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ernor and Senator. If Gerry is chosen at this time, we have every thing to fear. I wish you to see and converse with the principal people, and mention to them, as my earnest request, that they make every exertion to re-elect Governor Strong. Let Hamilton keep up its character, and never have we seen the time when more exertion ought to be made. It depends more upon Massachusetts than any state in the Union to save us from civil war, and, in the event, a despotic government. When the time comes, depend upon it, there is a Bonaparte ready to hurl Jefferson from his chair, and to take the reins of government into his own hands. He is now in this city. I believe many of the Democrats are in all his plans. He is hated and despised by the Federalists. But, when government breaks, the chance is in his favor. If some unforeseen event does not take place, which Heaven grant there may be, I must believe this state of things is coming upon us.
If you see Dr. Torrey, you may, if you please, show him this letter; at any rate, urge him to use his influence in Danvers in favor of Governor Strong. I will write to him, if I can snatch a few minutes of time. I wish also to write to several in Hamilton, but doubt whether I shall be able. I begin now to count the days when I hope to set my face homeward. We hope we shall adjourn on the 12th of April, but I think it doubtful. We find there are certain things to be done before the majority will rise, and very much doubt whether they can be done by that day. Since the passing the Judiciary law, the minority have said very little on any subject. We have let them go on in their own way, only voting against them. Yeas and nays are taken on almost every question in the House, except on private business. Debate only lengthens out the time, and does no good. I think I shall return by water, if there should be a good vessel bound to Salem, ready at the time, but I have not determined. ... Yesterday we attended the funeral of one of our House, Mr. Hunter, of the South-western or Mississippi Territory. The members of the House were put in mourning by wearing black crape on the left arm. The two Houses of Congress and their officers, and the Heads of the Departments, walked in procession from the house where he died, in the city, to Georgetown, where he
was buried. General Shepard, of Massachusetts, is very low, and I fear we shall be called to follow him to his grave before we rise. Hunter died of bilious fever, and General Shepard's is a bilious case. Many members were so unwell yesterday as not to attend the funeral. On Friday, out of 106, only 82 attended; several are gone home, perhaps eight or ten. I was told this morning that Mr. Gray, of Virginia, was very sick of a fever. I have been very unwell.... All this indisposition is laid to the charge of what we had to go through when the Judiciary bill was before the House. I believe it is partly owing to much close, foggy weather about that time.
Your affectionate parent,
WASHINGTON, March 22, 1802. To Mrs. TORREY.
... As certain as Mr. Gerry is chosen, Massachusetts is subjugated to Virginia, and the politics of that state will govern, the little time the Union remains. We are going on in the work of destruction. A bill has passed the Committee of the Whole to extinguish the balance due from the debtor states. to the nation, and this will establish a principle (which is doubtless the main object) to wipe off debts due from the government to the credit states. The debt due to Massachusetts is toward two million, on which the interest is annually paid. But it is not funded, it only stands as credit on the books, and Congress may, any day, wipe it off.
The bill for repealing the internal system of taxes passed this day in Committee of the Whole. Bills have already been reported for increasing duties on some imports, and more are preparing. A motion has been made for demolishing the Navy Department, but, on its being called, before they intended it should be, by Mr. Griswold, Dr. Leib withdrew it for the present. It will probably pass before Congress rises. In a word, the object is to afford no protection to trade, but to burden it as much as possible. The reason is plain— Virginia has no commerce.
The second Monday in April is the day proposed for Congress to adjourn, but I believe we shall not be able to do all the mischief we are destined to do by that time. It is most probable we may sit a week longer. The Constitutionalists now say little; it only wastes time. We think it best to let them go on with their own works, till the eyes of the people are opened. Indeed, we can do nothing.
Your affectionate parent,
WASHINGTON, April 7, 1802. REV. DR. DANA.
My Dear Sir :- ... A bill has passed the House the present week, entitled, “An act making provision for the payment of the whole public debt." The title, on which the yeas and nays were taken (and, I believe, for the first time it was ever done on the title of a bill), is in no respect answerable to the provisions, or rather, the principles, of the bill, but calculated to impose a belief that the public debt is to be paid off at once, when its operations are intended to increase the debt. It takes off responsibility from the Secretary of the Treasury, commits all the money in the Treasury and a large portion of the revenue to the control of four men, three of whom, I believe, are totally unworthy of public confidence; authorizes them to make loans in Europe or America to an unlimited amount, to pay commissions and interest, to pledge the United States to make good all losses sustained by negotiations, and makes a complete opening for the wildest speculations with the public money. No act of the present session, though many of them have been bad enough, appears to me so alarming as this. The fact is, the public revenue is greatly diminished. Large appropriations heretofore pledged expressly to the payment of the public debt have been applied to other purposes, the salaries of many officers enormously increased, and large sums variously disposed of. The new theory of finance is to pay the debt by loans, which, with concomitant expenses, must unavoidably increase it. But my time will not permit me to go into detail. By attempts to amend, which were made in every stage, a very important one, through the ignorance of its friends, obtained and passed the House. We are told, however, it has since been discovered, and is to be corrected in the Senate.
We hear with great joy of the success of the late elections in Massachusetts. It has had a very sensible effect on the majority in Congress, and has already procured the minority a number of votes, which would have been given the other way. "The hope of revolutionizing New England is very much given up, and, as far as confidence can be placed on reports, federalism is gaining ground in the Southern and Middle, as well as Eastern States.
There are strong symptoms of embarrassment in the Cabinet. Mr. Madison is about to resign. He has kept himself very close. His opinion has not been known, but it can hardly be doubted that much of the present policy he totally disapproves. It is publicly said that Mr. Jefferson will decline being a candidate at the next election.
Yesterday, the French minister personally applied to several of the minority, and particularly to Mr. Bayard, to know if they would favor a demand of a loan of about one million for our good friends and allies, the French, which he was directed to make. He was answered with great caution, and advised to make his application through the President. If the President should recommend the loan, it should meet a cool and deliberate consideration.
Being this morning on Committee business with Giles, Nicholson, Elmendorf, and Williams (warm Democrats), and Bavard and Griswold, this demand was mentioned by Mr. Bayard, with a particular statement of the application made to him, and the subject discussed. The Democrats declared they had not had any intimation of it, and warmly reprobated the measure. To try their feelings, they were asked what was to be done in our defenseless state? If the loan was refused, the ships, which are hourly expected, might easily enforce a contribution upon our seaports, to a much greater amount, and war might ensue. From the conversation that passed, Mr. Bayard, Griswold, and myself made up our minds that they would apply to the President to prevent the application. This business, whatever may be the issue, may be attended with very serious consequences.
However gloomy present appearances are, there remains some hope that the people will, ere long, come to their senses, that the tide is arrived to its height, and will soon begin to ebb. The principal things that the people have expected from the present administration seem to have been, correction of public defaulters who have been wasting the public money, lowering of high salaries, and savings in the general expenditures. In these they will be disappointed. May we not hope that the doings of the present Congress, though attended with many temporary evils, may be the means of correcting errors in the public mind? That time, and information derived from experience, may lead our country to just views of its own interests, and save us from that deplorable state into which present measures must inevitably plunge us? Is there not some ground to hope that a wise and merciful Providence is now operating our political salvation ?
I have had much conversation with Mr. Davis * respecting the extraordinary religious commotions in Kentucky. He lives in the very center of its first beginning, and was for months constantly among these people in different parts of the state. His accounts far exceed what you have seen published, and can hardly admit of credibility, and yet I can not doubt his veracity. But I must leave the accounts until I can give it to you riva roce. It is said to be spreading fast in Tennessee, North Carolina, and the back part of Virginia. The change generally produced in the temper and manners of the people, wherever it has spread, is as pleasing and happy as it is astonishing.
The day of adjournment is not absolutely fixed, but I have the pleasing hope of leaving this city next Monday week. I do not expect to be able to write you again from this place; but be assured that I am, with cordial affection, Dear sir, your friend and brother,
* Thomas T. Davis was a member of Congress from Kentucky, 1797 to 1803, when he was appointer Judge in the Territory of Indiana. In the second volume of MeMaster's “ History of the People of the United States," pages 578 to 582, is an account of this wonderful religious awakening.