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LETTERS FROM W. D. PECK, BENJAMIN TALLMADGE. TIMOTHY PICKERING,
SAMUEL. TAGGART, RUFUS PUTNAM-DIARIES FOR NUO TO 16-
ON BOARD THE GALEN,
LAT. 18° 53', Long. 16°, July 1, 1805. To REV. DR. CUTLER.
Reverend and Dear Sir:-I embarked with my fellow passengers on the 3d of June. Our progress hitherto has been slow and tellious, having had no wind, since we left Boston, which was actually fair, and we have sailed close hauled on the wind the greatest part of the time. So prevalent have been the breezes from the Southward and Eastward, that we have thought constancy, an attribute hitherto denied them, might be given to the winds.
I have seen fewer marine productions than I expected. The Fucus natans occurred but seldom, and instead of fields of it, I saw only detached pieces. Some of these I took, and found on them two species of Cancer; one of these seems to be Cancer minutus, and the other approaches the Cancer pennaccus, though it does not perfectly accord with any species in the 12th edition of the Syst. Nat.
The Portugese Man of War of the sailors is a very curious animal, and may be called Medusa cristata. Its form is oval, its body inflated with air, which keeps it afloat; and the crest, which answers the purpose of a sail, occupies the length of the back. The tentacula occupy the anterior and inferior part of it. ... The tentacula are surprisingly extensible, so that they may be lengthened three fathoms, or contracted to two inches. Other species of Medusa have presented themselves, some of which are very beautiful, and one I found phosphorescent, or giving a most beautiful and vivid light in the night. Several other gelatinous animals abound in the
ocean, of wonderful structure and exquisite transparency. The Fucus natans is beautifully incrusted with Flustra foliacea. A small shark was taken yesterday. It proved to be the Squalus glaucus, the back of a fine blue-slate color.
I took with me the Medical Repository of Dr. Mitchill, and find, in the number for August, September, and October, that M. Rafinesque has found that the canvas-back is the Anas ferina of Linné. I confess I feel a little vexed that Dr. Mitchill or Dr. Barton have not done this before, and that we are obliged to a foreigner for the name of a bird which has been so long celebrated; and I am ashamer, too, that this bird should be known to the wise men of the South more as a tid-bit, a gulae irritamentum, than as a link in the chain of nature. Now, the Anas ferina has been known to me several years. A gunner at Kittery brought me a pair of them, I believe, ten years ago, so that it is sometimes found in our waters; and the Vallisneria, as I believe I mentioned to you, is found in the Artichoke. As the plant which M. Rafinesque says is its food is found with us, the bird may also be reckoned one of ours.
I avail myself of a little leisure which I have while at sea to write you; but, having much to do, must break off rather abruptly. It will serve, however, to assure you that I am not forgetful of your many kindnesses, and that I am, my dear Sir, Your very affectionate and obliged friend and servant,
W. D. PECK.
[From Colonel Benj. Tallmadge.]
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 1806. Dear Sir:- ... The House of Representatives have been engaged for a fortnight past in confidential business. I wish it was proper for me to communicate to you the subjects as well as the manner of the debates. Knowing the characters who appeared in the debate, I am persuaded you would be greatly pleased with a history of this interesting transaction.
I was at Mr. Merry's last Saturday, when Mrs. Merry remembered her old friend Dr. Cutler very cordially.
if he should attempt to impress him. Its other provisions are the most singular of any that I remember to have seen. The spirit of the nation seems to run high against the British Government and Nation. I am, dear Sir, sincerely yours,
[From Colonel Benj. Tallmadge.]
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 1806. Dear Sir :-I have now before me your letters of January 29th and February 8th. It would afford me peculiar pleasure if I was at liberty to give you the Details of our late secret session. The attempt to remove the injunction of secrecy has been more than once made, but without success. The truth is, our exclusive republican Brethren, those dear Lovers of the people, do not think it safe (at least for their own reputations) to trust them with the knowledge of all their political Intrigues. For my own part, I could wish that every person in the U. S. could have witnessed the passing scenes. One thing I will venture to predict, that whenever the secret gets out, the world will wonder that so much Importance has been bestowed on such an event.
The schism which has taken place between Northern and Southern Democrats looks to be of the irreconcilable nature that it never can be healed. J. Randolph and some of his fast friends lead the Southern Junto ; while Bidwell, General Varnum, Crowninshield, and General Thomas, appear to manage the Northern Phalanx. In many trials of strength their force has appeared to be so nearly balanced that the weight of the little Federal band has given a preponderating turn to the balance. In some contests, Randolph has kept the field of Argument, alone, against the whole host of his guards or brethren, and even silenced their batteries. His attacks have been general or personal, as best suited his purpose; and, in some of his philippics, the gall of his heart was poured forth without mixture. Epithets have, in consequence, attached to certain Characters, which they can not shake off, and which we sometimes thik prevents them from over much talking. You will undoubtedly recollect the peculiar nasal sound of General — 's voice. Randolph called it a “ sepulchral tone," or, “ in the language of the common prayer book, might be either said or sung." General Varnum he has styled sworn Interpreter of Presidential Jessages, etc. Bidwell is manifestly not a little mortified, and speaks but rarely, especially when R. is present.
If you ask me what good is to result from all this, I must say, perhaps no lasting good, inasmuch as it has been uniformly found to be true, that whenever the principles of the party are attacked, they will immediately unite as in a common ('ause.
The Senate have not yet sent us the St. Domingo Bill. When it comes, I presume we shall follow the measures of the Senate. In fact, the dignified spirit of our country has either flelor sleeps. I am affectionately and sincerely yours,
BENJ. TALMIDGE. REVD . CUTLER.
[From Colonel Tullmaniye.]
WASHINGTON, April 2, 1806. Der SO:-Yesterclay we had one of the prouest days that has fallen to our lot during the session. Early in the day, Jno. Randolph offerent i Resolution (after the Galleries were cleared) to take off the injunction of Secrecy from the Vlembers relative to our proceedings during the late sittings in Conclave. Early, of Georgia, moved to postpone the consideration indefinitelyy. This was considered to be tantamount to a negative, and brought on il warn discussion. Mr. R. took a very wide range indeed, and pelted the Secretary of State severely. Ile pronounced him either ignorant of his Buty, or wicked in executing it. In fact, he finally declared that he (the Sec'y of State) had male proposals to take the money from the Treasury, before Congress convened, to purchase the Floridas, and trust to a tuture appropriation to cover this nefarious Consuct. This brought up Smilie, Findley, Eppes, Biilwell, Early, etc., but R. silenced them all. In
was taken Dy yeas ana hays on the postponement, and lost by one majority. Several other motions were made to erade the main Question, but could not be carried. The Abettors of the late measure, appropriating $2,000,000 to purchase the Floridas, and in this way, for aught we know, committing this Country for millions more, began now to look thunderstruck, and seemed to look almost willing to call to the rocks and mountains to fall on them. The vote was taken on the Resolution about half past 5 o'clock, and carried. Our late secret proceelings will therefore be now macie public, and the papers, I have no doubt, will be filled with the same. I write in great haste, and am,
Sincerely and respectfully yours, DR. CUTLER.
[From Timothy Pickering.]
CITY OF WASHINGTON, March, 1806. Dear Sir:-I received your letter of the 15th ult. If Mr. Collins senils me the letter from Sweden, I will forward it to you without delay. I will also take the packet on my return.
McMahon has, within a few days, informed me that his book on gardening is publishel, and asked my orders concerning your copy. It being so late in the session, I have desired him to retain it until I return. But is it not probable that he will send some copies to Boston? I believe I had better hint that to him; and, in that case, to send a copy for you, because it is not improbable that Congress may sit to a late day in IprilI understand that the President has intimated as much-and you may wish for your copy early in the spring. With great regard and esteem, I am yours, .
P.S.- Mr. Rind has failed in sending some of your papers ; but you will not lose much thereby. No Minister is nominated for London. I presume Monroe will remain there alone. Least of all will Burr.