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and Root would settle the point between them by a duel. There appeared to be others who were not far removed from the fighting mood. By others, much concern was expressed lest they should break to pieces—that another party would be established, or the Moderates would go over to the Federalists. In short, the scene was new and interesting.
Mr. Dana was the Chairman of the Committee of Claims who made the report, but a majority of that Committee were Democrats. This Committee had been most shamefully abused, and Mr. Dana had been vibrating in opinion whether it was best, as he was a Federalist, to speak for the purpose of vindicating the conduct of the Committee. His friends thought it best for him to do it. He rose (the last) yesterday, and delivered a speech which excited universal astonishment. It was superlative in every part, and the dignified manner in which it was delivered was the laurel which crowned the whole. He outshone himself. Never did the Democratic part of the House appear so degraded. Never did a culprit cringe and writhe like Randolph under the smarting strokes of his keen-edged (but delicate) irony. At the close of this speech, the House
This day has been occupied on the same question. The speakers have been many. Dawson came out in the most pointed manner against Randolph ; a flowery speech, and, at the close of it, bad something very like a daring hint that he was ready to walk to the ground where gentlemen sometimes discharge their pistols. Several speakers followed, and between four and five the question was taken: ayes, 63; nays, 58; and a bill was ordered to be brought in founded on the report.
This has been a scene which has much exceeded any thing I have ever witnessed. No Federalist has said a word, except Mr. Dana, and a short amendment proposed just at the close of the business by Mr. Huger, who said a few words in support of it. I have forgotten to mention that Randolph, in a third speech, attempted to coax his party by giving them sugar
but it is impossible to determine how much.
Just as the vote was taken, five or six members withdrew and did not vote. Most of them are known to be in favor of the claims, but whether it was the fear of Randolph or some other fear that drove them from their seats is uncertain. For two or three days past, Randolph has been going about among his party in the House, and has been observed to be often crying. No wonder; boys cry when they are whipped, and sometimes more whipping is necessary to make them quiet. When Dana sat down, Johnny came immediately round to him, to his chair, and was observed to be crying while he was whispering to him. It was hinted, just after we rose to day, that he had actually sent Dana a challenge, but I do not credit it, nor have I any fear that Dana will fight. What will be the consequence of all this, I am more than ever at a loss to conjecture. We have just heard that the Pennsylvania Judges are acquitted, and many here think that this event, and what has happened in our house, will have influence in favor of Judge Chase, and that he will be acquitted. Should it be so, I should think that the gloom that hangs over our country would begin to dissipate. But the spirit of democracy is implacable. The Virginia party fear and hate New England, whatever may be their political characters. It has been a common saying here this winter, that "There is no being in nature that a Virginian hates so much as a New England Democrat.” I have now seen much to confirm it.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 1805. MRS. TORREY. My Dear Daughter :
We have this winter been cooped up in a chamber in the wing of the Capitol, which has afforded no room for ladies to attend the debates. The Hall where we used to sit has been pulled down for the purpose of building up the other wing, agreeably to the original plan. If there had been as many ladies as have attended heretofore, I might have collected something from head-dresses, shawls,
I have lately been frequently at the British Ambassador's, and have found Mrs. Merry a very accomplished and agreeable lady. She is quite a botanist, and understanding that I had attended to that science, she has solicited an acquaintance. They spent the summer in Philadelphia, where Vrs. Verry was sick, and did not recover her health, so as to be able to come on to this city, until the first of January. Immediately on their arrival Mrs. Merry informed the Swedish Counsel-General, Mr. Soderstrom, with whom I have been particularly intimate since I first came to Congress, of her earnest wish to be acquainted with me, as a botanist, but she was immediately taken sick with a fever, in consequence of a violent cold she caught on her journey. It has confined her to the house from that time to this. For a few weeks past she has been able to see company, At the invitation of Mr. Merry I have dined there frequently. Lately she has been able to attend to botanical matters. She has a fine collection of books, and a large number of specimens. She appears to understand the science very well, and is a perfect enthusiast in her favorite pursuit. It is her earnest wish to preserve American plants, and to be informed about our vegetable productions. The dreary, uncultivated state of this part of the country is extremely disagreeable to her. She expresses her astonishment at the want of taste in gardens, walks, etc., and that the ladies in this country have no relish for the most beautiful productions of nature.
At Baltimore and Philadelphia she observed, when she went into a lady's apartment, she found nothing but toilets and dressing tables-not a flower, not a dried specimen of any kind, not a book, bụt some foolish novels. No taste for the admirable works of the Beneficent Creator, who was scattering around in great profusion the incontestible evidences of His being and perfections.
But it is not in my power to be particular. If I had time I would give some history of a dining day, of the table and its furniture, but pressure of business at this time puts it out of of my power. The time, I hope, is not far distant, when I
anecdotes respecting this very pleasing family.
I am, my dear child,
Rev. Dr. Dana.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 1805. Dear Sir:
The general character of this session, until the Georgia claims were called up, has been totally different from the three preceding. The hydra of party spirit har not, except in one or two instances, before that time, made its appearance. Owing to the general absence of two or three members (occupied in preparing to carry on the impeachment), much harmony prevailed. It is believed, in more than two-thirds of the votes, the Federalists were in the majority. Mr. Griswold was acknowledged by many of the Democrats (and with satisfaction) to be the most influential member in the House. Randolph became sensible of the loss of his popularity.
On the question of the Georgia claims, in two outrageous speeches, he undertook to whip in his party, which he has in some degree affected, but there are a few who refuse to bow the knee, and there is evidently a design to establish a third party. Whether such a party be really established time will determine. They consist at present of the more moderate, judicious, and independent part of the Democrats. The most violent adhere to Randolph, and are ready to go all lengths. If the Moderates will be violent enough to persevere in their moderation, there is much reason to believe they would pretty easily slide over to Federal principles.
The pleading in the highly interesting trial of Judge Chase closed yesterday evening. The sentence is to be pronounced to-morrow at 12 o'clock.
The witnesses, about 60 in number, were of an unusual description of character-all gentlemen of the bench, the bar, or respectable standing in society. With some exceptions, there was great uniformity, considering the length of time since the transaction took place. Generally there was no appearance of the bias of party politics. But it was painful to observe in a number, not more
Juuge has been ransacked with the utmost scrutiny.
We are waiting with much anxiety for the sentence; whether he is acquitted or condemned, we can not refrain from a glimmer of hope that it may have some good effect upon our country. May heaven avert from us the evils that hang over our heads. Let us look with steadfast hope, and humbly trust to that all-wise superintending power which alone can save us from ruin. With kind respects to your lady and family, Accept my sincere affection and friendship,
WASHINGTON, March 1, 1805.
The day before yesterday, the pleadings on the trial were closed. Never in this country, on any one occasion, has so much ability or professional knowledge been displayed as has been by the Counsel of the Judge. Nor has there ever been a trial of equal importance to be decided. The parts of the defense were very judiciously di'vided between the five gentlemen, according to their prevailing talents. Mr. Hopkinson and Juilge Key have been thought impossible to excel. The impressions from the evidence seems to have been very uniformly the same on the numerous spectators. Every impartial mind, I believe, has felt the conviction that the Judge has discharged the duties of his office with great ability and legal propriety; that he has been scrupulously impartial on the most trying occasions, and preserved the strictest integrity amidst the tumult of party and passion, and throughout preserved an honorable independence. His whole character has been ransacked with the utmost scrutiny. Jocular conversation in private circles, expressions dropped while traveling in stages, at taverns and boarding houses, have been brought to condemn him. The violence of persecution has