The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


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