The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson
FOREIGN RELATIONS / BRITAIN AND FRANCE AT WAR
We are going on here in the same spirit still. The Anglophobia has
seized violently on three members of our council. This sets almost
every day on questions of neutrality.
Everything, my dear Sir, hangs up6n the opinion of a single person,
and that the most indecisive one I ever had to do business with. He
always contrives to agree in principle with one, but in conclusion
with the other. Anglophobia, secret anti-gallomany, a
federalisme outré, and a present ease in his
circumstances not usual, have decided the complexion of our
dispositions, and our proceedings towards the conspirators against
human liberty, and the asserters of it, which is unjustifiable in
principle, in interest, and in respect to the wishes of our
constituents. A manly neutrality, claiming the liberal right ascribed
to that condition by the very persons at war, was the part we should
have taken, and would I believe have given satisfaction to our allies.
If anything prevents its being a mere English neutrality, it will be
that the penchant of the President is not that way, and above all, the
ardent spirit of our constituents. The line is now drawn so clearly as
to show on one side, 1. The fashionable circles of Philadelphia, New
York, Boston and Charleston, (natural aristocrats), 2. Merchants
trading on British capital, 3. Paper men (all the old tories are found
in some one of the three descriptions). On the other side are, 1.
Merchants trading on their own capital. 2. Irish merchants. 3.
Tradesmen, mechanics, farmers, and every other possible description of
our citizens. Genet is not yet arrived though hourly expected.
to James Madison, 13 May 1793