« AnteriorContinuar »
ural and best friends. But this scheme of party I leave to those who are to live under its consequences.
We who have gone before have performed an honest duty, by putting in the power
of our successors a state of happiness which no nation ever before had within their choice. If that choice is to throw it away, the dead will have neither the power nor the right to control them. I must hope, nevertheless, that the mass of our honest and wellmeaning brethren of the other States, will discover the use which designing leaders are making of their best feelings, and will see the precipice to which they are lead, before they take the fatal leap. God grant it, and to you health and happiness.
TO RICHARD RUSH, ESQ.
MONTICELLO, October 20, 1920. DEAR SIR,—In your favor of May 3d, which I have now to acknowldge, you so kindly proffered your attentions to any little matters I might have on that side of the water, that I take the liberty of availing myself of this proof of your goodness so far as to request you to put the enclosed catalogue in the hands of some honest bookseller of London, who will procure and forward the books to me, with care and good faith. They should be packed in a cheap trunk, and not put on ship-board until April, as they would be liable to damage on a winter passage. I ask an honest correspondent in that line, because, when we begin to import for the library of our Universary, we shall need one worthy of entire confidence.
I send this letter open to my correspondent in Richmond, Captain Bernard Peyton, with a request that he will put into it a bill of exchange on London of £40 sterling, which of course, therefore, I cannot describe to you by naming drawer and drawee. He will also forward, by other conveyance, the duplicate and triplicate as usual. This sum would more than cover the cost of the books written for, according to their prices stated in printed catalogues; but as books have risen with other things in price.
I have enlarged the printed amount by about 15 per cent. to cover any rise. Still, should it be insufficient, the bookseller is requested to dock the catalogue to the amount of the remittance.
I have no news to give you ; for I have none but from the newspapers, and believing little of that myself, it would be an unworthy present to my friends. But the important news lies now on your side of the Atlantic. England, in throes from a trifle, as it would seem, but that trifle the symptom of an irremediable disease proceeding from a long course of exhaustion by efforts and burthens beyond her natural strength; France agonizing between royalists and constitutionalists; the other States of Europe pressing on to revolution and the rights of man, and the colossal powers of Russia and Austria marshalled against them. These are more than specks of hurricane in the horizon of the world. You, who are young, may live to see its issue; the beginning only is for my time. Nor is our side of the water entirely untroubled, the boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave. A hideous evil, the magnitude of which is seen, and at a distance only, by the one party, and more sorely felt and sincerely deplored by the other, from the difficulty of the cure, divides us at this moment too angrily. The attempt by one party to prohibit willing States from sharing the evil, is thought by the other to render desperate, by accumulation, the hope of its final eradication. If a little time, however, is given to both parties to cool, and to dispel their visionary fears, they will see that concurring in sentiment as to the evil, moral and political, the duty and interest of both is to concur also in divining a practicable process of cure. Should time not be given, and the schism be pushed to separation, it will be for a short term only; two or three years trial will bring them back, like quarrelling lovers to renewed embraces, and increased affections. The experiment of separation would soon prove to both that they had mutually miscalculated their best interests. And even were the parties in Congress to secede in a passion, the soberer people would call a convention and cément again the severance attempted by the insanity of their functionaries. With
this consoling view, my greatest grief would be for the fatal effect of such an event on the hopes and happiness of the world. We exist, and are quoted, as standing proofs that a government, so modelled as to rest continually on the will of the whole society, is a practicable government. Were we to break to pieces, it would damp the hopes and the efforts of the good, and give triumph to those of the bad through the whole enslaved world. As members, therefore, of the universal society of mankind, and standing in high and responsible relation with them, it is our sacred duty to suppress passion among ourselves, and not to blast the confidence we have inspired of proof that a government of reason is better than one of force. This letter is not of facts but of opinions, as you will observe; and although the converse is generally the most acceptable, I do not know that, in your situation, the opinions of your countrymen may not be as desirable to be known to you as facts. They constitute, indeed, moral facts, as important as physical ones to the attention of the public functionary. Wishing you a long career to the services you may render your country, and that it may be a career of happiness and prosperity to yourself, I salute you with affectionate attachment and respect.
TO MR. CORREA.
MONTICELLO, October 24, 1820. Your kind letter, dear Sir, of October 12th, was handed to me by Dr. Cooper, and was the first correction of an erroneous belief that you had long since left our shores. Such had been Colonel Randolph's opinion, and his had governed mine. I received your adieu with feelings of sincere regret at the loss we were to sustain, and particularly of those friendly visits by which you had made me so happy. I shall feel, too, the want of your counsel and approbation in what we are doing and have yet to do in our University, the last of my mortal cares, and the last service I can render my country. But turning from myself, throwing egotism behind me, and looking to your happiness, it is a duty and consolation of friendship to consider that that may be promoted by your return to your own country. There I hope you will receive the honors and rewards you merit, and which may make the rest of your life easy and happy; there too you will render precious services by promoting the science of your country, and blessing its future generations with the advantages that bestows. Nor even there shall we lose all the benefits of your friendship ; for this motive, as well as the love of your own country, will be an incitement to promote that intimate harmony between our two nations which is so much the interest of both. Nothing is so important as that America shall separate herself from the systems of Europe, and establish one of her own. Our circumstances, our pursuits, our interests, are distinct, the principles of our policy should be so also. All entanglements with that quarter of the globe should be avoided if we mean that peace and justice shall be the polar stars of the American societies. I had written a letter to a friend while you were here, in a part of which these sentiments were expressed, and I had made an extract from it to put into your hands, as containing my creed on that subject. You had left us, however, in the morning earlier than I had been aware ; still I enclose it to you, because it would be a leading principle with me, had I longer to live. During six and thirty years that I have been in situations to attend to the conduct and characters of foreign nations, I have found the government of Portugal the most just, inoffensive and unambitious of any one with which we had concern, without a single exception. I am sure that this is the character of ours also. Two such nations can never wish to quarrel with each other. Subordinate officers may be negligent, may have their passions and partialities, and be criminally remiss in preventing the enterprises of the lawless banditti who are to be found in every seaport of every country. The late piratical depredations which your commerce has suffered as well as ours, and that of other nations, seem to have been committed by renegado rovers of several nations, French, English, American, which they as well as we have not been careful enough to suppress. I hope our Congress now about to meet will strengthen the measures of suppression. Of their disposition to do it there can be no doubt ; for all men of moral principle must be shocked at these atrocities. I had repeated conversations on this subject with the President, while at his seat in this neighborhood. No man can abhor these enormities more deeply. I trust it will not have been in the power of abandoned rovers, nor yet of negligent functionaries, to disturb the harmony of two nations so much disposed to mutual friendship, and interested in it. To this, my dear friend, you can be mainly instrumental, and I know your patriotism and philanthropy too well to doubt your best efforts to cement us. In these I pray for your success, and that heaven may long preserve you in health and prosperity to do all the good to mankind to which your enlightened and benevolent mind disposes you. Of the continuance of my affectionate friendship, with that of my life, and of its fervent wishes for your happiness, accept my sincere assurance.
TO THE REVEREND JARED SPARKS.
MONTICELLO, November 4, 1820. Sir,-Your favor of September 18th is just received, with the book accompanying it. Its delay was owing to that of the box of books from Mr. Guegan, in which it was packed. Being just setting out on a journey I have time only to look over the summary of contents. In this I see nothing in which I am likely to differ materially from you. I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man. I adhere to the principles of the first age; and consider all subsequent innovations as corruptions of his religion, having no foundation in what came from him. The metaphysical insanities of Athanasius, of Loyola, and of Calvin, are, to my understanding, mere relap ses into polytheism, differing from paganism only by being, more unintelligible. The religion of Jesus is founded in the