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depreciation cannot pass, for the moment they tend to
pass it, the paper is converted into specie. As this process will soon have the effect of emptying the vaults of the bank, when its paper loses its credit, those institutions have a direct interest in keeping their issues within moderate limits, and preventing depreciation. They may, indeed, somewhat depreciate gold and silver, but this evil also begets its own correction, by causing an exportation of the redundant currency, whereby its just value is gradually restored.
It is also true, that the great gain arising from the substitution of paper money for gold and silver, the state may appropriate to itself. Yet to this expedient is opposed the danger of giving a corrupting influence to whatever functionaries of the government the purse is confided to, of abuses and malpractices in the agents of the government, of want of skill and prudence in making loans if the money is lent, and of still greater dangers if it is to await the disbursements of the government. The public therefore had better forego this advantage, and leave the business to the management of private capitalists, who will be prompted by self-interest to give to the public a safe currency, to lend only to those who will use the money most productively, who, looking to the institution as a source of profit, will be neither able nor willing to spend their money in political schemes, and who, moreover, may be subjected to the supervision of the legislature.
These letters were probably not without effect. The treasury notes which were soon after issued, may have been suggested by them, and the scheme entertained some time since of a treasury bank at Washington, seems to have been borrowed from the same source.
Correspondence with Mr. Adams. On party divisions. On the true
principles of Christianity. On Aristocracy. His frank disclosure of his opinions. His opinion of Napoleon. Letter to Dr. W. Jones. Character of General Washington. To Mr. Cabell on the qualifications of members of Congress. On the importance of Education, and the division of the country into Wards. The latter policy examined. Napoleon. Plato. Letter to Mr. Monroe. Capture of Washington. Public Finances. To La Fayette. Political condition of France. His feeling towards the English government and nation. Resigns the office of President of the American Philosophical Society.
He again wrote, on June 27th, 1813, to Mr. Adams on the unpleasant subject of his letters to Dr. Priestley. He says that the same parties which now divide the United States, have existed from all time. " Whether the power of the people, or that of the apotou should prevail, were questions which kept the states of Greece and Rome in eternal convulsions, as they now schismatize every people whose minds and mouths are not shut up by the gag of a despot; and in fact, the term Whig and Tory belong to natural as well as civil history. They denote the temper and constitution of mind of different individuals.” He refers to the first Congress, when the “ Jays and the Dickinsons," and other antiindependents were arrayed against Mr. Adams and himself. Then to the schisms between the “ feds and antis.” Here he says they came together again, for although he at first wished that some of the states should hold off from the constitution until some amendments were made, he afterwards acceded to the wiser proposition of Massachusetts, that all the states should at once confirm the constitution, and then instruct their delegates to urge those amendments. As soon as the constitution went into operation, they again broke into two parties, and here he and Mr. Adams again separated. One party placed Mr. Adams's name at its head, the other selected his, but neither of them took any part personally in the discussions which ensued. These discussions were con ducted with a bitterness which was never exceeded. Among the various modes of discussion may be named the private correspondence of individuals, in which, not being intended for the public eye, the writers were more unguarded. In this way they had both indulged themselves. They had probably done it, sometimes with warmth, often with prejudice, but always as they believed, adhering to truth. He says that one of his letters had, by the death of the friend to whom it was addressed, and by the malice and treachery of a third person, found its way before the public. That he had already explained how he came to mention Mr Adams's name. He disclaims all intention of renewing these discussions as equally unavailing, and unsuited to their age; and he declares that his mind has been long fixed to bow to the judgment of the world, who would judge of him by his acts, and not take counsel of him, and that nothing could induce him to deviate from that course. That “ those among its whose names may happen to be remembered, would be judged by posterity favourably or otherwise, according to the complexion of individual minds, and the side they shall themselves have taken.”
The reconciliation between these venerable patriots seemed to have been complete after this letter, as a brisk correspondence was immediately afterwards carried on between them on various subjects of morals and religion, particularly as to the opinions of Dr. Priestley, with which Mr: Jefferson's seemed nearly to accord. Some of the subjects of their letters will now be briefly noticed.
In that of the 13th of October, he acknowledges to have received five letters from Mr. Adams and one from Mrs. Adams. He sends a copy of the syllabus he had prepared of a code of ethics. “In extracting the pure principles of christianity," he says, “ he must strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled.” We must reduce one volume to the simple evangelists, select even from them the very words only of Jesus, paring off the amphibologisms into which they have been led, by forgetting often, or not understanding what had fallen from him, by giving their own misconceptions as his dicta, and expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves. There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man. «He adds that he had performed this operation for his own use, by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book, and arranging the matter which is evidently his, and which was as easily distinguishable as diamonds in a dunghill. The result was an octavo of forty-six pages of pure and unsophisticated doctrines."
After giving a sketch of the course to be pursued in drawing a comparison between the philosophy of the Greeks with that of Christ, he says, “such a canvass is too broad for the age of seventy, and especially of one whose chief occupations have been in the practical business of life.” “We must leave, therefore,” he says, “ to others younger and more learned than we are to prepare the euthanasia for platonic christianity, and its restoration to the primitive simplicity of its founder.” He agrees that Mr. Adams had justly characterized the theism of the three religions, when he said, that the principle of the Hebrew was the fear, of the Gentile, the honour, and of the Christian, the love of God. Mr. Jefferson gives the Hebrew psalmist the palm “over all the hymnists of every language and of every time;" and he cites a passage from Sternhold, even “ the leaden Sternhold,” to prove the sublimity of the original.
Another learned dissertation follows on the 28th of October, suggested by a passage from Thcognis, which had been quoted by Mr. Adams. It is indeed a curious and interesting spectacle to see these veteran statesmen, for many years political opponents and rivals, the one upwards of seventy; and the other near eighty, passing their vacant hours in disquisitions often so foreign to their former pursuits, and to those subjects which were generally supposed to occupy their minds. It would seem as if, sated with political speculation and party contentions, these questions of the schools had to them the charm of novelty ; or perhaps the exemption of such subjects from all tinge of acrimony or passion of any kind better harmonized with the quiet and placidity which age covets above all things.
But Mr. Jefferson could not long confine himself to these shadowy topics, so foreign to the habitual bent of his mind,
In the investigation of a fanciful theory of Thcognis concerning the motives which occasion the commerce between the sexes, he insensibly glides into political speculation. He agrees with Mr. Adams that there is a natural aristocracy among men, the grounds of which are virtue and talents. “ Formerly," he says, “ bodily powers gave place among the aristoi. But since the invention of gunpowder has armed the weak as well as the strong with missiles of death, bodily strength, like beauty, good humour, politeness, and other accomplishments, has become but an auxiliary ground of distinction. There is also an aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents; for with these, it would belong to the first class. The natural aristocracy. I