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to a large amount, where there was no apprehension, and wholly on the side of the party who have brought this business forward. But I am not at liberty to mention any particulars until the investigation is completed. ...
Your affectionate parent,
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 1802. DR. DANA.
Dear Sir :- ... The 10th No. of the Farmer has come to me in the Boston papers, and we are pleased to find it followed by the able pen of Sulpicius. So far as I can learn, the Farmer's numbers have not been published in the papers of any description on this side of N. England, excepting in the Aurora, and some extracts of the 10th No., not relating to the clergy, in the Washington Federalist. These extracts are followed with comments by some writer here. The same kind of mania which the Farmer has discovered in his numbers still rages upon him now he is here. Of all the opposers of Federalism, he is the most virulent, and no doubt can be entertained of a perfectly good understanding between him and his Master in all his measures to support the present administration. The little regard paid to religion among the southern democrats, and the clergy having no kind of influence, may be a reason why the 10th No. has not been published in the southern papers. In speaking of the clergy as wholly destitute of influence, those of the cities of New York and Philadelphia are to be excepted. Among the democrats of Congress it is a prevailing opinion that the people of the New England states are governed by their clergy, whom they consider as aristocrats, and affect to lament the unhappy state in which those people will continue to be until that influence is destroyed. In a word, every thing, they pretend to believe, which is opposed to the prevalence of Godwinism, is friendly to aristocracy.
Immediately on receiving your queries, I put them in the hands of Mr. Hillhouse, of our family, who, ... having been longer in Congress than any present member of the Senate, has, I believe, a better knowledge of the political charac
ter of the man whose conduct is to be investigated. He feels no hesitation in answering every query, but many of them are of a nature which will not admit that the answers should be substantiated by specific facts, as is the case with many wellfounded historical relations. But he is disposed to afford his aid in colleoting such facts, and other material, as can be obtained. I have since put the queries into the hands of Mr. Tracy, who told me this morning he should be able to afford much information, which he was arranging, and would call in a day or two and furnish me with it. I had only a few words with him as we were going into Congress. There are papers in the hands of the Secretary of the Senate that may be useful, to which I can have access, but have not yet found leisure to examine them. Being one of a Committee appointed in consequence of a motion respecting Mr. Pickering, to “inquire whether moneys drawn from the Treasury have been faithfully applied and accounted for,” etc., I think there is a probability in the course of this business, in which many of the books and papers of the Heads of Departments must be examined, that I may find some documents relating to the queries. Mr. Griswold is on the Committee, to whom I can, with safety, communicate my wishes and obtain his assistance. Mr. Giles, who is of the Committee, has been absent several weeks, which has prevented much progress. But I am not without fears that the opportunity may be prevented, by a determination of the Committee not to pursue the object of their commission. At our last meeting sufficient information was obtained perfectly to exculpate Mr. Pickering, but from strong suspicion of other defaulters, and men of another party, there appeared a disposition to suspend inquiry.
Unfortunately, the spirit of party and the majority in Committee is the same as in the House. Mr. Nicholson, Giles, and Dickeson were one side, and Mr. Griswold and myself on the other, in every question we discussed. It will be in the power of the majority to close the inquiry when they please. There is a hope, however, that it will be pursued.
The Bill before the Senate for repealing the judiciary laws (which were enacted by the last Congress) was this day passed
-yeas, 15; nays, 15—and the Vice-President gave the casting vote in favor of the Bill. When the previous resolution passed, the yeas were 15 and nays 13, but Mr. Ross and Mr. Ogden have since arrived, who complete the full number of Federalists in that House. The Bill has, indeed, to pass a third reading, but it is not usual, nor is it intended, at that time, to make any opposition.
In the House very little business of public importance has been yet done. Much of the last week was taken up with attempts to instruct the Committee of Ways and Means to make particular inquiry whether it be expedient, or not, to reduce the duty on salt, or on brown sugar, bohea tea, and coffee—articles of general consumption among the poorer classes, and on which specific duties are paid much too high for the price they will bear in a time of peace. But not even an inquiry into the expediency could be obtained. Yesterday an attempt was made to call upon the Secretary of the Treasury to lay before the House in detail the expenses of collecting the internal taxes, which has been the great ostensible argument for repealing them, but in vain. Another trial for inquiry, respecting the duties on salt, sugar, tea, and coffee, was made, but failed. The majority are so much Frenchified that, like the silent branch of the French Government, they voted without debating. Several very argumentative and impressive speeches were made by members on our side the House, and the debates occupied nearly the whole day, but not a member on the opposite side opened his mouth, unless in “grinning a horrid smile.”
The yeas and nays on all these, and on a great number of other questions, have been taken, but the names have not been permitted, in one instance, to be inserted in the papers. Until it was found that the names could be suppressed, the most forcible argument that could be offered on any question was a call for the vote by yeas and nays, but now even this solitary argument has lost its effect. And within a few days a new mode of giving the debates in the Democratic papers is adopted. Messrs. Duane and Smith are displaying their talents in giving them in summaries. You will find the debate on the subjects I have mentioned (probably in your papers) given in this
way. The speeches on both sides (when there were such) are named, and some of the arguments, pro and con, but in a manner totally adverse to the truth. Many of the arguments on our side are mentioned, but a cast is given them which renders them futile, or really favorable to their opponents, while those on the opposite side are exhibited in pointed and popular strains.
From what has passed in the Houses, beyond all doubt, the internal system of taxation will be abolished. A direct tax is talked of, but an increase of duties on imports is, at present, more probable. The Select Committee have this day reported a bill for repealing the former and enacting a new naturalization law. It has not been taken up, but I believe it will fully meet the wishes of Jefferson. When the Judiciary bill comes before our House, it is expected that the majority will give it their silent vote, and not improbably this mode of doing business will prevail throughout the session. “O tempora, 0 mores!” We are much alarmed at seeing the names of the Committee from the two Houses of Massachusetts, appointed to answer the Governor's speech. Will you write me on this subject? Your friend and brother, M. CUTLER.
Feb. 1, Monday. Attended Congress. Considerable done.
Feb. 3, Wednesday. Question on Judiciary bill taken in the Senate and passed—ayes, 16, nays, 15.
Feb. 4, Thursday. Judiciary bill came to our House. Sensible impression made on every countenance when announced, but the feeling of the two sides of the House very different.
Feb. 6, Saturday. Dined at the President's—Messrs. Hillhouse, Foster, and Ross, of the Senate; General Bond, Wadsworth, Woods, Hastings, Tenney, Read, and myself. Dinner not as elegant as when we dined before. Rice soup, round of beef, turkey, mutton, ham, loin of veal, cutlets of mutton or veal, fried eggs, fried beef, a pie called macaroni, which appeared to be a rich crust filled with the strillions of onions, or shallots, which I took it to be, tasted very strong, and not agreeable. Mr. Lewis told me there were none in it; it was an Italian dish, and what appeared like onions was made of flour and butter, with a particularly strong liquor mixed with them. Ice-cream very good, crust wholly dried, crumbled into thin flakes; a dish somewhat like a pudding-inside white as milk or curd, very porous and light, covered with creamsauce-very fine. Many other jimcracks, a great variety of fruit, plenty of wines, and good. President social. We drank tea and viewed again the great cheese.
Feb. 7, Lord's Day. Mr. McCormick preached in the Hall.
Feb. 8, Monday. Engaged in destroying the Mint. ... The President sent me Dr. Lettsomos Observations on Cowpox, with a very polite note.
Feb. 10, Wednesday. Motion for repealing the internal system of taxation.
Feb. 11, Thursday. Returned the President Dr. Lettsom's Observations on the Cow-pox, with a pretty long billet, acknowledging his politeness, and some remarks on the work.
Feb. 12, Friday. Nothing very interesting.
Feb. 13. Making arrangements for the attack on the Judiciary, expected on Monday.
Feb. 14, Lord's Day. Mr. Gant preached in the Hall. A very full Assembly. Mr. Jefferson present.
Feb. 20, Saturday. On Thursday evening, about 10, Mr. Dayton, going to bed, pulled off a pair of silk stockings, laid his stockings on his slippers at the bedside. lle perceived some sparks as he pulled them off. In the morning both stockings were burnt to a cinder, threads appearing to lie in their position in a coil; slippers burnt to a crisp; carpet burnt through and floor to a coal, so as to cause the resin to run. Lay near the bed, and near the curtains. By electrical fluid. Many gentlemen noted the sparkling of their silk stockings as they went to bed. I wore silk stockings that day, but did not notice sparks. The clock (or figured work) of one of the stockings, which was stretched out, was to be seen. Garter under the stocking, end out, was not burnt.*
*A very singular occurrence has happened to General Dayton, of Elizabethtown, one of the New Jersey Senators. He pulled off his stockings of silk, under which were nother pair of woolen gauze, just as he was going to bed The former were dropped on the small carpet by the bedside, and the latter were thrown to some distance near its