the Senate, none reported, & the Senate idle for want of them, he, in his place, called on the commees to report, and particularly on mr King, who was of most of them. King said that it was true the Commees kept back their reports waiting the event of the question about appropriation: that if that was not carried, they considered legislation as at an end, that they might as well break up & consider the union as dissolved. Tazewell expressed his astonmt at these ideas & called on King to know if he had misapprehended him. King rose again & repeated the same words. the next day Cabot took an occasion in debate, & so awkward a one as to shew it was a thing agreed to be done, to repeat the same sentiments in stronger terms, and carried further by declaring a determination on their side to break up and dissolve the govmt.1

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 102:17525); entirely in TJ’s hand; on same sheet as Notes on a Conversaton with John Adams, 15 Feb. 1798; with a long, partially illegible cancellation at the end of the entry.

For tactics used in the Federalist campaign to win appropriations for the British treaty, see Madison to TJ, 18 Apr. 1796.

1TJ here canceled more than five lines, part of the first being illegible, with the remainder as follows: “[as] one of those who [went to?] Annapolis ([at] the convention there) by an affectation of a too high-flying spirit of independance, endeavoured th[en] to prevent the calling a grand convention, who failing in that & coming to the grand convention did every thing in his power to prevent their agreeing in any thing, and was one of those who had been previously in the combination to seize the powers of govmt and erect one in a form of their own chusing: as told me by Baldwin ante Jan. 5. 98.”

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