Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to David Bailie Warden, 29 December 1813

To David Bailie Warden

Monticello Dec. 29. 13.

Dear Sir

I need much of your indulgence for the want of punctuality in acknoleging the reciept of your several favors. but my situation is so far removed from the seaport towns, that no notice of vessels about to sail ever reminds me of the duty of making these acknolegements; and so they lie over from month to month, until my own conscience is at length smitten by the delay. even at this moment I know not how my letters are to go, shut up by an embargo law of our own, enforced by the blockade of our enemy. I must wait however no longer, but commit my letter to the department of state, and trust to their finding some conveyance with their own dispatches.

I will begin with the acknolegement of your letters of Dec. 10. 11. Nov. 1. 12. & Apr. 1. 13. the second of these, which was not recieved till Sep. last, (10½ months after date) mentions your having written me 4. letters preceding. of these, one only (that of Dec. 10. 11) ever came to hand. with that I recieved the works of M. Tracy, Peuchet’s1 Statistique, and the Atlas of Le Sage for mrs Randolph. the copy of Toulongeon, mentioned in the letter of Nov. 1. 12.2 to have been sent by the Hornet, was not recieved. but the Voyage de Rochon, by Dr Barraud, and the box of seeds from M. Thouin came safely. the seeds were delivered to mr McMahon of Philadelphia, as the most likely person to preserve and distribute them. Dr Stevens forwarded safely the Codes de France, and mr Hasler the second copy of Toulongeon you were so kind as to send, as mentioned in your letter of last April. the box of seeds therein mentioned from M. Thouin committed to the Bellona, I presume to have been captured, as I have never heard of it. this is a faithful statement of the acknolegements I owe to you, and I pray you to be assured I feel them most sensibly, and tender my thanks with gratitude: and on the observation, in your last, that time had not permitted you to have Toulongeon bound, permit me to pray the omission of that circumstance on your favors, not only as unnecessarily increasing the burthen on you, but as they come lighter & safer by the mail when unbound.

The President’s message at the meeting of Congress, which you will have recieved before you do this, has given3 you a succinct and correct history of our last campaign. we were very late in getting into motion, for the main object, that of possessing ourselves of the Canadas, as low as Montreal; and after we got into motion, a series of such tempestuous weather as heaven never sent before retarded our movements so as to leave barely the time possible for taking Montreal. enough however remained. but when our main body had reached Lake St Francis, from whence in 3. or 4. days it would have been at Montreal, a disobedience of orders by a general with the body he had ashore, to meet at the point prescribed, suddenly arrested the enterprise, and closed our well grounded hopes of compleating this season the conquest of the country to that point. our army retired into Winter quarters near the place, deeply mortified with the disappointment in the object which was to have satisfied them for their unparalleled sufferings from the rigors of the climate and season. the enemy retains therefore, for the winter, Montreal & Kingston. all these evils have flowed from the original treachery of Hull, who is shortly to undergo the trial & punishment due to his crime. but all could have been speedily remedied, had not the resources of the Eastern states been witheld. the undertaking fell of course on those of the Middle & Southern states, most remote from the scene of action, and our exclusion from the water still increased the delays, and have finally prevented our obtaining for the present all we might have obtained. much however has been effected by our insulating the British from their savage allies, to whom alone, and not at all to themselves they are indebted for every success they have obtained. this unfortunate race, whom we had been taking so much pains to save and to civilize, have by their unexpected desertion and ferocious barbarities justified extermination, and now await our decision on their fate. the Creeks too on our Southern border, for whom we had done more than for any other tribe, have acted the same part (tho’ not the whole of them) and have already paid their defection with the flower of their warriors. they will probably submit on the condition of removing to such new settlements beyond the Missisipi as we shall assign them. our naval atchievements will shew what our men are when they have officers to command them who understand their business: and they have taught to the world the precious truth that the English can be beaten on their peculiar element with equal force. it is in vain that they endeavor, by exaggerating the force of our vessels, underrating that of their own, and otherwise lying in every form, to conceal the superiority we have displayed. it is equally vain for them to practise the same arts on the land. their lying victories in Canada are visibly driving them out of it; as, in the last war it was seen that they conquered themselves out of the continent. their accounts alone can find their way to the European nations, no channel being open to ours. but observation of their successive positions after every pretended victory will sufficiently shew on which side it really was.

Our embargo, if we can enforce it, will greatly increase their difficulties, both here and in Europe; and the prevailing spirit will, I think enforce it at the point of the bayonet. the game playing by a few base & cunning leaders in Massachusets, however degrading to the state, is a compleat dupery of the English. if the question of separation, with which they are tantalising the English were ever to be proposed to the people of that state not one tenth even of the federalists would countenance it. yet by decieving the enemy on this head they keep themselves unblockaded and their trade little disturbed.

We are all anxiety to learn the issue of the campaign in Europe. if the French arms are so far succesful as to enable the Emperor to close the Baltic, and compleatly exclude British manufactures from Europe, as they are from America, her starving manufacturers and bankrupt merchants must do the work of us all, and throw her thousand armed ships on her own resources, which would afford them but a short lived subsistence.

Our manufactures are spreading with a rapidity which could not have been expected. the whole capital of our merchants diverted from commerce turns of necessity into the channel of manufactures. the spinning machines are getting into every farmhouse, and I think we cannot be far short of a million of spindles at work, which will fully clothe our 8. millions of people. the root these have taken among the body of our people is so firm that there is no danger of it’s not being permanent. it’s houshold establishment will fix the habit where no future change of employment in the mercantile capital can ever affect it.

I inclose you many letters for my friends & correspondents in Europe, with whom, as with yourself, I was greatly in arrear. recommending them to your friendly attentions & particular care, I pray you to accept assurances of my sensibility of your kindnesses and of my affectionate esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

The American general TJ regarded as guilty of disobedience of orders was Wade Hampton (Stagg, Madison’s War description begins John C. A. Stagg, Mr. Madison’s War: Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early American Republic, 1783–1830, 1983 description ends , 345–6). General William Hull was placed on trial in January 1814 for treason, cowardice, neglect of duty, and conduct unbecoming an officer. Although convicted of the second and third charges and sentenced to be shot, President James Madison remitted Hull’s punishment (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Trial of Brig. Gen. William Hull [Boston, 1814], esp. 26–8). General Andrew Jackson’s victories at Tallushatchee on 2 Nov. and Talladega on 9 Nov. 1813 cost the Creek Indians the flower of their warriors (Stagg, Madison’s War description begins John C. A. Stagg, Mr. Madison’s War: Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early American Republic, 1783–1830, 1983 description ends , 355–6).

1Manuscript: “Peuchel’s.”

2Manuscript: “Nov. 1. 13.”

3Manuscript: “give.”

Index Entries

  • Baltic Sea; and Napoleon’s Continental System search
  • Barraud, John Taylor; forwards books for D. B. Warden search
  • Bellona (schooner) search
  • Canada; British troops in search
  • Canada; TJ anticipates American conquest of search
  • Canada; U.S. invasion of search
  • Code de Commerce (D. Raynal) search
  • Code d’Instruction criminelle search
  • Congress, U.S.; J. Madison’s messages to search
  • Creek Indians; and War of1812 search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; sends manuscript to TJ search
  • Élémens d’Idéologie (Destutt de Tracy); manuscript of, sent to TJ search
  • Embargo Act (1813); TJ on search
  • Federalist party; in Mass. search
  • Genealogical, chronological, historical, and geographical atlas (Las Cases) search
  • Great Britain; and Massachusetts search
  • Hampton, Wade; War of1812service of search
  • Hassler, Ferdinand Rudolph; sends works to TJ search
  • Histoire de France (F. E. Toulongeon) search
  • Hornet, USS (sloop) search
  • Hull, William; and surrender of Northwest Army search
  • Indians; as British allies search
  • Indians; Creek search
  • Indians; TJ on search
  • Jackson, Andrew; War of1812service of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; European search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; domestic manufacturing search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Indians search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Napoleon search
  • Kingston, Upper Canada search
  • Las Cases, Emmanuel Auguste Dieudonné Marin Joseph, comte de (A. Le Sage); Genealogical, chronological, historical, and geographical atlas search
  • Las Cases, Emmanuel Auguste Dieudonné Marin Joseph, comte de (A. Le Sage); work of sent to M. J. Randolph search
  • Madison, James; annual message to Congress by search
  • Madison, James; mentioned search
  • manufacturing, household; TJ on search
  • Massachusetts; Federalists in search
  • Massachusetts; relations with Great Britain search
  • McMahon, Bernard; TJ sends seeds to search
  • Mississippi River; as geographical boundary search
  • Montreal search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; armies of search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; TJ on search
  • Navy Department, U.S.; and War of1812 search
  • Navy Department, U.S.; TJ on search
  • Peuchet, Jacques; Statistique élémentaire de la France search
  • political economy; works on search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); books sent to search
  • Raynal, David; Code de Commerce search
  • Rochon, Alexis Marie; Voyages aux Indes Orientales et en Afrique, pour l’Observation des Longitudes en Mer search
  • seeds; sent by TJ search
  • seeds; sent to TJ search
  • spinning machines; TJ on search
  • Statistique élémentaire de la France (J. Peuchet) search
  • Stevens, Alexander Hodgdon; forwards works to TJ search
  • Thoüin, André; sends seeds to TJ search
  • Toulongeon, François Emmanuel, vicomte de; Histoire de France search
  • Voyages aux Indes Orientales et en Afrique, pour l’Observation des Longitudes en Mer (A. M. Rochon) search
  • Warden, David Bailie; and TJ’s foreign correspondence search
  • Warden, David Bailie; as consul at Paris search
  • Warden, David Bailie; letters to search
  • Warden, David Bailie; sends publications to TJ search
  • Warden, David Bailie; sends seeds to TJ search
  • War of1812; and Indians search
  • War of1812; TJ on search
  • War of1812; U.S. naval victories during search