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FIRST SESSION IX Congress-LETTERS TO His FAMILY AND DR. DANA FROM
Wasixgtox— Visits Mr. VersON-DEBATE ON JUDICIARY Bull.
[To Ephraim Cutler.]
BEVERLY, March 21, 1801. My Son :- .. With regard to my being elected a member of Congress, I wrote you from Boston in February. I was fully aware that in the highest probability very trying times were approaching, and that a seat in Congress, to a Federalist, must be extremely unpleasant if not hazardous. The state of the district, the proceedings of some of the towns before I had an intimation or the most distant idea of being thought of as a candidate, and the pressing requests of friends whom I highly respected, imposed the necessity of not absolutely declining. I was urged not to say I would not go until the first trial was made. It was believed by our first characters that such exertion had been made and such influence obtained before it was mistrusted by the Federalists, that Dr. Kittredge * would be chosen. He is a man of abilities, possessed of highly popular talents, well known and very highly esteemed as one of the first physicians and surgeons in the State. Though a high Jacobin at heart, yet apparently a moderate man. Besides, six other candidates were brought forward in the papers, and by private influence, who professed to be Federal. Thus circumstanced, I felt less reluctance in complying with ------
-* Thomas Kittredge, M.D. (II. U., 1811), an eminent surgeon; born, Andover, July, 1716; died, Oct., 1818. His father and brothers were disting uished surgeons. After receiving instruction from Master Moody, at Byfield Academy, he studied medicine with Dr. Sawyer, of Newbury port; began to practice in Andover in 1768, and being in 1775 appointed surgeon to the regiment of Colonel James Frye, was present at the battle of Bunker Hill. Dr. K. had an extensive practice, was an early member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and was in the legislature several years and in the council in 1810-11.- Drake's Dict. of
the wishes of my friends—feeling assured that I should not be chosen. The event proving as it did, and there appearing no prospect of a union on either of the other candidates, I was, in a sense, compelled to consent.
What events are to follow the new order of things time will disclose. Jefferson's speech, though a mixed medley of Jacobinism, Republicanism, and Federalism, of religion and atheism, of sentiments consistent and inconsistent with the constitution of an energetic government, yet it is extremely smooth, and must be highly popular with the people at large. There is a fair opening, and I think a hope, that he may prove a prudent man, and, though the next Congress will have a majority of Jacobins, the administration may not be greatly changed. I did wish that Burr might be elected, I now think it fortunate that Jefferson is chosen. If he pursues a wise and prudent tone of conduct, he will have a hornet's nest of Jacobins about his ears, and be stung by the insects he has been so long hatching. He will never make a Bonaparte; but Burr's unbounded ambition, courage, and perseverance would prompt him to be a Bonaparte, a King, and an Emperor, or any thing else which might place him at the head of the nation. Nothing but a revolution can effect this, and nothing will produce a revolution at present unless Jefferson abandons the Federalists, and pursues all the wild, demoralizing schemes of the Jacobins. I spent a considerable time lately with Timothy Pickering, Esq.* It is his decided opinion, who knows
* Timothy Pickering was born in Salem, Massachusetts, 1745, died there, 1829. He graduated at Ilarvard, 17633, and commenced the practice of law in 1768. He took an active part in politics prior to the Revolution, wrote and delivered the address of the people of Salem to Governor Gage on the Boston Port bill. He was Colonel of the Salem militia regiment, and marched four companies of it in pursuit of the British troops returning from Lexington. Upon the organization of the provincial government of Massachusetts, he was appointed one of the Judges of the ('ourt of Common Pleas for Essex County, and sole Judge of the Maritime Court for the Middle District, including Bos. ton, Salem, and other ports in Essex County. In 1776 he recruited a regiment for one year's service in the Continental Army. When mustered out he was appointed, by request of General Washington, Adjutant-General of the army, with the rank of Colonel. The same year,
Jefferson well, that he will make no great strides from the old
It was during the first year of President Jefferson's administration that Dr. Cutler entered Congress, where he continued four years, and then, because of long-continued and increasing ill-health, he declined a re-election. The account of this period, with its many interesting details, in the following pages, is taken from his diary, and from letters written to his own family, or to intimate friends, in which much freedom of ex
1777, he was elected by Congress a member of the ('ontinental Board of War. In 1780 he succeeded General Nathaniel Greene as Quartermaster General. At the close of the war, in 1783, he formulated a plan for the establishment of a new state west of the Alleghanies, in what is now the eastein balf of Ohio, by officers and soldiers of the Continental Army, anal outlined a government for it, an essential part of which was the total and irrevocable prohibition of slavery. He continued to interest himself in it until 1785, when he purchased a large tract of land in Pennsylvania, and removed to it. He held various public offices in Pennsylvania, and was appointed by President Washington, 1790 to 1794, to negotiate treaties with the Indians. In 1791 he was appointed Postmaster-General. In 1794 he succeeded General Knox as Secretary of War, and in August, 1795, was appointed Secretary of State, continuing in this office until removed by President Ad. ams in 1800. Returning to Massachusetis, in 1801, he was elected United States Senator in 1803, for the unexpired term of Dwight Foster, and re-elected in 1805 for a full term. He was a member of the Board of War for Massachusetts, 1812 to 1815, and served one term in Congress, 1815 to 1817. Timothy Pickering was one of the greatest of the great men who were in public life in the early days of the nation. His true place in history has never been given him. The following extract from the inscription on his monument in Salem, Massachusetts, indicates the esteem in which he was held by those who knew him best: “ Integrity, disinterestedness, energy, ability, fearlessness in the cause of Truth and Justice, marked his public conduct; pure in morals, simple in manners, sincere, benevolent, and pious in private life, he was revered and honored." His life, one volume, prepared by his son, Octavius Pickering, and three volumes by Hon. Charles W. Upham, was published in 1867 and 1873.
pression is indulged. They indicate a time of great political agitation, and show the writer's earnest and patriotic desire to see the government established on safe foundations. His habits of close observation, and facility in description, enable him to give some graphic sketches of men and passing events.
WASHINGTON City, Dec. 5, 1801. Rev. Dr. Dana.*
Dear Sir:-We arrived in this city on Wednesday evening. Many of the members from different parts of the Union were in before us, but we were not so happy as to find a single man who was not strongly attached to the present administration. From them little information is to be obtained. Few Federalists had arrived this morning. It is not in my power to say any thing, with certainty, respecting the leading subjects to be brought forward the present session. Conjecture is alive, and some deep-laid plans, in opposition to the spirit of the constitution, are said to be concerted. In this city, and the adjacent country, the President is highly popular. There is to be no speech at the opening of the session. The flimsy pretense is, that speeches are anti-republican, but the true reason you will easily conceive. It is said the President will have no Levees during the session, which is to be very short; that lengthy reports are to be given from the heads of departments, especially one, that is to astonish the nation, from the Genevan Treasurer; that the principal business of Congress is already cut and dried, and is to be done, not in the tedious and expensive way of long speeches, but in the summary manner of silent voting. From information which, I think, admits of very little doubt, the administration has two leading objects in view—one is to relax, as much as possible, every sinew of government, and the other, to render it popular by the sem
*Joseph Dana, D.D., born at Pomfret, Conn., Nov. 2, 1742; graduated at Yale College, 1760. He was ordained pastor of the South Church, Ipswich, Nov. 5, 1765. He was refined, gentlemanly, pious, and patriotic. His intellectual endowments were of an high order and richly improved; his style strong, lucid, and sententious. Many of his sermors were printed. Harvard College made him a Doctor of Divinity in 1801. He died Nov. 16, 1827.— Felt's History, Ipswich.
blance of cheapness. A total change in the Judiciary system is undoubtedly intended. Those who pretend to correct information, say there is to be but one federal court, and that, a mere Court of Chancery, to which appeals may be made from the state courts, where all causes are to originate and pass a legal process, but I will not trouble you with mere conjecture.
Your friend and brother,
WASHINGTON City, Dec. 5, 1801. DR. TORREY.*
Dear Sir: I can say but little on the subject of politics, without entering the field of conjecture. The Democrats appear to feel themselves strong-very close-mouthed when with Federalists, and in constant consultation.
We are told by the President's friends, that it is to be a very short session-business to be done in a summary way by giving our silent votes—that it is to consist, principally, not in framing but in repealing laws, which will require very little time. There appears no doubt that the Democrats intend to destroy the present Judiciary system. Many other changes are mentioned, which I will not now enumerate. The great interests of the country appear to be in a more alarming situation than I conceived them to be when I left home. But I am confident there will be an able and determined opposition to the enemies of the Constitution, and, though numbers may overcome, the conquest will not be so easy as seems to be imagined. By accounts this evening, both Houses will be unusually full on Monday. Your affectionate parent,
M. CUTLER. *Joseph Torrey, M.D., born in Killingly, Conn., March 18, 1768. Died at Beverly, Dec. 8, 1850. Married Mary, eldest daughter of Dr. Cutler. He was the fifth in descent from Rev. Samuel Torrey, of Weymouth, who declined the Presidency of Harvard College, and on three occasions preached the Election Sermons. Dr. Torrey's progenitors were distinguished in the medical profession, and he was himself a well known and highly esteemed physician. He began to practice in Rowley, then in Danvers, and, from 1805 to 1840, in Salem, Mass. Mrs. Torrey died at Burlington, Vt., Sept., 1836, while on a visit to her son, Rev. Joseph Torrey, D.D., President of the University of Vermont.