BECK index

Jeffersonian Democracy 1801-1809

by Sanderson Beck

Jefferson Before His Presidency
Jefferson Inauguration & Peace Policy 1801
Jefferson Administration 1801-02
America’s Naval War in North Africa
Louisiana Purchase & Exploration
Jefferson & Indian Issues
Jefferson Administration in 1803
Jefferson Administration in 1804
Jefferson Administration 1805-06
Burr Conspiracy & Trial
Jefferson & the Embargo 1807-09

United States Democracy & Slavery 1801-1844 has been published as a book. For ordering information, please click here.

Jefferson Before His Presidency

United States & John Adams 1797-1800

      Thomas Jefferson was born 13 April 1743 on a Virginia plantation. The Scottish Dr. William Small was his first good teacher, and at a Latin school George Wythe was his mentor and helped him become a lawyer in 1767. Jefferson was elected to the Virginia legislature in 1769. He had become interested in politics during the Stamp Act crisis in 1765 that involved nonviolent resistance to British imperialism while he was studying law at Williamsburg. In 1769 the British Governor Norborne Berkeley dissolved the House of Burgesses, and they began meeting in the Raleigh tavern. Jefferson was more radical than most and admired the oratory of Patrick Henry. In 1774 Jefferson wrote A Summary View of the Rights of British America. That work begins,

Resolved, that it be an instruction to the said deputies,
when assembled in general congress with the deputies
from the other states of British America,
to propose to the said congress that
an humble and dutiful addressbe presented to his majesty,
begging leave to lay before him,
as chief magistrate of the British empire,
the united complaints of his majesty’s subjects in America;
complaints which are excited
by many unwarrantable encroachments and usurpations,
attempted to be made by the legislature of one part of the empire,
upon those rights which God and the laws
have given equally and independently to all.1

Jefferson argued that the Americans had the same rights,

   That their Saxon ancestors had, under this universal law,
in like manner left their native wilds and woods in the north of Europe,
had possessed themselves of the island of Britain,
then less charged with inhabitants,
and had established there that system of laws which
has so long been the glory and protection of that country….
That the exercise of a free trade with all parts of the world,
possessed by the American colonists, as of natural right,
and which no law of their own had taken away or abridged,
was next the object of unjust encroachment….
That these are the acts of power, assumed by a body of men,
foreign to our constitutions, and unacknowledged by our laws,
against which we do, on behalf of the inhabitants of British America,
enter this our solemn and determined protest;
and we do earnestly entreat his majesty, as yet the only mediatory power
between the several states of the British empire,
to recommend to his parliament of Great Britain
the total revocation of these acts, which, however nugatory they be,
may yet prove the cause of further discontents and jealousies among us.2

      Virginia Speaker Peyton Randolph included young Jefferson among the state’s delegates to the Congress in Philadelphia, and he arrived there on 21 June 1775. He was put on a committee to work on a declaration because of his Summary View. On July 22 he was included in another committee with Ben Franklin, John Adams, and R. H. Lee to work on a response to Lord North’s conciliatory resolution. On 15 May 1776 a Virginia convention proposed that Congress declare its independence of Great Britain, and Jefferson was on the committee to write a declaration of rights. Others contributed, but Jefferson was the main author of that famous document. He believed they could create what in his Autobiography he called, “a well ordered republic. To effect it no violence was necessary, no deprivation of natural right, but rather an enlargement of it by a repeal of the law.”3
      Jefferson inherited land and slaves, and in 1784 he had about 200 slaves. He claimed he treated them well and only purchased additional slaves to reunite families. In 1778 he proposed that the Virginia legislature end the importation of slaves, and in 1779 and 1782 he urged gradual emancipation. In 1777 Jefferson began writing on religious freedom, and his “Statute for Religious Freedom” became Virginia law in January 1786. During the War for Independence he was elected the Governor of Virginia in 1779 and 1780, and he had the capital moved from Williamsburg to Richmond. In addition to religious freedom he promoted education and the reform of inheritance laws.
      In June 1781 Jefferson was appointed to negotiate peace along with John Adams, Franklin, John Jay, and John Laurens, but this was delayed for a year and a half. The commissioners signed the provisional peace treaty on 3 September 1782. Jefferson returned to Congress and worked for its ratification. During the first half of the 1780s he wrote his Notes on the State of Virginia. He had 200 copies printed in French in 1785. He did not like the translation, and at London he had it published in English in 1787. On 1 March 1784 Jefferson submitted to the Confederate Congress his “Report of a Plan of Government for the Western Territory,” and it passed on April 23.
      That Congress in August sent Jefferson to France where he joined Franklin and John Adams at Paris. He succeeded Franklin as the minister in May 1785 and lived in Paris until September 1789 except for some European travels in the spring of 1787 and 1788. Barbary cruisers captured two of America’s ships and crews, and in 1786 Jefferson offered “Proposals for concerted operation among the powers at war with the Piratical States of Barbary.” Several nations were interested, but Britain and Spain were opposed. In 1787 he sent for his youngest child Polly who came with the 16-year-old slave Sally Hemings to Paris in June. He began sexual relations with Sally, and she would give birth to six of his children. Before they left Paris in 1789, he promised that he would free her children when they came of age. This scandal would be exposed by the disgruntled job-seeker James T. Callender in September 1802.
      Jefferson observed the beginning of the French Revolution in the first nine months of 1789. At one point King Louis XVI was willing to grant the following:

1. Freedom of the person by Habeas corpus.
2. Freedom of conscience.
3. Freedom of the Press.
4. Trial by jury.
5. A representative legislature.
6. Annual meetings.
7. The origination of laws.
8. The exclusive right of taxation and appropriation.
And 9. The responsibility of ministers;
and with the exercise of these powers
they would obtain in future
whatever might be further necessary
to improve and preserve their constitution.4

Later Jefferson noted the people’s lamentable error in not accepting this, and he wrote,

For after 30 years of war, foreign and domestic,
the loss of millions of lives,
the prostration of private happiness,
and foreign subjugation of their own country for a time,
they have obtained no more, nor even that securely.5

Jefferson served under President Washington as Secretary of State from 22 March 1790 to the end of 1793. Washington often had him debate the views of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, and they became the leaders of the Republican and Federalist parties. In 1792 Hamilton was able to block Jefferson’s plan to persuade the British to remove their troops from the Great Lakes area by using commercial means. In 1793 Jefferson persuaded the President to receive the flamboyant French minister Edmond Charles Genet. Jefferson and Republicans favored France while Hamilton and Federalists were partial to England. Jefferson opposed Jay’s treaty for being pro-British in 1795.
      In the 1796 election John Adams was elected President, and Jefferson coming in second became Vice President. While presiding over the United States Senate Jefferson wrote A Manual of Parliamentary Practice. During the reaction to the publication of the “XYZ dispatches” in 1798 Jefferson opposed war against France and was severely criticized by Federalists. Later that year Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition laws that led to the arrest of Republicans. In response Jefferson in November wrote Resolutions that Kentucky adopted, and his friend James Madison wrote the Virginia Resolutions. These argued that the Alien and Sedition laws were unconstitutional and should be nullified. In the 1800 presidential election Jefferson and the Republican candidate for Vice President, Aaron Burr, got the same number of electoral votes, and Burr tried to use this in the voting by the House of Representatives. They had 36 ballots before Jefferson was elected with Burr as Vice President.

Jefferson Inauguration & Peace Policy 1801

      On 4 March 1801 the new Chief Justice John Marshall, a Virginia Federalist who revered George Washington and detested the Republican Thomas Jefferson, administered the oath of office to the latter as the third President of the United States. In his inaugural address Jefferson began by humbly describing the weakness of his powers to accomplish the greatness of his charge. He asserted his trust in the United States Constitution, saying, “In the other high authorities provided by our constitution, I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal, on which to rely under all difficulties.” He explained his philosophy and policies,

During the contest of opinion through which we have past
the animation of discussions and of exertions
has sometimes worn an aspect which might
impose on strangers unused to think freely,
and to speak and to write what they think;
but this being now decided by the voice of the nation,
announced according to the rules of the constitution
all will of course arrange themselves under the will of the law,
and unite in common efforts for the common good.
All too will bear in mind this sacred principle,
that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail,
that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable;
that the minority possess their equal rights,
which equal laws must protect,
and to violate would be oppression.
Let us then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind,
let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection
without which liberty, and even life itself, are but dreary things.
And let us reflect that having banished from our land
that religious intolerance under which
mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little
if we countenance a political intolerance, as despotic,
as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.
During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world,
during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man,
seeking through blood and slaughter his long lost liberty,
it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows
should reach even this distant and peaceful shore;
that this should be more felt and feared
by some and less by others;
and should divide opinions as to measures of safety;
but every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.
We have called by different names
brethren of the same principle.
We are all republicans: we are all federalists….
I know indeed that some honest men fear
that a republican government cannot be strong;
that this government is not strong enough.
But would the honest patriot,
in the full tide of successful experiment,
abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm,
on the theoretic and visionary fear,
that this government, the world’s best hope,
may, by possibility, want energy to preserve itself?
I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary,
the strongest government on earth.
I believe it the only one, where every man,
at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law,
and would meet invasions of the public order
as his own personal concern….
   Let us then, with courage and confidence,
pursue our own federal and republican principles;
our attachment to union and representative government.
Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean
from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe;
too high minded to endure the degradations of the others,
possessing a chosen country,
with room enough for our descendants
to the thousandth and thousandth generation,
entertaining a due sense of our equal right
to the use of our own faculties,
to the acquisitions of our own industry,
to honor and confidence from our fellow citizens,
resulting not from birth, but from our actions
and their sense of them enlightened by a benign religion,
professed indeed and practiced in various forms,
yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth,
temperance, gratitude and the love of man,
acknowledging and adoring an overruling providence,
which by all its dispensations proves that
it delights in the happiness of man here,
and his greater happiness hereafter;
with all these blessings, what more is necessary
to make us a happy and a prosperous people?
Still one thing more, fellow citizens,
a wise and frugal government,
which shall restrain men from injuring one another,
shall leave them otherwise free to regulate
their own pursuits of industry and improvement,
and shall not take from the mouth of labor
the bread it has earned.
This is the sum of good government;
and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.
   About to enter, fellow citizens, on the exercise of duties
which comprehend every thing dear and valuable to you,
it is proper you should understand what
I deem the essential principles of our government,
and consequently those which
ought to shape its administration.
I will compress them within the narrowest compass
they will bear, stating the general principle,
but not all its limitations.—
Equal and exact justice to all men,
of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political:—
peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations,
entangling alliances with none:—
the support of the state governments in all their rights,
as the most competent administrations
for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks
against anti-republican tendencies:—
the preservation of the General government
in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor
of our peace at home, and safety abroad:
a jealous care of the right of election by the people,
a mild and safe corrective of abuses
which are lopped by the sword of revolution
where peaceable remedies are unprovided:—
absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority,
the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal
but to force, the vital principle
and immediate parent of the despotism:—
a well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace,
and for the first moments of war,
till regulars may relieve them:—
the supremacy of the civil over the military authority:—
economy in the public expense,
that labor may be lightly burdened:—
the honest payment of our debts
and sacred preservation of the public faith:—
encouragement of agriculture,
and of commerce as its handmaid:—
the diffusion of information,
and arraignment of all abuses
at the bar of the public reason:—
freedom of religion; freedom of the press;
and freedom of person,
under the protection of the Habeas Corpus:—
and trial by juries impartially selected.
These principles form the bright constellation,
which has gone before us and guided our steps
through an age of revolution and reformation.
The wisdom of our sages, and blood of our heroes
have been devoted to their attainment:—
they should be the creed of our political faith;
the text of civic instruction, the touchstone
by which to try the services of those we trust;
and should we wander from them
in moments of error or of alarm,
let us hasten to retrace our steps,
and to regain the road which alone
leads to peace, liberty and safety….
The approbation implied by your suffrage,
is a great consolation to me for the past;
and my future solicitude will be, to retain the good opinion
of those who have bestowed it in advance,
to conciliate that of others by doing them
all the good in my power,
and to be instrumental to the happiness and freedom of all.
   Relying then on the patronage of your good will,
I advance with obedience to the work,
ready to retire from it whenever you become sensible
how much better choices it is in your power to make.
And may that infinite power,
which rules the destinies of the universe,
lead our councils to what is best,
and give them a favorable issue
for your peace and prosperity.6

      On March 6 Jefferson wrote to John Dickinson his hope for consolidating their revolution.

A just and solid republican government maintained here,
will be a standing monument & example
for the aim & imitation of the people of other countries;
and I join with you in the hope and belief
that they will see, from our example,
that a free government is of all others the most energetic;
that the inquiry which has been excited among
the mass of mankind by our revolution & its consequences
will ameliorate the condition of man
over a great portion of the globe.
What a satisfaction have we in the contemplation
of the benevolent effects of our efforts,
compared with those of the leaders on the other side,
who have discountenanced all advances
in science as dangerous innovations,
have endeavored to render philosophy
and republicanism terms of reproach,
to persuade us that man cannot be governed
but by the rod, &c.7

      Like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, Thomas Jefferson believed that the entire art of government consisted of being honest. He was concerned that reason without feelings could be miserable because it lacked “benevolence, justice, sympathy, and friendship.” He praised Indians for their loyalty to friends and found that such sentiments led to the love of humanity. For Jefferson human rights are “gifts of God,” and he believed that God punishing injustice was the basis of morality. He held that believing in the law of God is the safest foundation for liberty. He came to accept immigration because he wanted America to be a refuge for victims of oppression. On March 18 Jefferson in a letter to Thomas Paine wrote,

Determined as we are to avoid, if possible,
wasting the energies of our people in war and destruction,
we shall avoid implicating ourselves with the Powers of Europe,
even in support of principles which we mean to pursue.
They have so many other interests different from ours
that we must avoid being entangled in them.
We believe we can enforce those principles as to ourselves
by peaceable means, now that we are likely
to have our public councils detached from foreign views.8

      A few days later Jefferson wrote to the newly elected US Senator Dr. George Logan, a peacemaker from Pennsylvania, how he planned how they could enforce against other nations “principles as to ourselves by peaceable means. He wrote,

Our commerce is so valuable to them,
that they will be glad to purchase it,
when the only price we ask is to do us justice.
I believe we have in our own hands
the means of peaceable coercion;
and that the moment they see our government
so united as that we can make use of it,
they will for their own interest be disposed to do us justice.9

      On September 9 Jefferson wrote about principles to Robert R. Livingston whom he appointed Minister of France and who had been Chancellor of New York for 24 years.

Shall two nations turning tigers, break up in one instant
the peaceable relations of the whole world?
Reason and nature clearly pronounce that
the neutral is to go on in the enjoyment of all its rights,
that its commerce remains free,
not subject to the jurisdiction of another,
nor consequently its vessels to search,
or to enquiries whether their contents
are the property of an enemy,
or are of those which have been called contraband of war….
   Although I consider the observance of these principles
as of great importance to the interests of peaceable nations,
among whom I hope the United States will ever place themselves,
yet in the present state of things they are not worth a war,
nor do I believe war the most certain means of enforcing them.
Those peaceable coercions which are in the power of every nation,
if undertaken in concert and in time of peace,
are more likely to produce the desired effect.10

Jefferson Administration 1801-02

      The only cabinet officials remaining from the Adams administration were the Secretary of the Treasury Samuel Dexter of Massachusetts and Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert of Maryland. Jefferson immediately nominated James Madison to replace Marshall as Secretary of State, and he was quickly confirmed by the Senate; but he did not arrive in Washington for a few weeks. Marshall continued in that office for a while and neglected to send out 42 commissions of justices of the peace for the District of Columbia whom Adams had appointed in his last days. Jefferson resented that Adams appointed so many judges and officials after losing the election and never once appointed a Republican to be a judge. Jefferson instructed Madison not to deliver the commissions. They cut expenses by closing all the American foreign legations except they kept on the Federalist Rufus King in London and Robert R. Livingston in Paris. He appointed Charles Pinckney as minister to Spain.
      Albert Gallatin was nominated as Secretary of the Treasury, but his difficult confirmation was postponed to the next season. He began his duties after moving his family from southwestern Pennsylvania. Jefferson chose Levi Lincoln who had been elected to the House of Representatives from Worcester, Massachusetts, to be Attorney General, and he also acted temporarily as Secretary of State. The President selected Henry Dearborn from Maine in Massachusetts to run the War Department, and Benjamin Stoddert agreed to stay on as Navy Secretary. Several people rejected the nomination for the Navy until Samuel Smith of Maryland agreed to replace the weary Stoddert temporarily. Then he was replaced on July 15 by his brother Robert Smith, a lawyer from Baltimore.

      Jefferson wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush on March 24 that out of 700 clerks and assistants chosen by presidential appointees and 3,000 in the Post Office Department he was only removing about 20 federal officials out of the 316 civilian employees subject to presidential appointment and removal. Yet Theodore Dwight and other Federalists in Connecticut complained when he replaced the Collector from New Haven. Republican George Clinton was elected Governor of New York. He and young DeWitt Clinton and Ambrose Spencer of the Council replaced many state officers. Jefferson liked the Clintons even less than Vice President Aaron Burr. Jefferson spent the months of April, August, and September at his Monticello home in Virginia.
      Gallatin arrived in Washington on May 13. He was ready with a plan to reduce the national debt, though they also wanted to reduce taxes. He complained that under Hamilton about $10 million had been unnecessarily added to the $80 million debt through corruption and incompetence. Gallatin was the most qualified Republican and had created the House Ways and Means Committee to supervise public expenditures. As a former leader in the House he was a natural liaison with House Republicans. Government revenue for the year was expected to be $9,950,000, and he wanted to apply $7,300,000 to pay interest and principal on the debt each year for 16 years to pay off what was owed by the year 1817. He hoped to reduce the army budget to $930,000 and the Navy to $670,000. The Federalists had spent $6,000,000 on them in 1799 preparing to fight France. The Army was needed for frontier forts but was reduced to 3,000 men, and they raised the reduced expense for both Army and Navy to $1,900,000. Jefferson believed that the vital interest of maintaining commerce with America and its harbors would encourage every nation to be at peace with them. The Republicans ended most of the internal taxes such as the hated excise, carriage, and direct property taxes that the Federalists had passed in 1798. Now about 90% of all revenues came from duties on imports.
      Jefferson’s cabinet assembled in October. On December 7 the House of Representatives elected the Republican Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina as Speaker over the Federalist candidate James Bayard of Delaware by a vote of 53-26. The next day President Jefferson sent the first of his annual messages in writing to the Congress. He began by expressing gratification “that the wars and troubles which have for so many years afflicted our sister nations have at length come to an end, and that the communications of peace and commerce are once more opening among them.”
      Because Tripoli had made “unfounded” demands Jefferson sent “a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean, with assurances to that power of our since desire to remain in peace, but with orders to protect our commerce against the threatened attack.”11
      The President also reported that the 1800 Census had found that the population had doubled, and he noted that the American population would likely double again in the next 22 years. He hoped that would enable them to settle their extensive country. He promised they would dispense with internal taxes. Paying off the national debt depended on avoiding wars. A sinking fund was established to pay down the national debt. They had already reduced it from about $83 million to under $81 million. Abolishing the internal taxes reduced the patronage of the federal government. Jefferson confirmed his policy of limited government by writing, “Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.”12
      The Republicans also tried to repeal the mint, but the Senate would not go along. On December 18 the Virginians submitted a fugitive-slave bill that would force employers to advertise hiring of a strange Negro and require free Africans to carry their certificates of freedom; but the House rejected it 46-43 one month later. Naturalization was changed from 14 years back to a residency requirement of 5 years. An apportionment act added House members by fixing the ratio for seats to one per 33,000 citizens.
      In late 1801 the French led by General Victor E. Leclerc occupied Cap Français in St. Domingue, and in February 1802 he seized 20 American ships in that port. Jefferson through his friend Pierre S. Du Pont de Nemours warned the French that taking over Louisiana would have consequences and would cause the Americans to become allied with Britain.
      The Canadian trader Alexander Mackenzie had become the first European to cross North America north of Mexico in 1792-93, and the publication in 1801 about his expedition stimulated Jefferson’s interest in the west. The President’s private secretary, Meriwether Lewis, had been a captain in the army, and he had volunteered to lead an expedition in 1793 for Jefferson that never occurred. Lewis recommended his army friend William Clark, younger brother of the famous George Rogers Clark, who had turned down Jefferson’s request to lead an expedition.

      Jefferson let Rufus King continue as the minister to England, and he continued the negotiation started by John Marshall to settle the private debts of Americans to British creditors. They agreed to the United States paying £600,000, and the convention was signed in January 1802.
      In his first case Chief Justice Marshall and the Supreme Court decided in Talbot v. Seeman that Captain Silas Talbot had a right to capture the Amelia because, even though Congress had not declared war, the United States was at war against France which armed and controlled the ship. Thus Talbot had just cause to believe that the Amelia was French though it was actually owned by the neutral citizens of Hamburg. Because the capture was legal the owner had a right to compensation for meritorious service. In United States v. Schooner Peggy the Chief Justice argued that because the Constitution made treaties the “supreme law of the land,” they bound the courts as much as an act of Congress. Thus the Court ordered this vessel returned to France.
      President Adams had appointed William Marbury to be a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia; but he had not received his commission because Jefferson believed the appointments Adams made at the very end of his term were nullities. In December 1801 Marbury asked the Supreme Court to order Secretary of State Madison to give him his commission, and the Court ordered Madison to show just cause why he should not.

      Republicans objected to the two judiciary acts passed by the Federalists in 1789 and February 1801 because they usurped jurisdiction from the states. The latter act had added eighteen circuit judges, and Federalists were appointed in the last days of the Adams administration. Virginia Republicans believed in the maxim, “The government shall not be the final judge of its own powers.” On 8 January 1802 Senator Breckinridge of Kentucky proposed repealing the Judiciary Act of 1801, but on January 27 Vice President Burr broke a tie in the Senate and recommitted the bill to a committee. The repeal bill passed the Senate 16-15 on February 3 and was debated in the House the next day. William Branch Giles of Virginia argued the new courts were not needed and that they would damage state courts. The Federalist James Bayard argued that the Constitution made the judges independent of the legislature, and he accused Jefferson of making Charles Pinckney minister to Spain and giving positions to others in gratitude for their turning against Burr in the 1801 election. John Randolph of Virginia also believed that interfering with the judiciary was unconstitutional. Yet Republicans passed the repeal on March 3 and stopped the Supreme Court from meeting for 14 months so that they would not rule the repeal unconstitutional.

      The Army was limited to three regiments with 3,350 men, and on 16 March 1802 Jefferson approved a bill that established a corps of engineers at West Point in New York in a military academy. On April 24 Congress fixed the western border of Georgia, and on the 30th they passed the act enabling Ohio to enter the Union as the 17th state. Gallatin managed to get included a contract that Ohio would provide public land for schools and roads. People in Ohio wrote a constitution which prohibited slavery and allowed Negroes to vote, and on 19 February 19,1803 Jefferson signed the bill that approved the borders and constitution of Ohio; but in 1804 Ohio passed the first “black laws” that restricted the movement of Negroes. Organization of the southwestern territory that would later become the states of Alabama and Mississippi enabled Jefferson to implement his humane policy toward the Indians there.
      Hoping to win over New England Federalists, Jefferson appointed Gideon Granger of Connecticut as Postmaster-General, but he irritated them by writing a letter to Thomas Paine, offering to give him free passage to America on the Navy ship Maryland. In a letter to a friend in May 1802 Jefferson predicted that after the Federalists were won over, the Republicans would eventually split into Whig and Tory parties as in England. After he refused to appoint James Thompson Callender to run the Richmond post office, this rabid Republican editor turned against Jefferson and began exposing his secrets such as his having children by a slave named Sally Hemings and for having written a secret love-letter to the wife of Major Walker. The story of Sally he called an “African Venus” was published in a series of articles in September and October in the Richmond Recorder and was distributed by Federalist newspapers. Some described Sally as nearly white and good-looking, and she served as housekeeper at Monticello.

      Jefferson sent his second annual message to Congress on December 15 without mentioning the threats of war. Yet a French army at New Orleans would change America’s foreign relations. Du Pont believed the French would cede New Orleans and West Florida for $6 million. Revenues estimated to be $9,500,000 for 1802 turned out to be the largest so far at $12,280,000. Not counting interest on the debt, spending in 1802 was $8,100,000. Republicans did very well in the 1802 elections giving them majorities of 25 to 9 in the Senate and 103 to 39 in the House of Representatives. In 1802 six counties in North Carolina reported slave conspiracies, and Tom Cooper led an uprising in Elizabeth County in May; fifteen slaves may have been executed. In Virginia slaves were punished for alleged insurrections in nine counties.

America’s Naval War in North Africa

      In 1800 the Dey Bobba Mustafa of Algiers had ordered Captain Bainbridge to put his frigate under Algerine colors and take an embassy to the Grand Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The four Barbary powers of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli were engaged in demanding ransoms for piracy or protection money. In the past ten years the United States had made treaties with all four and had paid them more than $2 million. In July the Tripoli captured the New York brig Catherine and its cargo worth $50,000, but the Pasha Yusuf Karamanli released the ship, crew, and cargo in October with the warning that if he did not get a treaty within six months, he would be at war against the United States. That month Bainbridge lowered the Algerian flag and put up the stars and stripes on the George Washington while sailing to Istanbul.
      After he made a treaty with Sweden, Tripoli’s Yusuf Karamanli on 3 January 1801 warned Americans again of war. On the 18th the George Washington returned to Algiers, and the Dey had new demands. On March 9 President Jefferson consulted his cabinet about sending a naval squadron to the Mediterranean. The George Washington returned to Philadelphia on April 19, and Captain Bainbridge reported to the President in Washington. William Eaton and others urged stronger action. Yusuf of Tripoli had received $83,000, but his demand for $225,000 plus $25,000 a year was refused on May 14. He declared war by having the consular flag cut down.
      The acting Navy Secretary Samuel Smith sent Commodore Richard Dale and four ships, and they sailed from Virginia on June 2. On their way to Malta they destroyed a Tripolitan corsair. Their mission was to blockade Tripoli and intercept pirate ships. President Jefferson sent a letter of friendship and $10,000 cash to be delivered if Yusuf rescinded his declaration of war. When Pasha Yusuf was defiant, Dale reminded him that their 1797 treaty called for mediation by Algiers; but Tripoli resented this clause. After Dale blockaded Tripoli, the Pasha submitted. On the high seas the Enterprise commanded by Lt. Sterrett on August 1 defeated the Tripoli. Dale’s men lacked fresh food, and 152 sailors became seriously ill. Dale left Tripoli on September 3, and his ships blockaded Morocco’s Meshuda.
      On 2 February 1802 Congress acknowledged that Tripoli had declared war against the United States and passed a law to protect commerce and American sailors, empowering the President to use the US Navy and to commission privateers. Pasha Yusuf Karamanli sought allies by sending an emissary to Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco. Sultan Mawlay Sulayman of Morocco asked for passports to bring the Meshuda to Tangiers, but the Mediterranean squadron’s commander, Commodore Richard Valentine Morris, refused to let the consul James Simpson issue them. On June 25 Morocco declared war on the United States. Eight days before that, corsairs had seized the Franklin, giving Tripoli its first American prisoners. In 1802 Tripoli got $158,000 from Sweden plus $40,000 each from Holland and Denmark. United States Navy expenditures that year were reduced by more than half to $915,000.
      Early in 1803 Navy Secretary Robert Smith asked Congress for $108,000 for four small warships and eight gunboats, and they appropriated $146,000 for those and up to fifteen gunboats. On January 15 the Enterprise captured the Tunisian ship Paulina. The American consul William Eaton in Tunis had Morris bring three ships to Tunis on February 22. Six days later Congress authorized $96,000 to build or acquire four ships. Morris reached Algiers on March 19 and Gibraltar on the 23rd. William Eaton and James Cathcart left the squadron. Cathcart had been captured in 1785 and spent eleven years as a slave in Algiers and became the secretary to the Dey before being freed in the 1796 treaty. He became Eaton’s assistant in December 1798 and in 1802 was appointed consul to Tunis and Tripoli. Secretary of State Madison wrote to Cathcart on April 9 to inform him that President Jefferson wanted him to take action. Madison authorized him to give Karamanli up to $20,000 cash and $10,000 a year. Payments to Bey Hamuda Pasha of Tunis were not to exceed $10,000 a year.
      John Rodgers commanded the USS John Adams and captured the Meshuda on May 18. Commodore Morris moved the squadron to Tripoli, and on June 1 American sailors and marines made their first amphibious landing on a hostile shore. They fought more than a thousand Tripolitans and had 14 men wounded. On June 7 Morris went ashore and talked with a minister who demanded $200,000 and $20,000 a year, and Morris was almost captured before leaving. He left Tripoli on June 10 to join his wife at Malta. The Adams and the Enterprize maintained the blockade at Tripoli. Morris was relieved of command on June 21 and later was court-martialed for not blockading Tripoli for many months. The next day Rodgers on the Adams defeated Tripolitan gunboats, and he was given command of the squadron. Captain Edward Preble’s orders became operational on July 14, and he reached Gibraltar on the Constitution on September 14.
      The 38-gun Philadelphia arrived at Tripoli on 7 October 1803 but was left unprotected, ran aground, and was captured with its 307 men on October 31. On 16 February 1804 Lt. Stephen Decatur on the Intrepid led a surprise attack that managed to destroy the Philadelphia in the Tripoli harbor while killing 33 Tripolitans and not losing one man. On March 19 President Jefferson learned only that the Philadelphia had been captured, and the next day he asked Congress to increase American forces in the Mediterranean. On the 26th the Senate increased import duties 2.5% to raise $900,000 to send another squadron against the Barbary pirates. Richard O’Brien landed at Tunis on April 24 and negotiated with Bey Hamuda Pasha, agreeing on the 29th to pay $5,000 in reparations and an annuity of $8,000 in addition to earlier stipulations.
      Commodore Edward Preble was given command of a squadron and had the Constitution with its 44 guns refit. He commanded more than a thousand men in a force with about 150 guns that attacked Tripoli on August 3. They returned to the harbor four days later and maintained a blockade during the summer that stopped piracy from Morocco to Tripoli for the first time in years, though attacks on August 24 and 28 did little. Preble attacked Tripoli again on September 3 and 4. Commodore Samuel Barron arrived with four frigates and took command on the 10th, and three days later he secretly approved Eaton’s plan to support Ahmad Karamanli. Barron suffered from liver disease and nearly died.
      Emperor Sulayman of Morocco arrived at Tangiers on October 4 with 2,500 cavalry, giving them more than 10,000 cavalry there. The next day Preble’s squadron sailed into the harbor. Preble and Consul General Tobias Lear negotiated a treaty with Morocco on October 11.
      William Eaton had served as consul at Tunis from 1797 until the war against Tripoli broke out in 1801. He disagreed with Jefferson’s peace policy but returned as the naval agent to the Mediterranean in March 1804. On September 5 he arrived at Malta, and on November 14 Barron ordered the Argus to take Eaton to Alexandria. He reached Cairo on December 8 to support Ahmad Karamanli whom he considered the rightful ruler of Tripoli.

      On 8 January 1805 Jefferson and his cabinet resolved not to pay a dollar for peace, though they would ransom prisoners. After Jefferson, Madison, and Smith approved Eaton’s plan to restore Ahmad, they collected about 500 men and began the march of 520 miles on March 6, reaching Bomba on April 17. They found no American ships there but continued on toward Derne which was defended by a garrison of 800 men. Eaton sent the governor a flag of truce which was rebuffed. Yusuf Karamanli proposed peace terms on April 21, but Tobias Lear and Barron rejected them. One week later the cruisers Nautilus, Argus, and Hornet joined Eaton in an attack that drove out the governor and the garrison from Derne. Eaton was wounded in the wrist, but the ships’ guns protected his men from being massacred by the Tripolitans led by Hassan Agha on May 13. They were still almost 700 miles from Tripoli, and Ahmad did get the popular support he had anticipated.
      Samuel Barron resigned his command on May 22 and was replaced by John Rodgers. On the 26th three frigates sailed into Tripoli harbor. Tobias Lear was the American consul-general at Algiers, and on June 3 he negotiated a peace that ransomed the crew of 307 men from the Philadelphia for the exchange of 81 Tripolitan prisoners and $60,000. Ahmad Karamanli was abandoned. On July 30 the United States sent 18 Navy ships with 2,500 men to Tunis Bay. Jefferson did not learn of the Tripoli treaty until September 6, and the United States Senate did not ratify it until 12 April 1806.

Louisiana Purchase & Exploration

      Imperial Spain was a problem for American expansion because of their extensive colonies south and west of the United States, and Spain expected them to trade only with the mother country. Spain to Americans represented tyranny, religious bigotry, and political corruption—all enemies of Jefferson whose motto was “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience unto God.” Yet the Spaniards had to deal with Napoleon and the French, and Jefferson considered the Spaniards more favorable to American interests. New Orleans was the key port. Jefferson noted that the produce of three-eighths of the United States passed through there to market.
      Napoleon Bonaparte agreed to omit the second article of the Morfontaine Treaty the Senate had excluded in its ratification if both nations renounced their claims mentioned in that article. Jefferson sent the revised treaty to the Senate which confirmed it on 19 December 1801. The French secretly bought the Floridas and Louisiana from Spain, but Foreign Minister Talleyrand denied it, making Jefferson and Secretary of State Madison angry. On 18 April 1802 Jefferson wrote to Robert Livingston in Paris expressing his concern about the danger of the French occupying Louisiana; but this could be prevented if they would cede New Orleans and the Floridas to the United States. He considered this the greatest threat to the United States since the Revolutionary War. During the summer Livingston wrote to Madison that the old French maps showed the Perdido River as the boundary between Florida and Louisiana. In early October 1802 Jefferson told Livingston that the French occupation of Louisiana was not worth breaking the peace. A week later the Spanish intendant Juan Morales closed the port of New Orleans to American commerce. In late November the President unofficially asked the Spanish minister Carlos Martinez de Yrujo if Spain would “take it badly” if the United States sent a small expedition to explore the Missouri River.
      Congress met in secret sessions, and on 11 January 1803 General Samuel Smith of Maryland proposed appropriating $2 million for expenses related to foreign nations. The next day a committee led by Joseph Nicholson recommended purchasing West Florida and New Orleans. On January 18 Jefferson secretly asked Congress to appropriate $2,500 for an expedition to explore the Missouri River and to the Pacific Ocean while making friends with the Indians. This was to include $696 to buy presents for the Indians. The previous week the President had requested $9,375,000 to purchase New Orleans. His diplomacy was to “palliate and endure.” The President appointed James Monroe to go to France to see about obtaining the territory east of the Mississippi including New Orleans for up to $10 million, and after being confirmed by the Senate he sailed from New York on March 9. He helped negotiate the Louisiana treaty at Paris in April and May. The legislatures of New York, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania resolved to risk everything to maintain the dignity and rights of the United States. Jefferson considered use of the Mississippi River indispensable. Madison wanted the 1795 treaty with Spain respected, and Talleyrand had promised that France would do that.
      Early in 1803 Governor William Claiborne of the Mississippi Territory had informed Jefferson that they had about 500 regular troops and about 2,000 militia of which only 600 would be needed to take New Orleans from the Spanish. Napoleon apparently did not want the Louisiana territory returned to Spain and surprised the Americans by suggesting the sale of the vast territory west of the Mississippi River. On April 11 France’s Foreign Minister Talleyrand asked if the United States would like to buy the entire province of Louisiana, and on May 2 the American minister Robert R. Livingston and Napoleon’s Finance Minister François de Barbé-Marbois signed an agreement for its sale to the United States for $15 million. The United States would pay France $11,250,000 in 6% stock redeemable after fifteen years and would assume the claims of American citizens against France in the amount of $3,750,000, about half of what had been previously expected. The convention on the American claims took a few more days, and all the agreements were back-dated to April 30. The treaty gave French and Spanish ships special privileges in the port of New Orleans for twelve years.
      On June 3 Jefferson sent a letter to Meriwether Lewis asking him to explore the Missouri River and across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. News of the French treaty on Louisiana reached the President in Washington on July 3, and the National Intelligencer published it the next day amid the celebrations of Independence Day. Five days later the same paper editorialized, “We have secured our rights by pacific means: truth and reason have been more powerful than the sword.”13 The treaty was to be ratified within six months, and Congress was called to meet on October 17. Although the Jefferson administration had only authorized offering up to about $10 million, they were glad to accept the deal for so much territory. Most of West Florida was included to the Perdido River. The boundaries of the Louisiana cession stretched from the Gulf of Mexico up to the headwaters of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers containing 828,000 square miles, doubling the size of the United States.
      Jefferson wrote in August 1803 to John Breckinridge in confidence about his concern that adding territory to the United States may not be constitutional, and he prepared the following amendment: “Louisiana, as ceded by France to the United States, is made a part of the United States.” On September 12 Attorney General Levi Lincoln urged the President to defend the constitutionality of the purchase. Tom Paine wrote a letter to Jefferson on the 23rd in which he argued that the cession did not require any alteration in the Constitution because extending the territory of the United States was always contemplated. Federalists were concerned that western territory would add Republican states, and they opposed the acquisition.
      The Spanish minister Casa Yrujo sent an objection to Madison that the United States would be receiving stolen property, but on October 4 the cabinet decided they would take New Orleans by force if the Spaniards refused to let the Americans have it peacefully. On October 20 all the Republican senators and one Federalist voted for the treaty that was approved 24-7. Two days later Senator Breckinridge introduced a bill authorizing the President to occupy with armed forces the territory ceded by France, and it passed 26-6. The Congress nearly unanimously approved accepting the Louisiana territory into the Union under the treaty-making power granted by the Constitution. This decision marked a change in the Republican policy from interpreting the Constitution by a “strict construction.” On October 31 Jefferson signed the enabling act and sent documents and instructions by post riders to officials in the Mississippi Territory and New Orleans.
      James Monroe became minister to Britain and stayed in London from July 18 until October 8 when he left a secretary in charge and departed for Paris and Madrid. Livingston in Paris told Monroe that Barbé-Marbois proposed that the United States could purchase the two Floridas from France for 60 million francs; but the Comte d’Hauterive told Monroe that Spain had to cede the territory, and the United States would have to pay them. Monroe left for Madrid on December 8. While he was en route, Talleyrand clarified that France’s position was that Spain owned the Floridas, and he urged Napoleon to take a hard line. By Christmas the President learned that the Spaniards had transferred Louisiana to the French on November 30. On December 14 Spain allied with France by declaring war against England, and on 4 January 1805 they signed a secret treaty in which France promised to guarantee Spain’s territory in Europe and the return of their colonies in the current war. Jefferson learned in the middle of January that General James Wilkinson and 450 American soldiers by December 20 had taken over New Orleans from the French.
      In March 1804 the Governance Act recognized that federal agents had been governing Louisiana since December. In May the people of Louisiana remonstrated against the political system adopted by Congress for them, and Edward Livingston wrote a petition for representative government, noting that the governor, his council, and the supreme court had all been appointed by President Jefferson and complaining that they were deprived of the right of election. On the 30th Jefferson ordered a Mobile revenue district with Fort Stoddert as its port. At first Congress did not give the Territory of New Orleans the rights to vote and jury trials, but the initial legislation that went into effect on 1 October 1804 was intended to last for only one year. Claiborne was inducted as Governor the next day, but he did not form a council until December 4. He appointed judges who knew only American law, and he was the court of last resort without even an attorney to advise him.
      The people of Louisiana remonstrated by presenting two petitions to the Congress. On 2 March 1805 the Congress authorized the people of Louisiana to elect 25 representatives to a General Assembly and gave the people of New Orleans all the rights of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. When the population would reach 60,000 free inhabitants, they could apply for admission into the Union; but this could not be established until the 1810 census was taken. On 11 March 1805 Jefferson appointed General James Wilkinson Governor of the Louisiana Territory, but the Senate did not consent to it until 27 January 1806. Neither Claiborne nor Wilkinson knew any French or Spanish, and both became very unpopular. Claiborne reported to Madison that many people believed that the territory west of the Mississippi would be ceded back to Spain. In 1806 the Code Noir divided the people of Louisiana legally into whites and non-whites who had no rights.

      Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led an expedition called the Corps of Discovery that began from St. Louis on 14 May 1804. Lewis acquired hundreds of brooches, rings, earrings, beads, mirrors, and knives to give to the Otos, Omahas, Missouris, Sioux, Pawnees, Poncas, Arikaras, and other tribes they met along the way. Jefferson instructed them to be friendly and conciliatory, and they received hospitality that included food, presents, and “temporary wives.” The expedition with 33 men traveled up the Missouri River 1,609 miles and camped near Mandan villages in October in what is now North Dakota. Lewis and Clark instilled discipline by using courts martial and up to 100 lashes on the back. They built a fort and spent the winter there. In April 1805 they sent their keelboat back with some men and a report.
      On April 7 the Corps of 33 men set out in six canoes and two pirogues up the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains. They were guided by the Shoshone woman Sacagawea and her husband Toussaint Charbonnneau. They reached the Nez Percé Indians on the Clearwater River on September 22 by what became the Idaho border. From there they built canoes and went down the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia rivers, reaching the Pacific Ocean on November 7. They began their return journey in March 1806 and spent a month with the Nez Percé waiting for snow to melt. They crossed the Rockies again and explored the Marias and Yellowstone rivers. Blackfoot Indians tried to steal their horses and had two men killed. They left Sacagawea and her family with the Mandans and arrived in St. Louis on September 23. They found 178 new plants and 122 species and subspecies of animals and kept records of them. Despite the many dangers they faced and venereal disease suffered, only one of their men died, probably from appendicitis. Lewis shared the fruits of the expedition with Jefferson at the White House on 10 January 1807, and he planted some of the seeds and specimens at Monticello. In 1807 Jefferson appointed Clark a brigadier general in the Louisiana Territory and the agent for Indian affairs.

      In the summer of 1805 Governor James Wilkinson sent Lt. Zebulon Pike with 19 soldiers to find the source of the Mississippi River. They left from St. Louis and by October 16 had gone 233 miles beyond the Falls of Saint Anthony where they built a winter station. Pike held a council with the Sioux at those falls and persuaded them to grant 100,000 acres in that area, but he was unable to get the Sioux and the Chippewas to make peace. Some of his men went farther north on sleds in December and reached the British trading post by Sandy Lake on 8 January 1806. He informed the British and Indians that they were in the territory of the United States. Pike began the return journey on February 18 and arrived at St. Louis on April 30.
      On 24 June 1806 Governor Wilkinson ordered Captain Zebulon Pike to find the source of the Red River. His expedition with 20 soldiers left the St. Louis area on July 15 following the Missouri and Osage rivers and took 50 Osage hostages back to their people a month later. Pike went west along the Republican River and reached a Pawnee village on September 29. From there he turned south and came to the Arkansas River on October 14. The Governor’s son, Lt. James Biddle Wilkinson, led a group down the Arkansas to the Mississippi and back up to St. Louis while Pike led the others upstream to the source of the Arkansas River. On November 15 Pike named a high mountain “Grand Peak,” but it soon came to be known as Pike’s Peak. Pike tried to get to the headwaters of the Red River but could not find it and went up the Platte River. Some fatigued men were left behind, and Pike’s group reached the Rio Grande on 30 January 1807. Spaniards captured Pike and his men near Santa Fe on February 26. They were taken to the capital at Chihuahua and were released at San Antonio before returning to Louisiana at Natchitoches on July 1.
      Jefferson chose the scientists Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis and Captain Richard Sparks to lead an expedition in the Spanish territory looking for the source of the Red River. They left Fort Adams near Natchez on 19 April 1806 and were joined by 21 more soldiers along the way. They went 615 miles up the Red River by July 28 when they encountered Spanish troops. To provoke a confrontation Governor Wilkinson of the Louisiana Territory had secretly notified Spain which sent two contingents of soldiers. Freeman negotiated with the Spanish commander and followed Jefferson’s order to avoid violence, agreeing to turn back the next day. The naturalist Custis made pioneering discoveries.

Jefferson & Indian Issues

      On 8 December 1801 President Jefferson in his first annual message to Congress wrote,

Among our Indian neighbors, also,
a spirit of peace and friendship generally prevailing
and I am happy to inform you that
the continued efforts to introduce among them
the implements and the practice of husbandry,
and of the household arts, have not been without success;
that they are becoming more and more sensible
of the superiority of this dependence for clothing and subsistence
over the precarious resources of hunting and fishing;
and already we are able to announce,
that instead of that constant diminution of their numbers,
produced by their wars and their wants,
some of them begin to experience an increase of population.14

      Jefferson in his third annual message to Congress on 17 October 1803 noted that they had acquired from the friendly Kaskaskias territory from the mouth of the Illinois at the Mississippi up the Ohio. He wrote,

   Another important acquisition of territory
has also been made since the last session of Congress.
The friendly tribe of Kaskaskia Indians
with which we have never had a difference,
reduced by the wars and wants of savage life
to a few individuals unable to defend themselves
against the neighboring tribes,
has transferred its country to the United States,
reserving only for its members
what is sufficient to maintain them in an agricultural way.
The considerations stipulated are,
that we shall extend to them our patronage and protection,
and give them certain annual aids in money,
in implements of agriculture, and other articles of their choice….
   With many other Indian tribes, improvements in agriculture
and household manufacture are advancing,
and with all our peace and friendship are established
on grounds much firmer than heretofore.
The measure adopted of establishing trading houses
among them, and of furnishing them necessaries
in exchange for their commodities,
at such moderated prices as leave no gain, but cover us from loss,
has the most conciliatory and useful effect upon them,
and is that which will best secure their peace and good will.15

      Jefferson also noted in his fourth annual message to Congress on 8 November 1804 that the United States had acquired from the Delaware Indians the territory between the Wabash and Ohio rivers, consolidating the land north of the Ohio from Lake Erie to the Mississippi.
      Return Jonathan Meigs had been a colonel in the Revolutionary War, and in 1801 he became the agent to the Cherokee Nation in Tennessee. In 1804 he negotiated the Wafford Settlement in northeast Georgia for $5,000 and annuities of $1,000, and the next year he helped Secretary of War Dearborn purchase land north of the Tennessee River in Tennessee and Kentucky for annuities of $15,600 and $3,000. Another treaty completed in December 1806 with Chickamaugas upset conservative Cherokees who complained that their National Council had not consented. In June 1807 Chief Doublehead was executed or murdered for treason.
      Gideon Blackburn was a Presbyterian minister from Maryville, Tennessee, and he raised money to start a school for Cherokee boys in the Overhills country of Tennessee in 1804. They began with 21 children, and in July 1805 the students showed Governor Sevier and others what they had learned, impressing the former Indian-hater that they had become civilized. In the fall of 1808 Blackburn persuaded the Cherokees to reform their laws by replacing revenge and executions with a system of trials by evidence. After Blackburn became superintendent of two mission schools, a deputation of Cherokees asked President Jefferson to let Cherokees become citizens of the United States. Jefferson suggested that if the Cherokee minority could not agree on the Nation’s division, they could move west of the Mississippi. In 1808 about 1,130 Chickamaugas did move to what is now Arkansas.
      In the summer of 1805 many chiefs and warriors of the Six Nations gathered at Buffalo Creek in New York with Reverend Cram of the Boston Missionary Society. The Seneca Chief Red Jacket gave an eloquent oration explaining that they relate to the Great Spirit in their own way and complaining how the land was taken over by the white people. He said they were thankful for the favors they received and would love each other to be united and never quarrel about religion. The white people wanted more land, and they brought strong liquor that killed thousands. He said they took their country but were not satisfied and wanted to force their religion on them. The Six Nations did not want to destroy their brothers’ religion, but they wanted to keep their own. They would wait and see what effect the preaching of the white men had on their neighbors. If they find that it makes them good and honest and less inclined to cheat Indians, then they would consider what the missionaries were offering.
      William Henry Harrison governed the Indiana Territory from January 1801 to December 1812. He made treaties with the Miamis, Eel Rivers, Weas, Piankeshaws, and Delawares in 1804 and 1805, and these were resented by the better Indians in the territory. In Jefferson’s fourth annual message to Congress in November 1804 he wrote,

The functions of the governor and judges of Indiana
having commenced, the government,
we presume is preceding in its new form.
The lead mines in that district offer so rich a supply
of that metal as to merit attention….
   With the Indian tribes established
within our newly acquired limits,
I have deemed it necessary to open conferences
for the purpose of establishing a good understanding
and neighborly relations between us.
So far as we have yet learned, we have reason
to believe that their dispositions on their part,
we have in our own hands means which
can not fail us for preserving their peace and friendship.
By pursuing an uniform course of justice toward them,
by aiding them in all the improvements
which may better their condition,
and especially by establishing a commerce on terms which
shall be advantageous to them and only not losing to us,
and so regulated as that no incendiaries of our own
or any other nation may be permitted to disturb
the natural effects of our just and friendly offices,
we may render ourselves so necessary
to their comfort and prosperity
that the protection of our citizens
from their disorderly members
will become their interest and their voluntary care.
Instead, therefore, of an augmentation of military force
proportioned to our extension of frontier,
I propose a moderate enlargement of the capital
employed in that commerce as a more effectual,
economical, and humane instrument for preserving peace
and good neighborhood with them.
   On this side of the Mississippi
an important relinquishment of native title
has been received from the Delawares.
That tribe, desiring to extinguish in their people
the spirit of hunting and to convert superfluous lands
into the means of improving what they retain,
has ceded to us all the country between Wabash and Ohio
south of and including the road
from the rapids toward Vincennes,
for which they are to receive annuities in animals
and implements for agriculture and in other necessaries.
This acquisition is important,
not only for its extent and fertility,
but as fronting 300 miles on the Ohio,
and near half that on the Wabash.16

      In July 1805 Governor Harrison made a treaty with the Wyandots, Ottawas, and other tribes. Indian lands were paid for, but they were obtained for about one cent per acre. Chickasaws and Cherokees sold land between the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers to Tennessee, opening the road from Knoxville to Nashville. Creeks sold to Georgia the land between the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers. These treaties provided horse-roads to the Mobile River. Jefferson hoped to use a third of revenues for the improvements of industries. Harrison came to realize that the treaties were unfair to the Indians. Regardless of whether an Indian killed a white man or a white man murdered an Indian, they were tried by American law, and in the history of the Indiana Territory no American jury ever convicted a white man of murdering an Indian. Jefferson hoped that the Indians would cultivate the soil and raise animals; but he still acted on behalf of the Americans’ greed for more land. In 1805 Harrison promoted the forming of the Indiana legislature which allowed settlers to bring slaves into the territory for a limited number of days; then they could be emancipated or bound in service for years. In 1808 those opposing slavery won the election and overturned the law.

      Tecumseh was born in March 1768 in Old Piqua in Ohio to the Shawnee war chief Puckeshinwa and probably a Creek mother. After his father died, he was adopted by Chief Blackfish who in 1778 led an invasion of Kentucky in revenge for the murder of Cornstalk, captured Daniel Boone and 26 others, and took them back to his town Old Chillicothe. In 1780 an American army led by George Rogers Clark drove the Shawnees out of Old Chillicothe and Old Piqua and burned the towns. Tecumseh joined a band of Shawnees to fight the invading settlers’ flatboats on the Ohio River. When he was 15 years old, he objected to the Indians’ burning a settler at the stake. In 1790 Tecumseh joined the Miami war chief Little Turtle when they defeated General Josiah Harmar and his 1,400 soldiers at a place that later became Fort Wayne. He also fought with him on November 4, 1791 near the Wabash River when Little Turtle and Blue Jacket defeated General Arthur St. Clair and killed more than 600 soldiers.
      Then Tecumseh led raids against frontiersmen in Ohio and Kentucky, and he helped the Cherokees fight settlers in Tennessee. He traveled to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, but in 1793 he returned to Ohio to defend with an Indian confederacy against the army led by General Anthony Wayne. On August 20, 1794 Tecumseh fought bravely when Wayne defeated the Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Tecumseh did not attend the council and broke with Blue Jacket over the Treaty of Greenville. In 1796 Tecumseh married the half-breed Manete who bore him one son before they broke up. He fell in love with the white Rebecca Galloway who improved his English and introduced him to the Bible, Shakespeare, and history such as Alexander the Great. She would have married him if he had agreed to live as a white man, but after a month contemplating it he decided to stay with his people.
      Tecumseh did not drink alcohol and preached against it. His younger brother Lalawethika drank heavily and loafed until the spring of 1805 when during a religious revival by Shaker preachers he believed he went to the spirit world and communicated with the Creator who advised him to change his bad ways and teach people the right path. He vowed never to drink any more, and he changed his name to Tenskwatawa which means “Open Door.” He urged his followers to give up the material things and vices they had learned from the whites and renounce selfishness, envy, and the lust for possessions. That summer Tenskwatawa and his followers established a community near Greenville, Ohio.
      In the spring of 1806 Tenskwatawa traveled to the Delawares who had accused several people of witchcraft and then burned them at the stake. Moravian missionaries blamed the Shawnee prophet and reported it to William Henry Harrison who asked Tenskwatawa to prove he was sent by God by performing a cosmic miracle. After Tenskwatawa predicted an eclipse of the sun on June 16, his following grew. Many tribes were losing faith in their traditional chiefs who were selling their land to the Americans, and some traveled to Greenville. Both brothers advocated the unification of the Indian tribes. Those in their community did not drink alcohol, and they tilled the soil. Tenskwatawa aroused his followers to attack Indians they believed were bewitched or influenced by the white men. They killed several hundred Indians before Tecumseh personally was able to stop the purge.
      In September 1807 Tecumseh, Blue Jacket, and Roundhead of the Wyandots met with Ohio’s Governor Thomas Kirker. Tecumseh spoke for three hours and impressed many Indians and whites. Canada’s Governor James Henry Craig tried to persuade the Indians to support the British if there was a war against the United States. The Shawnee leaders felt threatened by Harrison, and in April 1808 they moved from Greenville to Potawatomi and Kickapoo lands in northwestern Indiana where they founded Prophetstown in May by the junction of the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers. Many Indians followed them there. Tecumseh went to Canada in June, and the British Captain Mathew Elliott promised to help supply his new village. Tenskwatawa visited Governor Harrison at Vincennes in August, and his followers were not tempted by liquor. The Prophet taught that only the whites knew how to use liquor and that it was not made for the Indians. He tried to get the whites to stop selling it to the Indians.
      In Jefferson’s 8th and last message to the Congress on 8 November 1808 he gave this report on Indian relations:

With our Indian neighbors
the public peace has been steadily maintained.
Some instances of individual wrong have,
as at other times, taken place,
but in no wise implicating the will of the nation.
Beyond the Mississippi the Ioways, the Sacs
and the Alabamas have delivered up for trial
and punishment individuals from among themselves
accused of murdering citizens of the United States.
On this side of the Mississippi the Creeks
are exerting themselves to arrest offenders of the same kind,
and the Choctaws have manifested their readines
and desire for amicable and just arrangements respecting
depredations committed by disorderly persons of their tribe.
And, generally, from a conviction that
we consider them as a part of ourselves,
and cherish with sincerity their rights and interests,
the attachment of the Indian tribes is gaining strength daily—
is extending from the nearer to the more remote,
and will amply requite us for the justice
and friendship practiced toward them.
Husbandry and household manufacture are advancing
among them more rapidly with the Southern
than Northern tribes, from circumstances of soil and climate,
and one of the two great divisions of the Cherokee Nation
have now under consideration
to solicit the citizenship of the United States,
and to be identified with us in laws and government
in such progressive manner as we shall think best.17

Jefferson Administration in 1803

      The United States Judiciary Act of 1802 had suspended the Supreme Court from meeting for fourteen months. Chief Justice Marshall believed that this Republican repeal of the Federalist Judiciary Act of 1801 was unconstitutional and wanted to refuse to sit as a circuit judge; but because the Ellsworth Judiciary Act of 1789 had the Supreme Court justices acquiesce in serving as circuit judges, the Court believed it had been established. The Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional because it gave the Supreme Court original jurisdiction instead of appellate. Thus Marshall presided over the circuit court in Richmond in the fall of 1802. In Stuart v. Laird he held that the plea based on this provision in the Ellsworth Act was insufficient. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, and Marshall, having made the lower court decision, did not participate. This case was decided on 2 March 1803 with Justice Paterson writing for the unanimous Court that Congress did have the right to establish and abolish lower courts. The Act made circuit riding by Supreme Court justices optional, and they gradually diminished and then stopped doing that.

            Chief Justice Marshall’s famous decision on Marbury v. Madison was delivered on 24 February 1803. He decided that withholding Marbury’s commission was not warranted by law and violated his legal right. The President could not recall an appointment if the officer is not removable. Marbury had a right to claim protection of the laws; but because Marbury brought his suit by the 1789 Judiciary Act which was ruled unconstitutional, the Court was not authorized to issue a writ of mandamus. Therefore the Supreme Court dismissed his case, and Marbury never applied for the mandamus in a lower court. In this historic case Marshall argued that the essence of civil liberty is the right of every individual to be protected by the laws when one has been injured. One of the first duties of a government of laws, not of men, is to provide such protection. An act that violates the Constitution cannot be the law of the land, and the Supreme Court can invalidate such acts because the Constitution is superior to any act of legislation. This famous decision shocked the Republicans that the Federalists with their control over the federal judiciary could cancel an act of Congress they considered unconstitutional. In his opinion Marshall concluded “That a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.”18

      On March 3 the House voted to impeach federal judge John Pickering of New Hampshire for drunkenness and insanity. The Senate found him guilty by a vote of 19-7 and voted 20-6 to remove him from office on 12 March 1804. In the 1802 elections the Republicans had gained large majorities over the Federalists with a 25-9 advantage in the Senate and 102-39 in the House.

      In the spring the Aurora and its editor William Duane began to criticize the Republicans Gallatin and Madison but not President Jefferson. Then they began attacking Pennsylvania’s Governor McKean and Attorney General Alexander J. Dallas. McKean and Dallas in January had helped the legislature remove Judge Addison, and they went after three judges on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

            In October 1803 Treasury Secretary Gallatin urged Jefferson to reduce the annual expenditure on the Navy from $900,000 to $600,000, and the President agreed. Bonds and notes issued to finance the Louisiana Purchase cost $900,000 in 1803, and revenues that year fell by $2 million to $10,600,000. In the past year the nation had paid off $3,100,000 from the debt while maintaining nearly $6 million in the treasury. Jefferson sent his third annual message to Congress on October 17 early because of “matters of great public concern.” Their “right of deposit at the port of New Orleans” which had been suspended was restored through the government officer. He warned that their peace was exposed if “the western country remained under foreign power.” He explained how the Louisiana Purchase came about:

Propositions had, therefore, been authorized for obtaining,
on fair conditions, the sovereignty of New Orleans,
and of other possessions in that quarter interesting
to our quiet, to such extent as was deemed practicable;
and the provisional appropriation of two millions of dollars,
to be applied and accounted for
by the president of the United States,
intended as part of the price, was considered as conveying
the sanction of Congress to the acquisition proposed.
The enlightened government of France saw,
with just discernment, the importance to both nations
of such liberal arrangements as might best and permanently
promote the peace, friendship, and interests of both;
and the property and sovereignty of all Louisiana,
which had been restored to them, have on certain conditions
been transferred to the United States
by instruments bearing date the 30th of April last.
When these shall have received
the constitutional sanction of the senate,
they will without delay be communicated
to the representatives also, for the exercise of their functions,
as to those conditions which are within the powers
vested by the constitution in Congress.
While the property and sovereignty of the Mississippi
and its waters secure an independent outlet
for the produce of the western States,
and an uncontrolled navigation through their whole course,
free from collision with other powers
and the dangers to our peace from that source,
the fertility of the country, its climate and extent,
promise in due season important aids to our treasury,
an ample provision for our posterity, and a wide-spread field
for the blessings of freedom and equal laws.
   With the wisdom of Congress it will rest
to take those ulterior measures which may be necessary
for the immediate occupation
and temporary government of the country;
for its incorporation into our Union;
for rendering the change of government
a blessing to our newly-adopted brethren;
for securing to them the rights of conscience and of property:
for confirming to the Indian inhabitants
their occupancy and self-government,
establishing friendly and commercial relations with them,
and for ascertaining the geography of the country acquired.19

      Jefferson concluded this message with a discussion of how the United States should respond to the major wars going in Europe at this time.

We have seen with sincere concern the flames of war
lighted up again in Europe, and nations with which
we have the most friendly and useful relations
engaged in mutual destruction.
While we regret the miseries in which we see others involved
let us bow with gratitude to that kind Providence which,
inspiring with wisdom and moderation our late legislative councils
while placed under the urgency of the greatest wrongs,
guarded us from hastily entering into the sanguinary contest,
and left us only to look on and to pity its ravages.
These will be heaviest on those immediately engaged.
Yet the nations pursuing peace will not be exempt from all evil.
In the course of this conflict, let it be our endeavor,
as it is our interest and desire,
to cultivate the friendship of the belligerent nations
by every act of justice and of incessant kindness;
to receive their armed vessels with hospitality
from the distresses of the sea,
but to administer the means of annoyance to none;
to establish in our harbors
such a police as may maintain law and order;
to restrain our citizens from embarking individually in a war
in which their country takes no part;
to punish severely those persons, citizen or alien,
who shall usurp the cover of our flag
for vessels not entitled to it,
infecting thereby with suspicion those of real Americans,
and committing us into controversies
for the redress of wrongs not our own;
to exact from every nation the observance,
toward our vessels and citizens,
of those principles and practices
which all civilized people acknowledge;
to merit the character of a just nation,
and maintain that of an independent one,
preferring every consequence to insult and habitual wrong.
Congress will consider whether the existing laws enable us
efficaciously to maintain this course
with our citizens in all places,
and with others while within the limits of our jurisdiction,
and will give them
the new modifications necessary for these objects.
Some contraventions of right have already taken place,
both within our jurisdictional limits and on the high seas.
The friendly disposition of the governments
from whose agents they have proceeded,
as well as their wisdom and regard for justice,
leave us in reasonable expectation
that they will be rectified and prevented in future;
and that no act will be countenanced by them
which threatens to disturb our friendly intercourse.
Separated by a wide ocean from the nations of Europe,
and from the political interests which entangle them together,
with productions and wants which render our commerc
and friendship useful to them and theirs to us,
it cannot be the interest of any to assail us,
nor ours to disturb them.
We should be most unwise, indeed, were we to cast away
the singular blessings of the position
in which nature has placed us,
the opportunity she has endowed us with of pursuing,
at a distance from foreign contentions,
the paths of industry, peace, and happiness;
of cultivating general friendship,
and of bringing collisions of interest
to the umpirage of reason rather than of force.
How desirable then must it be, in a government like ours,
to see its citizens adopt individually the views, the interests,
and the conduct which their country should pursue,
divesting themselves of those passions and partialities
which tend to lessen useful friendships,
and to embarrass and embroil us
in the calamitous scenes of Europe.
Confident, fellow citizens, that you will
duly estimate the importance of neutral dispositions
toward the observance of neutral conduct,
that you will be sensible how much it is our duty
to look on the bloody arena spread before us
with commiseration indeed,
but with no other wish than to see it closed,
I am persuaded you will cordially cherish
these dispositions in all discussions among yourselves,
and in all communications with your constituents;
and I anticipate with satisfaction the measures of wisdom
which the great interests now committed to you
will give you an opportunity of providing,
and myself that of approving and carrying into execution
with the fidelity I owe to my country.20

      On December 20 William Claiborne became the first governor of Orleans, and General James Wilkinson was appointed the first governor of the Louisiana Territory. Congress prohibited importing slaves into Orleans because of fear of rebels from St. Domingue, and in the next two years Orleans allowed about 200 slaves to purchase their freedom.

Jefferson Administration in 1804

      Congress had passed the Mobile Act on 24 February 1804 establishing a customs district east of New Orleans. They created the Territory of Orleans with New Orleans as the capital. The line that later became the northern boundary of the state of Louisiana marked the division with the rest to the north called the District of Louisiana with its capital at St. Louis. The New Orleans district was much smaller than Louisiana, but 50,000 people lived there.
      Spain considered West Florida their territory, and Jefferson sent Monroe to Madrid to confirm American claims. Spain’s minister Carlos Martinez Yrujo complained that all of West Florida still belonged to Spain; but Monroe wrote to Jefferson in May, and on the 30th the President backed up the Mobile Act by proclaiming that the shores of the bay and river of Mobile are within boundaries of the United States.
      A pamphlet by the pseudonym Aristides examining the charges against Burr and severely criticizing Clintons and Livingstons was published in December 1803, and much later it was revealed that Burr’s intimate friend, William Peter Van Ness, wrote that pamphlet. In January 1804 a conspiracy began to dissolve the Union and protect the Federalists in the northeast involving the Federalist Senators Timothy Pickering of Massachusetts, Uriah Tracy of Connecticut, and William Plumer of New Hampshire, and at-large Rep. Roger Griswold of Connecticut. They were not able to persuade Alexander Hamilton and Rufus King of New York to join them nor John Quincy Adams and other leaders in Massachusetts.
      Hamilton considered Aaron Burr dangerous, and on February 16 he attended the Federalist caucus and persuaded them to support George Clinton for Vice President instead of Burr. On February 24 President Jefferson signed the Act that claimed Mobile as an American port of entry even though it was part of Spanish West Florida. The next day a Congressional caucus of Republicans voted 65-41 to nominate New York Governor George Clinton for Vice President of the United States. They rejected Vice President Aaron Burr, and his friends did not participate.
      Pickering wrote to Rufus King on March 4 proposing the secession of New England and perhaps New York. On March 22 Jefferson appointed William Johnson of South Carolina to the Supreme Court.
      On 26 March 1804 Congress passed an Act Further to Protect the Commerce and Seamen of the United States against the Barbary Powers, adding 2.5% ad valorem duties on imports in American ships and 12.5% more on imported goods in foreign vessels. This increased revenues in 1804 to $11,600,000.
      Although New York had many Republicans, they wanted that state involved with Hamilton as their leader; but Griswold wanted Burr to lead. Burr decided to run for governor of New York in April 1804. On the 16th Jefferson wrote to Postmaster-General Gideon Granger,

It will be found in this, as in all other similar cases,
that crooked schemes will end
by overwhelming their authors and coadjutors in disgrace,
and that he alone who walks strict and upright,
and who in matters of opinion will be contented that
others should be as free as himself,
and acquiesce when his opinion is fairly overruled,
will attain his object in the end.21

On April 25 the Clintonian Morgan Lewis defeated Burr by about 8,000 votes. On June 18 Burr’s friend Ness took a message to Hamilton complaining that Hamilton had a “despicable” opinion of Burr’s character. Two days later Hamilton wrote a reply in which he used language often associated with a challenge that could lead to a duel. He opposed disunion, and Burr challenged him to a duel. Hamilton did not intend to kill Burr, and he found some consolation in predicting that if Burr killed him, it would be political suicide. On July 11 they met at Weehocken, the place where Hamilton’s son Philip had been killed in a duel three years before which drove his sister mad with grief. Though witness accounts differ, Hamilton probably shot first without trying to hit Burr, and then Burr shot a bullet through Hamilton’s liver and into his spinal column that caused his death 31 hours later.
      The journalist James Cheetham got an indictment against Burr who escaped to South Carolina and then went to Philadelphia and Washington. He stayed away from New York and New Jersey until all their charges were dropped.
      On July 10 Jefferson wrote to the Earl of Buchan,

My hope of preserving peace for our country is not founded
in the Quaker principle of non-resistance under every wrong,
but in the belief that a just and friendly conduct on our part
will procure justice and friendship from others.
In the existing contest each of the combatants
will find an interest in our friendship.22

      The United States Congress had not sent the 12th Amendment to the Constitution to the state legislatures until 12 December 1803, and three quarters of the states finally ratified the amendment on 15 June 1804, separating the electoral college voting for President and Vice President.
      In the 1804 elections the Republicans ran on their accomplishments that included abolishing internal taxes, removing superfluous federal judges and thousands of unnecessary officers, reducing the Army and Navy, and decreasing administrative expenditures and the national debt by several million dollars while preserving the peace and adding the extensive territory in the Louisiana Purchase. The Republicans increased their domination of the Senate to 27 to 7 and of the House by eleven seats to make it 114 to 28. Jefferson and George Clinton each received 162 electoral votes for President and Vice President to 14 for C. C. Pinckney and Rufus King. The Federalists won only Connecticut and Delaware plus two of Maryland’s nine votes. Six state legislatures chose their electors; six states had them elected by popular vote; four states voted by electoral districts; and Massachusetts had 17 elected by Congressional district and two statewide. Even though he had two sons-in-law running for Congress, Jefferson held to his policy of not interfering in local elections.
      He sent his fourth annual message to Congress on November 8. The revenue for the year was $11,500,000, and $3,600,000 was used to pay down the national debt. Since 1801 they had paid $12 million off the national debt. On irregularities occurring on the ocean he wrote,

Complaints have been received that
persons residing within the United States
have taken on themselves to arm merchant vessels
and to force a commerce into certain ports and countries
in defiance of the laws of those countries.
That individuals should undertake to wage private war,
independently of the authority of their country,
can not be permitted in a well-ordered society.
Its tendency to produce aggression
on the laws and rights of other nations
and to endanger the peace of our own is so oblivious
that I doubt not you will adopt measures
for restraining it effectually in future….
The activity and success of the small force employed
in the Mediterranean in the early part of the present year,
the re-enforcements sent into that sea,
and the energy of the officers having command
in the several vessels will, I trust, by the sufferings of war,
reduce the barbarians of Tripoli
to the desire of peace on proper terms….
We can do to each other very sensible injuries by war,
but mutual advantages of peace
make that the best interest of both.23

      In 1804 New Jersey became the last state north of the Mason-Dixon line to pass an anti-slavery law.
      William Branch Giles of Virginia had worked well with Jefferson as majority leader in the House; but when he was incapacitated in 1802, he was replaced by young John Randolph of Virginia. He charged the Postmaster General Gideon Granger who had lobbied for the New England Yazoo claims and dispensed patronage in mail contracts, bribing Congressmen to support compensating them. This issue had been suspended on 4 February 1804, and Randolph led the effort that impeached the Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase in March. Granger and another Republican from New England proposed a compromise for their clients in the fall of 1804, and on 29 January 1805 a resolution authorizing commissioners to settle the Yazoo claims was presented in the House and was enacted.
      The fanatical Federalist Chase had ranted his political views during trials of Republicans charged under the Sedition Act. On 2 May 1803 he had lectured a federal grand jury in Baltimore on the 1801 Judiciary Repeal Act in which he also criticized equal rights, universal suffrage, and attacks on property. He argued that the Republican Constitution led to the worst form of government that he called “mobocracy.” Jefferson complained about this tirade, and it eventually led to Chase’s impeachment. Luther Martin defended Chase by arguing that as a nation of laws, the independence of the judiciary should not be challenged unless judges had broken a law. Vice President Burr presided over the trial and reminded them they had to vote whether Chase was guilty of actual crimes and misdemeanors, and in February 1805 the Senate did not have the two-thirds vote needed to convict him of any of the eight charges. This trial set the precedent that judges could not be removed for political reasons but had to be guilty of a crime. Jefferson to mollify Burr, who was leaving the vice presidency, had offered him patronage in the Louisiana Territory. Burr, his stepson, and brother-in-law were given the governorship and two other important offices in the territory.

Jefferson Administration 1805-06

      In his “Second Inaugural Address” on 4 March 1805 President Jefferson summarized the accomplishments of his first term. He cultivated friendship with all nations, did justice, gave lawful favors, and valued mutual interests on equal terms. In some cases a just nation may use arms “to bridle others.” By eliminating unnecessary offices and expenses they ended internal taxes. Yet the remaining taxes on the purchase of foreign goods by those who could afford luxuries helped provide enough revenues to pay expenses and apply the surplus to reducing the public debt. He hoped that during peacetime they would be able to invest in “rivers, canals, roads, arts, manufactures, education, and other great objects.” Though injustice may cause war, its expenses could be met without borrowing from future generations. Useful works may be suspended during a war and resumed during peace.
      Jefferson suggested that the Louisiana Purchase would enable their own brothers and their children to settle the land west of the Mississippi River rather than have strangers moving in there. The government had not interfered with religion or churches, and the rights of the native inhabitants were respected. With limits making hunting difficult he encouraged them to learn agriculture and industry, and he provided them with tools. Jefferson believed that some Indians had resisted changes because of prejudice, ignorance, and stubborn adherence to past traditions. The press had been lively, but falsehood and defamation could be punished by states. The free expression of truth could correct false reasonings and opinions. He observed,

Nor was it uninteresting to the world,
that an experiment should be fairly and fully made,
whether freedom of discussion, unaided by power,
is not sufficient for the propagation and protection of truth—
whether a government, conducting itself
in the true spirit of its constitution,
with zeal and purity, and doing no act
which it would be unwilling the whole world should witness,
can be written down by falsehood and defamation.
The experiment has been tried;
you have witnessed the scene;
our fellow citizens have looked on, cool and collected;
they saw the latent source
from which these outrages proceeded;
they gathered around their public functionaries,
and when the constitution called them
to the decision by suffrage, they pronounced their verdict,
honorable to those who had served them,
and consolatory to the friend of man,
who believes he may be entrusted with his own affairs.24

      After his second inauguration Jefferson announced that, as Washington had, he would retire at the end of his second term. The Republicans now had a 27-7 advantage in the United States Senate. In April the Federalists in Massachusetts re-elected their Governor Caleb Strong and retained their majority in the state legislature. Pennsylvania’s Governor McKean united with Federalists to win re-election. James Madison and Albert Gallatin continued as the leading members of the cabinet in the State and Treasury departments. Navy secretary Robert Smith was appointed Attorney General, but he ended up running the Navy Department through the second term. Jefferson nominated John Breckinridge of Kentucky to be Attorney General in August, but he was not confirmed until January 1806.
      Peace was restored in Tripoli, and trade flourished, increasing the annual revenue to $14,000,000.
      Charles Pinckney was the United States Minister in Madrid, and James Monroe had arrived as a special envoy on 2 January 1805. They worked together on the disagreements with Spain over the Floridas and Texas. French and Spanish agents kept telling Madison that Spain had not ceded West Florida to France. Spaniards were plundering American commerce, and the garrisons in West Florida and Texas were reinforced. During the winter of 1804-05 while Monroe was in Spain, an American flotilla with 80 cannons and 700 crew left New York carrying contraband of war. The French Minister Louis Marie Turreau complained to Madison who promised him that a bill would be passed. On March 3 the US Senate passed a law that prohibited armed commerce but allowed unarmed trade.
      After March 4 Aaron Burr was no longer Vice President, and he tried to negotiate with Anthony Merry, the British minister to the United States, in a conspiracy to separate the Louisiana Territory from the United States as a confederation led by Burr and sponsored by Britain. On March 29 in a secret letter Merry wrote,

Mr. Burr (with whom I know that the deputies
became very intimate during their residence here)
has mentioned to me that the inhabitants of Louisiana
seem determined to render themselves
independent of the United States,
and that the execution of their design is only delayed
by the difficulty of obtaining previously an assurance
of protection and assistance from some foreign Power,
and of concerting and connecting their independence with that
of the inhabitants of the western parts of the United States,
who must always have a command over them
by the rivers which communicate with the Mississippi.25

Burr asked the British government for aid from a British squadron at the mouth of the Mississippi River and for a loan of $500,000. While waiting for a response he planned to visit New Orleans in order to promote creole disaffection. He also plotted this with James Wilkinson, the commanding general of the US Army.
      Prime Minister William Pitt and the British Parliament enacted legislation to open West Indies’ ports to enemy ships to trade for British merchandise and to import the enemy’s produce in British ships to England. On July 23 William Scott judged the case of the American merchant ship Essex, overturning the protection of broken voyages of ships with American customs papers and opening the way for British ships to seize American vessels. Talleyrand communicated that Napoleon was going to oppose Monroe’s negotiation in Spain. After his diplomatic efforts failed, Monroe left Spain in August. That month Jefferson rejected the advice to occupy part of Texas given by the Minister to Britain James Monroe and the Minister to France John Armstrong.
      Madison learned of the British seizing of American ships in late September. On October 18 Monroe urged President Jefferson to threaten war against France, Spain, and England. On October 21 Admiral Horatio Nelson won a great victory for the British off Cape Trafalgar against the French and Spanish fleets, giving the English supremacy in the Atlantic Ocean. This news reached Washington about December 20. Napoleon’s army had defeated the Russian and Austrian coalition at Austerlitz on December 3. War in Europe helped neutral American exports which reached $53 million in 1805. This year Mercy Warren published her three-volume History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution.
      James Stephen published War in Disguise: or, the Frauds of the Neutral Flags in October, and Monroe sent a copy to America on November 1. Stephen argued that the Rule of 1756 was settled law and that French and Spanish ships carrying French or Spanish property in the name of neutrality was fraudulent. He also contended that American trade was also fraudulent and could ruin Britain. Therefore he recommended enforcing the Rule of 1756 by cutting off neutral trade altogether.
      On December 3 Jefferson in his fifth annual message to Congress criticized Spain, and three days later he sent a private message to Congress in which he asked for a secret appropriation of $5 million to purchase Florida. Also on that day Spanish Minister Yrujo sent a reply to Secretary of State Madison. The President’s cabinet decided not to respond to his letter.

      When Marquis Yrujo arrived in Washington on 15 January 1806, Madison signed a letter informing him that the President had requested his recall; but Yrujo refused to leave. John Randolph hated Madison and did not want him to succeed Jefferson, and he accused the administration of corruption in its attempts to buy Florida. Madison criticized the British for trying to prevent neutrals from trading with non-British colonies, and he gave copies of his pamphlet Examination of the British Doctrine to members of Congress. After Randolph took a vacation for a week, Congress denied the President’s request for funds and passed a resolution to increase the army.

      During 1805 Spanish cruisers captured much American property, and Spanish armed forces made incursions into Florida and Texas. The revolutionary Francesco de Miranda came to New York in November 1805 to ask for support against Spain, and then he went to Washington and met with Madison. Yrujo persuaded the French chargé Turreau to complain about Miranda to Madison. Two British frigates blockaded New York for the whole year. About 2,500 British sailors deserted to work on American ships, and the British navy impressed about a thousand to get them back. The Americans complained that the British captured 500 American ships, and by the end of the year Americans no longer doubted that Britain was at war against them.

      After returning to America in 1805, Joel Barlow spent most of his time in Washington living in a house recommended to him by Jefferson. On 24 February 1806 the President sent Barlow a letter with a draft for a bill to establish a National Academy. Barlow gave his ideas on higher education in his “Prospectus of a National Institution To Be Established in the United States.” He agreed with George Washington and Jefferson that the United States needed a national university, and he recommended a college and a scientific society to conduct research with a printing press to publish their findings. He also suggested moving the patent office from the State Department to the National Institute so that it would expose impostors and establish what eventually became the Bureau of Standards. He wanted teaching and research in mineralogy, botany, chemistry, medicine, mechanics, hydraulics, and mathematics as well as in literature, morals, government, and law.
      In July 1806 Jefferson offered to give Barlow access to all his papers and those of Madison if he would write a Republican history of his administration. In 1808 Barlow published the revised version of his epic poem, The Vision of Columbus, as The Columbiad with changes to the “importance of republican institutions” to the “rising generation.” He expanded his account of the American Revolution from two books to three, and he urged Americans to establish human equality by abolishing slavery. He reduced the emphasis on the Biblical account of creation and updated scientific theories. Barlow became the American minister to France in 1811 and died while with Napoleon’s army as they retreated from Russia in December 1812.
      On 16 January 1806 the US House of Representatives appropriated $2,000,000 to purchase Spanish territory east of the Mississippi, and the US Senate passed it on February 7. On the 18th in a letter to Judge Cooper the President expressed his concern that Europe realize he was not “entirely in Quaker principles.” On February 28 Congress passed a one-year law declaring that any American ship going to St. Domingue should be forfeited with its cargo. This was passed to please Napoleon but also because those in southern states feared rebellious Africans in Haiti who had overthrown slavery. Madison on March 13 sent a letter to John Armstrong in Paris giving him secret permission to offer France $5,000,000 for Florida and Texas to the Colorado River.
      Madison had long favored restriction of British trade, and on 29 January 1806 Andrew Gregg of Pennsylvania sponsored a bill to ban all imports from England and its colonies. Southerners opposed this because their agricultural products were bought in large quantities by the British. In 1802, 1803, and 1804 tobacco exports had averaged $6,140,000, and $3,290,000 was from the British. England’s share of the annual cotton exports worth $6,970,000 was $5,630,000. Jacob Crowninshield of Massachusetts argued that because the British held $16 million of the US public debt, $8 million of the Louisiana stock, and $4 million in US Bank stock, they would not risk these being confiscated in a war. This led others to suggest confiscating these without a war.
      Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin considered these proposals dangerous, and his brother-in-law Joseph Nicholson noted that Gregg’s bill would cost the US Government $5 million a year in revenue. Senator Samuel Smith of Maryland and his brother Robert Smith, the Navy Secretary, wanted to build up the Navy. Their proposal was defeated, but the Congress did resolve to send a special minister despite Jefferson’s disagreement. After Pitt’s death on January 23 his policies were changed by the new foreign minister, Charles James Fox, a friend of Americans. On February 10 Nicholson presented his compromise resolutions, and on March 25 the House agreed to set November 15 to begin implementing the Non-importation Bill based on those resolutions even though it was opposed by John Randolph who on March 5 broke with the Jefferson administration in his speech. They appropriated less money for the Navy but did fund 50 more gunboats the President requested, and they insisted on sending William Pinkney of Maryland as a special emissary to London. Jefferson signed the Non-importation Bill on April 18, and the next day he nominated Monroe and Pinckney as commissioners to Britain.
      On April 14 Rep. John Randolph proposed repealing the hated salt tax that had raised $500,000 a year, but the US Senate rejected that. Randolph then got the House to remove the Mediterranean Fund that brought in nearly one million dollars, and the most contentious session of Congress ended on April 21.
      Massachusetts in April elected a legislature with a Republican majority, and the Federalist Governor Strong was only re-elected by a few hundred votes. On April 25 during the British blockade of New York harbor the vessel Leander, while attempting to shoot over the bow of the American merchant ship Richard, killed the captain’s brother John Pierce. A grand jury in New York indicted Captain Whitby for murder, and on May 3 President Jefferson closed American ports to the three frigates involved in the blockade. On May 16 the British Foreign Secretary Charles James Fox told Monroe that Britain was blockading European ports because of Napoleon but that American ships not carrying contraband could trade, negating the Essex decision and reinstating the neutral carrying policy. Jefferson learned in late May that Spanish forces had crossed the Sabine River into the Orleans Territory.
      In Philadelphia the journeymen boot-makers and shoe-makers organized a union to improve their working conditions and to restore a 25% reduction in their wages. They refused to work and tried to prevent others from working until their demands were met. The craftsmen were put on trial between January and May in 1806 and were found guilty of a criminal conspiracy. Striking was considered illegal because some believed that it could bring a rise in the price of goods and destroy commerce.
      During the summer of 1806 William Steuben Smith, the surveyor of the Port of New York, and Samuel Ogden, owner of the Leander, were put on trial for violating the neutrality laws by supporting the attempted revolution led by Francesco de Miranda against imperial Spain in Colombia; but when members of his administration were subpoenaed, Jefferson told them to disobey the summons. Jefferson removed Smith from his position, and he was acquitted.
      On November 4 the British ambassador Anthony Merry was replaced by the better liked David Montague Erskine. On the 15th the American Non-importation Act went into effect, and six days later Napoleon issued his Berlin Decree blockading England for violating international law. This would also effect neutral rights and American commerce, and on December 1 the American envoys Monroe and Pinkney reacted by signing a treaty with the new British Foreign Secretary Charles Grey that ignored the conditions requested by Jefferson and Madison. On November 27 Jefferson issued a proclamation prohibiting private expeditions into Spanish territory. In December he refused to submit to the Senate for ratification the treaty with Britain that Monroe, the US minister there, and William Pinkney had negotiated and signed.
      Revenues in 1806 reached $14,500,000, and the Treasury had a surplus of $4,000,000. The national debt had been reduced to less than $57,500,000 which included $11,250,000 in Louisiana stock. In his annual message to Congress on December 2 Jefferson reported how he acted to curtail military actions by private individuals into Spanish territory and ordered the seizing of ships and arms. He wrote,

   Having received information that
in another part of the United States a great number
of private individuals were combining together,
arming and organizing themselves contrary to law,
to carry on military expeditions against the territories of Spain,
I thought it necessary, by proclamations
as well as by special orders, to take measures
for preventing and suppressing this enterprise,
for seizing the vessels, arms, and other means provided for it,
and for arresting and bringing to justice its authors and abettors.
It was due to that good faith which ought ever to be
the rule of action in public as well as in private transactions;
it was due to good order and regular government,
that while the public force was acting strictly on the defensive
and merely to protect our citizens from aggression,
the criminal attempts of private individuals
to decide for their country the question of peace or war,
by commencing active and unauthorized hostilities,
should be promptly and efficaciously suppressed.26

In regard to the Barbary states Jefferson was “Persuaded that it is our interest to maintain our peace with them on equal terms, or not at all.”27 The public force acted strictly on the defensive to protect citizens from aggression and to suppress criminal attempts by private individuals to begin unauthorized hostilities. The size of American military forces would depend on the negotiations with Spain.
      Jefferson urged the Congress to pass a law to take effect on the first day of 1808 in order

to withdraw the citizens of the United States from all
further participation in those violations of human rights
which have been so long continued
on the unoffending inhabitants of Africa,
and which the morality, the reputation,
and the best interests of our country,
have long been eager to proscribe.28

      Although he recognized the value of private enterprise, Jefferson suggested that a public institution could aid the sciences and improve the country. The Congress began by cooperating with the President’s request to suspend the Non-importation Act that had been passed in April. The House declined to expand the Army and refused to fortify New York. In December the President appointed Henry Brockholst Livingston of New York to the Supreme Court.

Burr Conspiracy & Trial

      Aaron Burr was not prosecuted for having killed Alexander Hamilton in the duel on 11 July 1804; but it ended his political career as Jefferson chose George Clinton to replace him as Vice President. Burr met with the British ambassador Anthony Merry who wrote to the Foreign Secretary Harrowby on August 6,

I have just received an offer from Mr. Burr,
the actual Vice President of the United States,
to lend his assistance to his Majesty’s Government
in any Manner in which they may think fit to employ him,
particularly in an endeavouring to effect
a Separation of the Western Part of the United States.29

Merry went on to note that Col. Charles Williamson would be going to England to lobby for the Burr scheme, and he did so there for the next three years. Burr later told people that the British might contribute guns and money to his expedition for regained power in the southwest.
      After Burr’s term as Vice President ended on 4 March 1805, he traveled to South Carolina to visit his daughter Theodosia and her husband Joseph Allston. That month President Jefferson appointed Burr’s brother-in-law Joseph Browne as Secretary of the new Louisiana Territory. Burr also visited East Florida and developed a scheme to help people in New Orleans and Louisiana become independent of the United States. His main partner in this venture was General James Wilkinson, Governor of the Louisiana Territory, who later testified that Burr joined the Mexican Association that comprised 300 men in Louisiana who wanted to liberate part of Mexico from Spain. Wilkinson had been receiving an annual pension of $2,000 from Spain for 20 years. In 1804 he requested arrears on his pension, and the Spanish government gave him 12,000 pesos.
      Burr visited New Orleans in June and July 1805. The new legislature assembled on November 4 and soon came into conflict with Governor Claiborne and his council. Burr met with Merry again in November, asked him for two or three ships, and received $1,500. Those two men met once more in the spring of 1806, and Merry was recalled to England on June 1. President Jefferson’s first warning of Burr’s conspiracy had come in an anonymous letter on 1 December 1805 accusing him of being a British pensioner who was connected with the ambassador Merry. Two weeks later Joseph Daveiss, the US attorney for Kentucky, informed the President that Wilkinson was a pensioner of Spain.
      In May 1806 a majority of the Orleans Council resigned while the legislature delegated Daniel Clark to go to Congress. His friend Lt. William Murray and Lt. Josiah Taylor came from Fort Adams to New Orleans, and they learned of plans to seize money from New Orleans banks and impress ships. The Louisiana legislature adjourned on June 7.
      Jonathan Dayton was a senator from New Jersey 1799-1805, and he owned land with Wilkinson. Secretary of State Madison received the Spanish revolutionary Francisco de Miranda and had snubbed the ambassador Yrujo who gave Dayton a total of about $3,000 from the Spanish treasury. On 24 July 1806 Dayton sent a letter to Burr encouraging him to seek “wealth and glory” in Louisiana and Mexico. Dayton’s nephew Peter Ogden sent a copy of the letter to Wilkinson and suggested that Jefferson was going to remove him. On July 29 Burr sent a long letter in cipher to Wilkinson in which he described his plan to go down the Mississippi on November 15 with 500 or a 1,000 men to reach Natchez in December. Samuel Swartwout would take this letter to Wilkinson on October 8. On August 28 Governor Claiborne had sent a warning to Secretary of War Dearborn that the French would not support the American government in a conflict. On September 15 Jefferson received a letter from Col. George Morgan who reported that Burr had visited his farm and tried to recruit his sons for a military campaign.
      Col. Simon de Herrera brought 1,500 more Spanish soldiers across the Sabine River and established a garrison at Bayou Pierre. In response Wilkinson came to Natchitoches on September 22, and the next day he sent a message demanding that the Spaniards evacuate the Orleans Territory. The Spaniards withdrew from Bayou Pierre on the 27th. After Swartwout brought the cipher letter from Burr to Wilkinson on October 8, Wilkinson sent a deciphered version to President Jefferson on October 21; but he edited out key elements. Wilkinson had 500 US troops under his command, and on November 5 he and Col. Herrera agreed on the compromising Neutral Ground Treaty that created a neutral zone occupied by neither forces inside what the United States claimed as Orleans Territory. Wilkinson arrived at Natchez on the 11th and the next day sent a promised letter to Jefferson with a verbal message about Burr’s plans. Wilkinson arrived at New Orleans on November 25 and took control.
      One of Burr’s main contacts in Louisiana was the lawyer Harman Blennerhassett who contributed funds and offered Blennerhassett Island for gathering weapons and training volunteers. He was influenced by the charms of Theodosia and wrote a series of essays arguing why Ohio should secede from the United States that were printed under the name “Querist” in the Ohio Gazette starting on 4 September 1806. At that time Burr was visiting Senator John Smith in Cincinnati, and on the 10th he crossed the Ohio River to Lexington, Kentucky. From there he went to Nashville, Tennessee where he met with his friend Andrew Jackson who gave him a dinner on September 27 and toasted “Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute.” On October 4 a proclamation by Major-General Jackson appeared in a Nashville newspaper ordering commanders to prepare their brigades for when the government will need them. This was unauthorized and was believed to be in support of Burr’s plans. On October 20 Mrs. Blennerhassett wrote to Burr warning that it would be dangerous for him to return to Ohio. In New Orleans from October 1 to November 25 the plans of Burr were widely discussed.
      President Jefferson was alerted to the danger by a communication he received on October 20 from Gideon Granger recounting how Burr had offered General William Eaton second in command under Wilkinson in an expedition to separate western states from the Union. Two days later the President and his cabinet met for the first time in more than two months to discuss the Burr conspiracy, and they began to take steps to suppress the plan. John Graham, the Secretary of the Orleans Territory, had been commissioned to replace Wilkinson as governor of the Louisiana Territory, and he was ordered to go to Ohio and Kentucky and inquire into Burr’s movements. Graham later declined the appointment.
      On October 25 Burr sent Col. Julien de Pestre to his friends in Philadelphia and New York including Dayton and Swartwout who were conspiring with Yrujo. On November 3 Andrew Jackson received $3,500 in Kentucky banknotes from Burr to build five large boats and buy supplies. On the 5th Joseph Daveiss, the US District Attorney for Kentucky, made a complaint in court that Burr was violating the laws of the United States by planning an invasion of Mexico. On November 10 Yrujo wrote to the Spanish government that about 500 men were gathering on the upper Ohio to go down the river. On the 12th a grand jury was summoned, and an investigation began. Burr was defended by the young lawyer Henry Clay, and Daveiss submitted a list of witnesses. Because the main witness was in Indiana, Daveiss asked for a postponement. The jury was dismissed, and the acquitted Burr returned to Cincinnati to meet again with Ohio’s Senator John Smith. Jefferson criticized Daveiss for arresting Burr prematurely.
      On November 25 President Jefferson received dispatches from Wilkinson, and the cabinet met again. On that day Daveiss renewed his motion against Burr at Frankfort, but on December 5 a grand jury of 22 people declared that they found nothing improper. Orders were sent to Governor Wilkinson to suppress any hostile act in the territory of the United States or Spain. On November 27 Jefferson in a proclamation warned citizens against participating in any unlawful “enterprise against the dominions of Spain,” and he ordered military officers and judges to punish violators. In his annual message to Congress on December 2 he praised Governor Edward Tiffin of Ohio who had ordered Burr’s boats seized at Marietta, Ohio. Some more boats were captured on December 9, and the next day about 35 conspirators fled down the river while Burr and John Adair, the former senator of Kentucky, went to Nashville. On the 14th Andrew Jackson asked Burr to disavow any rebellion against the United States, and he did so. Yet Jackson went on building boats for Burr. The President’s Proclamation reached Nashville on December 19, but nothing was done. Burr managed to escape and passed by Fort Massac.
      On December 12 Governor Wilkinson arrested Burr’s courier Swartwout and took him downriver to New Orleans. He also ordered the arrests of Peter Ogden and Erick Bollman, denying access to lawyers and writs of habeas corpus. Wilkinson put in jail their lawyer, a judge, the editor of the Orleans Gazette, former senator Adair of Kentucky, and about sixty citizens, but an exception was made for Ogden. Jefferson apparently tolerated these violations of the Constitution. On December 18 Wilkinson sent Jefferson a copy of Burr’s decoded letter. Burr saw a published copy and decided to flee. On 11 January 1807 Burr with 55 men, plus women, children, and servants, reached Bayou Pierre and surrendered to the militia. Within a week they were arrested in Mississippi Territory and taken before a grand jury. Burr was still free, and Wilkinson offered a reward of $5,000 to bring Burr into his jurisdiction.
      On 16 January 1807 Virginia Rep. John Randolph demanded that Jefferson take some action and introduced a resolution demanding all information related to the conspiracy. On the 18th the Wilkinson-deciphered letter from Burr arrived in Washington. Attorney General John Breckinridge had died in December, and on January 20 Jefferson appointed Caesar A. Rodney to succeed him. Two days later the President presented his understanding of the situation based on Wilkinson’s reports and included Wilkinson’s version of Burr’s letter written on July 29. Jefferson commended Wilkinson’s actions. The Senate voted to suspend the writ of habeas corpus for three months, but the House rejected the bill 113-19. Burr disappeared into the woods on February 1. Chief Justice Marshall granted the writ of habeas corpus on February 13, and eight days later he dismissed the cases against Swartwout and Bollman. Judge Nicholson released Senator Adair and Ogden. Congress adjourned in March, and Jefferson suffered a migraine headache for three weeks during which he only met people for one hour a day.
      Aaron Burr was finally captured on 6 March 1807 by soldiers from Fort Stoddard, and they took him to Richmond where he arrived on March 26. The next day he was brought before Chief Justice Marshall because Blennerhassett Island was in his jurisdiction. He had previously released Bollman and Swartwout because evidence had not been shown that they had levied war against the United States. In that case Marshall had argued that men had to be actually assembled for that treasonable purpose. Burr was defended by Edmund Randolph and John Wickham from Virginia, Benjamin Botts, and Luther Martin from Baltimore. The prosecution was supervised by Attorney General Rodney, but Jefferson also gave orders directly to District Attorney George Hay who was assisted by the eloquent William Wirt and Virginia’s Lt. Governor Alexander McRae. Although John Randolph confessed that he had a “prepossession” regarding Burr, Marshall accepted him as foreman of the grand jury. Based on the affidavits of the generals Wilkinson and Eaton, Marshall declined to charge Burr with treason and let him out on the misdemeanor charge for $10,000 bail based on five securities. A few days later Marshall dined with Burr at Wickham’s, and the Republican press complained.
      Burr’s trial began on May 22, and the government brought many witnesses to show that he should be tried for treason. Burr’s lawyers asked that a subpoena duces tecum be served on President Jefferson to produce documents. The President argued that the Constitution required only the executive branch to be constantly functioning, and he did so even at Monticello. Marshall decided that Jefferson could do his work at Richmond also, and he put the burden of proof on the President. General Wilkinson arrived on June 15, and Jefferson wrote him a supportive letter despite his enemies. Jury foreman John Randolph did not like Wilkinson’s testimony and wanted him indicted. Wilkinson was let off because the alleged act of treason occurred in Ohio.
      In addition to Burr and Blennerhassett, the others accused of treason were Jonathan Dayton, former senator John Smith of Ohio, Comfort Tyler, Israel Smith of New York, and Davis Floyd of Indiana. On June 24 the grand jury indicted Burr and Blennerhassett for both treason and a misdemeanor, and the next day presentments against the other five were reported for treason. On June 26 Burr pleaded not guilty, and the trial was set for August 3. The jury was not impaneled until the 17th. Two days later Burr’s defense team moved to arrest the evidence, and this was discussed for the next ten days. On August 31 Marshall made his decision to limit the evidence to the assemblage on Blennerhassett’s Island. The prosecution called 140 witnesses, but only eleven were allowed to testify. The next day after 25 minutes discussion the jury decided that the case against Burr was “not proved guilty under this indictment by any evidence submitted to us,” and Marshall accepted this as “not guilty,” American law not making the same distinction as Scottish law. The charges against the other conspirators were eventually withdrawn. Marshall was denounced bitterly in letters to him by William Thompson and by Thomas Ritchie in the Richmond Enquirer. Theodore Roosevelt in his The Winning of the West concluded his chapter on Burr’s Conspiracy writing,

Burr was acquitted on a technicality.
Wilkinson, the double traitor, the bribe-taker,
the corrupt servant of a foreign government,
remained at the head of the American Army.30

      Blennerhassett complained that Burr had received at least $40,000 at Lexington and never paid “all his agents and associates” more than $15,000. After Burr’s acquittal civil suits were filed against him in the next few weeks for a total of $36,000. Blennerhassett met with Burr and was shocked to learn that he was continuing to speculate in new projects for action. Burr’s trial for a misdemeanor began on September 9; but once again Justice Marshall allowed little evidence, and after six days the jurors found him not guilty. The prosecutor Hay demanded another trial of Burr, Blennerhassett, and Major Israel Smith for treason in Chillicothe, Ohio. The Chief Justice listened to many witnesses without a jury for five weeks. The case against Smith was dismissed on October 20, and Marshall lowered the charges against Burr and Blennerhassett to a misdemeanor and released them on $3,000 bail each; but the government never prosecuted. In 1808 Burr went to Europe for four years, and then he returned to America to live in obscurity, using his mother’s name “Edwards” and other aliases to avoid his creditors. He died in September 1836.

Jefferson & the Embargo 1807-09

      On 7 January 1807 British Foreign Secretary Earl Grey ordered the end of American coasting privileges that had allowed them to sail from one European port to another to find the best prices. This would double the cost of neutral ships and the risk of neutral commerce. Jefferson had recommended abolishing the slave trade, and on February 26 the Congress cooperated to ban it starting on 1 January 1808. The fine for knowingly buying an illegally imported black was $800, and equipping a slaver could result in a fine of $20,000. In the previous thirty years only South Carolina had allowed the importation of slaves and only for six years, and during the last four years (1804-07) they imported 39,310 slaves. As the number of available slaves decreased, they became more valuable, increasing the incentive for smuggling slaves. The new laws were rarely enforced, but the slave trade was driven underground. In the next half century about 250,000 slaves would be illegally imported into the United States. On 25 March 1807 the British Parliament abolished their slave trade.
      That year John Gloucester, who was from Tennessee, established the first African Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He later bought his son Stephen’s freedom for $400, and Stephen eventually became one of the organizers of the underground railroad in Philadelphia. In 1808 a group of Africans left the First Baptist Church in New York City because they refused to accept segregated seating. Thomas Paul was a minister from Boston, and he helped them establish the first African-American Baptist Church in New York that became known as the Abyssinian Baptist Church.
      President Jefferson also wanted a constitutional amendment so that they could fund public education and internal transportation. The House was supporting states rights and rejected Jefferson’s requests for fortifying seaports, the army, and the militias. The Republicans eliminated the salt tax, the last of the domestic taxes. The southern and northern states agreed to appropriate $50,000 for a coast survey. In late February the President appointed Meriwether Lewis to replace Wilkinson as governor of the Louisiana Territory, and the Senate quickly confirmed him.
      On March 3, the last day of the congressional session, President Jefferson learned of the treaty signed in England; but the formal document did not arrive until March 15. He did not like the treaty and refused to call a special session of the Senate. Its Article V would have pledged the United States to refrain from discriminating against British commerce for ten years, but British impressments of American sailors had been left to an informal agreement and probably would have continued. Jefferson would not accept a British treaty until their impressments stopped; but he called for a continuation of friendly relations with the British. On March 21 he wrote to Monroe in England, urging him to find informal agreement with the British until they become more yielding. Monroe was a likely presidential candidate, and he declined to be the governor of the New Orleans Territory. On March 26 King George III dismissed Prime Minister Grenville and Foreign Secretary Grey from their offices.
      On June 22 the British ship Leopard hailed the American frigate Chesapeake near Norfolk, Virginia and demanded that they surrender the British deserters. Commodore James Barron refused to let the British crew on board, and the Leopard fired broadsides, killing three men and wounding Barron and fifteen others. Barron capitulated, and the British removed four crewman from the Chesapeake. Three were Americans who had deserted from the Melampus, and the other was a British deserter from the Halifax. Americans reacted quickly to this outrage, and on June 24 citizens in Norfolk and Portsmouth adopted several unanimous resolutions.
      President Jefferson learned of the incident on June 25 and declined to retaliate; but on July 2 his proclamation ordered all British warships to leave American waters. If they did not, he prohibited trade with them or provisioning. He also recalled American ships from the Mediterranean and sent instructions to Monroe in London to demand that the British government renounce the actions of the Leopard and to require the British to disavow searching a public armed vessel. On July 3 a British squadron blockaded Norfolk. Jefferson called the Congress to meet in an early session on October 26. On July 5 the cabinet agreed to call on state governors to prepare their quotas of 100,000 militia. The next day Jefferson wrote to Vice President Clinton that only the Congress had the power to declare war and that he did not want to do anything that would commit them to doing that rather than adopting non-intercourse. The four crewmen were taken to Halifax for a court martial, and the three Americans were found guilty of desertion. The other was British, though Madison claimed he was American, and he was hanged.
      Jefferson often said that peace was his passion, and he wanted to apply peaceful pressure. News arrived that the British government was restricting neutral trade with Europe, and the Royal Navy had invaded neutral Denmark, seizing its navy. David Humphreys had been the American minister in Spain, and he returned from London and reported to the President that the English people were eager for another war against the Americans. Jefferson agreed with Madison that a radical response was required. Gallatin advised moderation, though he considered war inevitable. In August the President announced that all British ships would be treated as enemies.
      On 4 September 1807 Robert Fulton demonstrated his North River Steamboat (later called the Clermont) by taking passengers from New York City to Albany. A crowd of skeptical people gathered at the start to mock “Fulton’s Folly” by shouting, “She’ll never run!” After the boat started the journey, they shouted, “She’ll never stop!” Fulton delivered the passengers to Albany before noon the next day. He also proposed using torpedoes to defend harbors, and President Jefferson gave this serious consideration.
      Emperor Napoleon announced that American ships would no longer be exempt from his ultimatum that they must be for or against France, and he sent an army to invade neutral Portugal. The British demanded that the Americans reject Napoleon’s decree if they wanted to trade with England and its colonies. Feeling undercut because the US Congress sent over William Pinkney, Monroe left England on October 29. The British Foreign Secretary George Canning finally sent a message regarding the Chesapeake that arrived in late November, admitting that the United States was entitled to reparations; but he argued that Americans had also committed hostile acts by enlisting deserters. Because he would not discuss impressments, the American instructions were not to talk to him. On December 8 Jefferson sent Canning’s message and related papers to the Congress without making any recommendations.

      On November 11 the British government’s Order in Council announced that any ship trading with France would be subject to confiscation unless they went to a British port and got a license. This gave Jefferson justification for an embargo. On December 11 the US Congress passed a bill to build more gunboats, and they appropriated $1 million for fortifications. On October 17 King George had proclaimed that all naval officers were to impress sailors from neutral merchant ships, and on December 17 the proclamation was published in the National Intelligencer. On the same day Napoleon issued his Milan Decree that subjected any neutral ship that had visited a British port or had anything to do with the British to be treated as a British ship which could be captured by French warships.
      The long-suspended Non-Importation Act of 1806 was scheduled to go back into operation on December 14. Jefferson wanted neither war nor submission, and he hoped that an embargo would cause the least pain while protecting the nation. On the 16th the Jefferson administration decided not to trade abroad at all, and Gallatin warned against using coercion to enforce the embargo. Two days later Jefferson gave Congress documents showing that American ships, sailors, and merchandise were threatened by both England and France, and the Senate passed the Embargo Bill, followed by the House on December 21.
      President Jefferson signed the Embargo Act the next day. American ships were not allowed to go to foreign ports without the President’s permission, but foreign ships were still permitted to bring goods into American ports. Coasting vessels could still trade in the United States, but they had to post a bond that was double the value of the ship and its cargo. By keeping American ships at home Jefferson hoped that he would prevent their capture becoming a cause of war. Gallatin opposed this because he believed that enforcing it would cause problems. He warned that governmental prohibitions could do more mischief than expected. Madison liked the policy and wrote anonymous editorials in the National Intelligencer arguing that it would make war impossible and impose only minor hardships on Americans while disrupting European trade. Tens of thousands of slaves in the West Indies suffered from lack of food, but the Europeans were not that much affected.
      On 8 January 1808 Congress passed a second embargo act that made punishments for disobeying more serious; merchants and captains could be driven out of business for one violation. The next day Jefferson signed this Enforcement Act. George Rose arrived as a special envoy for Britain in mid-January. The British would make reparations if Jefferson would stop prohibiting Royal Navy ships in American waters. Madison negotiated, but on February 7 Rose insisted that the United States disavow harboring and retaining British deserters. Madison asked the English to relinquish the pressing of American citizens from public and private ships. Rose continued to insist that the US repeal the proclamation of July 2 before he would discuss reparations, and negotiation collapsed on March 18.
      On January 21 Virginia legislators had met and voted 140 for Madison and only 50 for Monroe for the presidency because Monroe was associated with John Randolph. On February 25 Jefferson requested an increase in the standing army from about 2,500 men to 6,000 to be supplemented by 24,000 volunteers. He had underestimated the extent to which merchants and their ships would go to engage in war-time profiteering.
      Congress passed the third embargo act on March 12, prohibiting the export of any goods by land or sea with a fine of $10,000 and forfeiture of the goods, and penalties for the first two acts were increased. This blocked trade with Canada and Spanish territory. Protesting spread, and many merchants ignored the law by smuggling goods without papers. Upper New England and New York continued to trade actively with Canada. The old Federalist Timothy Pickering met with Rose, tried to form a pro-British party, and urged Canning to be tough on the United States. Pickering criticized the US policy and urged legislatures in the commercial states to nullify the embargo. In the March elections the Federalists in Massachusetts regained control of both houses of the legislature and nearly defeated the Republican Governor James Sullivan. Jefferson reacted on March 22 by giving Congress massive diplomatic documents.
      After consulting with Gallatin on March 30 Jefferson recommended that Congress empower collectors to seize cargoes without a warrant or a trial in violation of the 4th and 5th amendments of the Constitution. On April 4 Gallatin made a detailed report on roads and canals that the President sent to the Senate two days later. Jefferson also asked Congress to authorize him to use the Army and Navy to enforce the embargo law, and on April 12 Congress established a regular army of eight divisions “for a limited time.” On these they spent $2 million plus $1 million on land fortifications, $850,000 for gunboats, and $250,000 to arm the militia. On the 18th Jefferson proclaimed the region of Lake Champlain in a state of insurrection, and he ordered all state and local officials to suppress the rebellion. The governors of Vermont and New York reluctantly called out their militias to stop the smuggling. Local residents protested. On April 25 the President signed the Enforcement Act that was aimed at coastal trading and increased the required bond to three times the value of the ship and its cargo. Penalties were stiff, and armed forces could be used. On the 30th he sent instructions to Pinkney in London that he could offer to withdraw the embargo if England withdrew its Orders in Council. On May 6 Jefferson prohibited the moving of flour unless a governor of the importing state had issued a certificate of need. On May 15 the President wrote to Treasury Secretary Gallatin, “I place immense value in the experiment being fully made, how far an embargo may be an effectual weapon in future as well as on this occasion.”31
      These severe laws were challenged in courts, and on May 28 the Republican Supreme Court Justice William Johnson in the Circuit Court ruled that the President had exceeded his authority. Jefferson stopped trusting the courts and imposed martial law. The issuing of certificates corrupted some governors such as Sullivan in Massachusetts who issued certificates of need for 49,800 barrels of flour, 99,400 bushels of corn, 560 tierces of rice, and 2,000 bushels of rye just for Alexandria and Georgetown in Virginia. After five men recaptured a confiscated raft of lumber on Lake Champlain, they were charged with treason; but in October the Republican Justice Brockholst Livingston acquitted them and denounced the indictment. Jefferson used even more armed force in July, and Gallatin complained that his orders were devastating economic enterprise. On July 29 Gallatin said that Congress must either give the President arbitrary power to enforce the embargo, or they must give it up. In August the President called out the Army and the Navy to the northern frontier. Battles broke out, and some people were killed. Jefferson accused entire towns of treason in November. Madison suffered a breakdown with epileptic seizures. Fishermen in Nova Scotia were also suffering.
      Republicans in Congress met in a formal caucus. An attempt by Monroe and Vice President Clinton to make common cause against Madison failed as Madison won 83 to 6. They decided to renominate Clinton for Vice President in order to retain New York Republicans behind Madison. Federalists held the first national nominating convention in New York secretly, and they kept the same ticket as in 1804 with C. C. Pinckney and Rufus King as their candidates. In the presidential election Madison got 122 electoral votes to 47 for Pinckney, and Vice President Clinton was re-elected. Federalists continued to control the legislatures of Connecticut and Delaware, and they regained New York, most of New England, and the lower house in Maryland. Federalists won 70% of the Congressional seats in the states north and east of Pennsylvania, but none in the southern states and Pennsylvania.
      James Nelson Barker wrote the sentimental comedy Tears and Smiles that was produced in 1807. The next year his play The Embargo; or, What News? was performed in Philadelphia, but its text has been lost. Merchants who believed it was biased toward the Jefferson administration instigated a riot. Also in 1808 Barker’s operatic melodrama The Indian Princess played out the adventures of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas in the first Virginia colony with an emphasis on her romance and marriage to tobacco planter John Rolfe.
      In his eighth and last annual message to Congress on November 8 Jefferson discussed the embargo and regretted that it had not yet been suspended. He noted that in the previous year they had built 103 gunboats. He recognized the constitutional right of Congress to declare war and left that choice to them, writing,

Under a continuance of the belligerent measures which,
in defiance of laws which consecrate the rights of neutrals,
overspread the ocean with danger,
it will rest with the wisdom of Congress to decide
on the course best adapted to such a state of things;
and bringing with them, as they do, from every part
of the Union the sentiments of our constituents,
my confidence is strengthened that in forming this decision
they will, with an unerring regard to the essential rights
and interests of the nation, weigh and compare
the painful alternatives out of which a choice is to be made.
Nor should I do justice to the virtues which
on other occasions have marked the character
of our fellow citizens if I did not cherish an equal confidence
that the alternative chosen, whatever it may be,
will be maintained with all the fortitude and patriotism
which the crisis ought to inspire.32

The crisis was forcing them to develop internal manufacturing and improvements. He was also gratified to report that by avoiding war the national debt was being paid off. He proposed using the increasing revenues to improve roads, canals, rivers, and education. After Madison was elected President, Jefferson decided to let him originate the policy for the measures he would have to enforce. In early December the Congress voted never to submit to edicts of France or Britain, making France as much an adversary as England, and they promised military preparations.
      American exports, which had reached $108,343,000 in 1807, fell to only $22,430,000 in 1808 while imports declined from $138,000,000 to $56,990,000. Government revenue for 1808 was still more than $17 million, but in 1809 it would fall to less than $8 million. Americans in the east were suffering economic difficulty. The embargo provoked resistance, and some Federalists threatened to divide the Union. On December 28 the township of Bath in Maine passed a resolution calling for committees of correspondence to protect the rights of states from infringement by any officer of the United States. This became a model for similar resolutions in January 1809 by Gloucester, Plymouth, Newburyport, Hampshire County, and others. The Federalist Massachusetts legislature confirmed them. Governor Sullivan had died in December and was replaced by Jefferson’s former Attorney General Levi Lincoln. Moderate Federalists called a convention of commercial states at Hartford to declare the embargo measures unconstitutional. Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut also convened the legislature, and on February 4 he wrote to Secretary of War Dearborn that he would not enforce the embargo. On the 23rd the Connecticut legislature interposed itself against the federal government.
      Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Giles asked Treasury Secretary Gallatin to suggest ways to improve the effectiveness of the embargo while diminishing its bad effect on Americans. The ambivalent Gallatin proposed stricter enforcement but then tried to dissuade Congress from that legislation. Gallatin hoped to limit customhouses rather than capture ships. In the latest embargo act passed on 6 January 1809 coasting vessels had to secure bonds for six times the value of the ship and cargo, and legal defenses for violators were dismissed. On January 9 the Congress passed laws authorizing the use of the Army and the Navy, and they called for the new Congress to meet in May. Town meetings were held in New England and New York to complain, and the legislatures of Massachusetts and Connecticut adopted resolutions suggesting that the Union be dismembered.
      Ezekiel Bacon of Massachusetts consulted with John Quincy Adams who had left the Senate and joined the Republicans. Bacon tried to persuade Republicans in January to repeal the embargo. On January 24 Wilson Cary Nicholas moved to repeal it by June 1, but on February 1 the House rejected the June date. The Republican leader William Giles proposed a compromise to repeal the embargo for all countries except England and France, and all foreign ships could be interdicted in American waters. Congress passed this on February 28. The House had voted on February 4 to end the embargo entirely on March 4, the last day of Jefferson’s presidency. Both houses did not agree until February 27, and on March 1 Jefferson signed the Non-Intercourse Act that ended all the embargoes and closed American ports to the British and French after May 20, 1809. The embargo had cost Americans $50,000,000 in exports, and Jefferson estimated that a war could have been waged for a third of that. He had sent William Short to Russia six months before to begin diplomatic relations with Czar Alexander I; but he did not request he be appointed minister until the last days of his presidency, and on February 27 the Senators rejected it unanimously. In eight years under Jefferson the Republicans had reduced the national debt by about $40 million. On March 4 Jefferson attended the inauguration of his successor Madison, and a week later he went home to Monticello, never leaving the Blue Ridge Mountains in the last seventeen years of his life.


1. Writings by Thomas Jefferson, p. 105.
2. Ibid., p. 106, 108, 115.
3. Ibid., p. 32.
4. Ibid., p. 85.
5. Ibid.
6. “First Inaugural Address” in Writings by Thomas Jefferson, p. 492-496.
7. “The Revolution of 1800 To John Dickinson” in Writings by Thomas Jefferson, p. 1084-1085.
8. History of the United States During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson by Henry Adams, p. 145.
9. Ibid., p. 145-146.
10. Writings by Thomas Jefferson, p. 1093.
11. Ibid., p. 502.
12. Ibid., p. 507.
13. National Intelligencer, July 8, 1803.
14. Writings by Thomas Jefferson, p. 501.
15. Ibid. p. 512-513.
16. Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Volume 1, p. 371-372.
17. Writings by Thomas Jefferson, p. 546.
18. “Opinion in Marbury v. Madison” in Writings by John Marshall, p. 252.
19. “Third Annual Message” in Writings by Thomas Jefferson, p. 511-512.
20. Ibid. p. 515-517.
21. History of the United States During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson by Henry Adams, p. 431.
22. Ibid. p. 543-544.
23. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908 ed. James D. Richardson, Volume 1, 370-371.
24. Ibid. p. 381.
25. History of the United States During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson by Henry Adams, p. 576.
26. Writings by Thomas Jefferson, p. 525.
27. Ibid. p. 527.
28. Ibid. p. 528.
29. Aaron Burr: The Conspiracy and Years of Exile 1805-1836 by Milton Lomask, p. 34.
30. The Winning of the West, Volume 4, by Theodore Roosevelt, p. 343.
31. History of the United States During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson by Henry Adams, p. 1100-1101.
32. Writings by Thomas Jefferson, p. 544-545.

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United States & Civil War 1845-1865

Jeffersonian Democracy 1801-1809
Madison & the War of 1812
US Era of Monroe & J. Q. Adams 1817-29
Native Tribes, Removal & the West
Jacksonian Democracy 1829-37
US Depression, Van Buren & Tyler 1837-44
US Slavery & Abolitionists 1801-44
Women Reforming America 1801-44
American Philosophy & Religion 1801-44
Emerson’s Transcendentalism
Literature of Irving, Cooper & Whittier
Summary & Evaluating America 1801-44

World Chronology
Chronology of America

BECK index