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1913, V. 2

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive

in 2010 witii funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center


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American Historical Association




Vol, II






December 31, 1913.





Edited by Elizabeth Donnan.


Such a collection of papers as is here presented derives its value
both from the importance of the era with which it deals and from
the relation of its central figure to the events of that era. In the
present case there can be no question concerning the significance of
the period. The apt phrase " the critical period " might well have
been applied to the years 1796-1815 when the Republic was still
struggling to find herself, to adjust her relations to European coun-
tries, and to gain recognition from them as an independent nation.
Nor can there be doubt of the importance of Bayard's relation to all
this. Entering Congress as a member of the dominant party, he
continued his service after that party's downfall and indeed, partly
because of local conditions and family connections but largely be-
cause of his own character, rendered his most valuable service after
the removal of the Federalists from power.

Though few families in our history have contributed so many men
to public life as has the Bayard family yet little from the pens of its
members or concerning them has found its way into print. The
history of the Bayards in America carries us back to 1647, when
there came from Holland to New Amsterdam with Peter Stuyvesant,
his sister Anna, widow of Samuel Bayard, bringing with her three
sons and one daughter. The James A. Bayard of the present volume
was descended from the oldest of these sons, Petrus, who accumulated
land in both New York and Maryland and who was for a time identi-
fied with the Labadists of Bohemia Manor. Samuel, the oldest son
of Petrus, returned to Bohemia Manor, where his father had re-
mained but a short time, and there married, first, Elizabeth Sluyter,
and later, Susanne Bouchelle, and built the home which for many
years remained the Bayard home. Here his son James brought his
wife Mary Ashton (as the name was then spelled)^ and here the first
James Ashton Bayard was born, August 11, 1738. Of this James A.
Bayard little is recorded; he became a surgeon, he married in 1760
Agnes Hodge, ten years later he died, leaving three children, John
Hodge, James Asheton, and Jane. His twin brother. Col. John
Bayard, who had married Margaret Hodge, a sister of Agnes, and
who had become by this time a prominent Philadelphia merchant,
took his brother's children at once into his home, where they were

1 See p. 204, note 2.


raised with his own large family. James, the second of these chil-
dren, was but three years old at the time of his father's death (he
was born July 28, 1767), and knew, therefore, no other home.

The James A. Bayard of this book was graduated from Princeton
in the class of 1781, delivering the English salutatory, his cousin
Samuel being the valedictorian of the class. He at once began the
study of law, first in the office of Joseph Reed, later with Jared Inger-
soll. He was admitted to the Philadelphia bar September 8, 1787,
but could have practised there little if at all, for not long after this
date he moved to Delaware, where, February 11, 1795, he married
Ann Bassett, daughter of Richard Bassett, at that time chief justice
of the State. In 1797 he was admitted to the bar of Newcastle
County. From May, 1797, to March, 1803, he served in the House
of Representatives, during which time he was one of the managers of
the impeachment of William Blount and cast the deciding vote in the
Jefferson-Burr presidential contest. His service in the House was
followed by his election to the Senate, where he sat from January,
1805, till he resigned in May, 1813, to go to Russia as joint commis-
sioner with Adams and Gallatin when Alexander I offered to mediate
between Great Britain and the United States.

On the failure of this commission he was appointed one of the
five commissioners to treat directly with Great Britain, and did
his share in bringing to a successful termination the peace negotia-
tions at Ghent. During much of his stay in Europe he was far
from well, and he unhesitatingly refused the appointment as min-
ister to Russia in order that he might return home without further
delay. He sailed from England June 18, 1815, already very ill;
arrived in Wilmington July 31, and died August 6.

These are the facts of his life, told briefly, yet practically all
that is of record concerning him. The letters which follow add
many details, but their biographical interest lies in the insight which
they give into Bayard's character. As the virtual leader of the
Southern Federalists, he appears uniformly sane and moderate.
Throughout the letters there is little evidence of sympathy with the
radical ISTew England group or of communication with them. Nor
is there anything that smacks of self-seeldng or the playing of
petty, partizan politics. His attitude is that of a man who, believ-
ing his own party to be possessed of superior political wisdom, is
nevertheless willing to do whatever lies in his power for the country
as a whole, even though it must be done through the opposing party.
His recognition of the necessity for the Federalists to give way in
the Jefferson-Burr contest and his willingness to serve with Adams
and Gallatin on the St. Petersburg mission, though he recognized
the limitations under which he must act, are signal examples of this
attitude. He was not a great statesman, he had not a mind of


marked originality or vision, but he was a careful and judicious
lawyer, with a thoroughly competent grasp of thesubjects with which
he dealt, a sincere and high-minded public servant, and a warm-
hearted and amiable man. That he gained not only the respect but
also the devotion of those who came into close association with him is
clearly shown in the letters, as is also his devotion to his family, the
separation from which never ceased to be a source of sorrow to him.

In the wider historical field with which they deal one can scarcely
expect from these papers new facts of the first importance or start-
ling interpretations. A field already covered by the " Writings "
of Monroe, of Madison, of Jefferson, and of Hamilton, by Adams's
voluminous " Memoirs," and by the " Writings " of Gallatin can
hardly yield a large harvest. Yet there is often fresh light thrown
on well-known events, and the angle from which Bayard observes
and writes is an additional help to us in our effort to gain an under-
standing of the period. In addition to Adams's account of the doings
of the Ghent commissioners, in his "Memoirs" and in the "Writ-
ings " recently published, and to the materials published in the
"American State Papers, Foreign Relations," there comes to hand
just as this volume goes to press a presentation of the British re-
ports of the negotiations in the Massachusetts Historical Society
" Proceedings " for December, 1914, which may most profitably be
read in connection with this volume.

The only considerable collection of Bayard's letters previously
published appeared in the " Bulletin " of the New York Public
Library for July, 1900, and was later published in the " Papers "
of the Delaware Historical Society for 1901 (XXXI). These letters,
taken from a letter book presented to the New York Public Library
by Philip Schuyler, were written to Caesar A, Eodney, a distant
relative and a lifelong friend of Bayard, though in politics an oppo-
nent. Extending from 1802 to 1814, and occupied largely with politi-
cal affairs, they will often be found interesting reading in connection
with the present volume. To these letters, as well as to other letters
of Bayard in print, reference is made throughout the volume at the
proper chronological points.

The majority of the papers here presented are a part of the col-
lection of papers of Mr. Richard H. Bayard, of Baltimore, great-
grandson of this first Senator Bayard, and grandson of the second,
Richard Henry, and have been generously lent by him for the use of
the Historical Manuscripts Commission. He has also been of the
greatest assistance in supplying many of the details concerning
Bayard's family which have been incorporated into the notes of this
volume. In addition to the letters, this collection also contains a
diary of Bayard's European experiences which, while it intentionally
omits official business, is of interest with respect to the social history


of the expedition and of the times. The book in which this diary
is kept is of large dimensions, and probably proved inconvenient
during the difficult winter journey from St. Petersburg to Berlin in
January and February, 1814. Its entries stop with the arrival at
Riga on February 3. They are continued, in the form of brief jot-
tings, in two small note-books, red and green. There are also in the
collection numerous letters to him, as well as letters exchanged be-
tween others connected with the two missions.

The largest group of letters other than Bayard's is a group of
fourteen letters by Robert Goodloe Harper, which possess consider-
able historical interest. Harper, it will be remembered, was a mem-
ber of the House of Representatives from South Carolina from
1795 till 1801 and a Senator from Maryland in 1816. These letters
were written while he was a Member of the House, their aim being
to acquaint his constituents with the doings of Congress.^ They
are apparently privately printed circulars, one of which was included
in his volume of "Select Works" ("Volume I") published in 1814.
It seems not improbable that the corrections and additions found in
this collection of prints were made for the purpose of including
these letters in a second volume, which was never published.

Those letters and papers in Mr. Bayard's collection which have not
been printed in this volume deal with private and family matters
which add nothing to our knowledge of the man or his times or else
are purely formal and ceremonial papers. Wherever no reference to
the source of the manuscript is given the paper comes from these
family archives of Mr. Richard H. Bayard.

To this principal collection a considerable addition has been made
from the papers of Mr. Thomas F. Bayard, of Wilmington, Del.
(also a great-grandson of the first Senator Bayard, but grandson of
the third, James A. Bayard the younger, and son of the fourth, the late
Senator and Secretary Thomas F. Bayard) , who has been equally gen-
erous in affording access to his manuscripts. The papers referred to
throughout the volume as belonging to the collection of his sister,
Mrs. W. S. Hilles, are not copied from her manuscripts, which were
not accessible, but are from copies which had already been made by

> Of contemporary Republican opinion of Harper's writings and speeches an idea may be
gained from a paragraph in the Aurora of February 4, 1799 : " What is 17,000 dollars to
a man who makes speeches of so much merit that they are read with unbounded applause
at Downing Street, and even in the virtuous purlieus of St. James's Court ! and which run
through five editions in London — printing expenses paid by Lord Orenville."

That the writing of such letters by members of Congress may have been no uncommon
thing may be inferred from the following sentence in a letter of John Adams to Jefferson
June 30, 1813 : " But, above all, shall I request you to collect the circular letters from
members of Congress In the middle and southern States to their constituents? I would
give all 1 am worth for a complete collection of those letters" (" Works of John Adams ",
X, 48). Yet it seems that almost none of them have been preserved. These from Harper,
at any rate, are so nearly unique that it has been thought proper to treat them as


her brother. In addition to these two sources, a few scattered letters
from other places have been included. That a letter has already ap-
peared in print has not been considered a sufficient reason for its
exclusion in case it helps to an understanding of Bayard's political
relations or serves as a connecting link in the story of the political
life around him.

In editing, the endeavor has been to preserve absolute accuracy in
spelling and capitalization, but it has been thought allowable to
depart from the punctuation of the manuscript in some cases where
to follow it with Chinese fidelity would result in misleading or con-
fusing the reader.

Some words of explanation are requisite regarding the two por-
traits which appear in the frontispiece, and to one of them a story
of some interest is attached. The first is a portrait by St. Memin, of
about 1798, and is reproduced, by the kindness of Mr. Richard H.
Bayard, from the original copper-plate still in his possession. The
other, also possessed by Mr. R. H. Bayard, is from a pencil portrait
made in Ghent at the time of the peace negotiations. "V\Tien Dr.
Jameson, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, was in that city
in September, 1912, he had some talk with a member of the local
committee charged with the celebration which it was proposed to
carry out on December 24, 1914, on the occasion of the centennial
anniversary of the treaty. This gentleman declared that it was
understood in Ghent that P. van Huffel, the leading painter of
Ghent and president of the Academy of Design at the time of the
treaty, had made a picture or pictures of the American Commission ;
and he asked Dr. Jameson to see if any of them could be found in
America. Inquiries were at first unsuccessful, but before long Mr.
Worthington C. Ford found among the papers of John Quincy
Adams a letter to Mrs. Adams, apparently from Paris, January 24,
1815, from which the following is an extract:

A few days before Messrs. Bayard, Clay, and Gallatin left this
city Mr. Van Huffel, a Painter and President of the Societe des Beaux
Arts, took a fancy to have likenesses of the American Ministers, in
miniature, drawn with a black lead pencil. Those gentlemen all sat
to him each an hour or two, and after their departure I went to his
house for the same purpose. But after he had begun with his pencil
he persuaded himself, and by dint of importunity persuaded me, to
let him put the figure upon canvas instead of paper, and in oil-
colours instead of black lead. It was also understood that the picture
was to be not for him, but for me ; that is to say, if you think it worth
your acceptance, for you. The likeness is good, and the picture not a
bad one. I have it here to be finished, and then forwarded — to Eng-
land or to America as the circumstances shall require.^

The late Mr. Charles Francis Adams knew nothing of the portrait
above referred to, but with his aid it was traced and found to be in

iFord, " Writings of J. Q. Adams," V, 272.


the possession of a descendant in New York — an oil portrait, full
length, representing Adams in court costume and with the parch-
ment of the Treaty of Ghent in his hand. Shortly after, through the
kind aid of Mrs. A. L. Sioussat, a series of five pencil portraits, small
but finely executed and perfectly preserved, of the Americans at
Ghent — Adams, Bayard, Clay, Gallatin, and Christopher Hughes,
the secretary of the Commission, was found in Baltimore in the pos-
session of a grandson of the latter. They appear to have been pre-
sented by van Huffel to Hughes in March, 1817, when the latter
passed through Ghent on his way to occupy the post of minister to
Sweden. It may be conjectured that the painter originally made the
sketches with a view to the execution of a large general painting of
the two commissions, after the manner of the old Dutch " corpora-
tion pieces," but that two years later, seeing that he would not be
able to carry out this plan, perhaps for lack of sketches of the British
commissioners, he turned over to Hughes, for transmission to Amer-
ica, the sketches he had made.

The pencil portrait in the possession of Mr. R. H. Bayard is a
duplicate of that which figures in the Hughes series. On the back is
penciled, apparently by the artist, this memorandum: "Portrait de
Monsieur Bayard, Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats unis d'ameri-
que au Congres de Gand. Dessine par P. van Huffel, Janvier 1815.
Presente a Monsieur Christophe Hughes (Secretaire de la legation
americaine au dit Congres, Ambassadeur aupres de la Cour de Suede)
a son Passage de Gand le 13 mars 1817, par I'auteur." The portrait
is attached within the covers of a pamphlet entitled " Bouquet offert
aux Bienfaiteurs de la Societe Eoyale d'Agriculture et de Botanique
a Gand; par N. Cornelissen, Membre de cette Societe," to which is
also affixed a letter of respectful condolence addressed to Mrs. Bayard
at the same time (March 12, 1817) by Mr. Cornelissen.

In conclusion it remains only to add that in the editing of these
papers I have been much indebted to the constant kindly assistance
of Dr. J. Franklin Jameson, who has not only collected the papers
but has wisely guided every step of the work and has also from the
abundance of his knowledge added many useful notes.

Elizabeth Donnan.



Robert G. Harper^ to his Constituents.

Philadelphia, March 9th^ 1796.^
Within a few days past, my Dear Sir, the Spanish ^ and Algerine *
Treaties have been ratified by the President and Senate, and the
former will probably be laid before the House of Representatives
to-day or to-morrow. It is already in possession of the Indian
Treaty ; ^ and that with Britain ^ has also at length arrived, and been
presented to the House. It will probably proceed upon all of them
in a short time ; except that with Spain, the ratifications of which are
to be exchanged with the Spanish Court in about two months.

These four Treaties have removed all our causes of difference with
other nations, and leave us at peace with all manldnd, except the
two small States of Tunis and Tripoli in the neighbourhood of Al-
giers. But they are too inconsiderable to molest our commerce in
any considerable degree.

The Spanish Treaty is very favourable. It settles our dispute about
boundary in our own way, by establishing the most northern part
of the 31st degree as the line between us and Florida. This is the
same line established by the Treaty of Peace with Great Britain.
It is to be run at the joint expence of the American and Spanish
Governments, within six months after the ratification. The Span-
iards also give up the free navigation of the Mississippi to our
people, from its head to the sea, and grant us the free use of New
Orleans as a place to deposit our goods at for three years. After
the expiration of that period they are to let us continue £here, or give

1 Robert Goodloe Harper (1765-1825), a member of tUe House from South Carolina
from 1795 till 1801, and a member of the Senate from Maryland from 1816 till 1821.

2 The printed letter Is headed as follows in the original print : " Letter from Mr. Har-
per to one of his constituents, on the 9th of March, 1796 ; containing a summary view of
public measures, and of the situation of the country at that [time]."

8 The treaty of San Lorenzo, or Pinckney treaty, concluded Oct. 27, 1795 ; ratification
advised by the Senate Mar. 3, 1796.

* Treaty of Sept. 5, 1795 ; ratification advised by the Senate Mar. 2, 1796.

= Wayne's Greenville treaty of Aug. 3, 1795.

' Jay's treaty was ratified June 24, 1795 ; the debate on the measures necessary to
give force to it began in the House Mar. 7, 1796.



US some other place on the river equally convenient. They also
agree not to lay embargoes on our goods or vessels in their ports;
that free ships shall make free goods; that they will, as far as pos-
sible, maintain peace between the Indians on our and those on
their side of the line; and will make no treaty with our Indians,
except treaties of peace. They agree further that our citizens may
recover debts or property from persons in their dominions, either
Spaniards or others; and for that purpose shall have the full aid
of the Laws and Government. These are the principal stipulations.
There are some others of less importance, and they are all mutual.

By the Algerine Treaty it is agreed that our vessels, as well as
our citizens and their effects, shall pass free and unmolested; that
we may trade to their ports, paying only the usual duties, and no
duty on naval and military stores ; that if any of our citizens, having
regular pass-ports to prove their citizenship, shall be taken on
board of the vessels of powers at war with the Algcrines, they shall
be immediately discharged; that American citizens who commit any
offence in their dominions, shall be punished in the same manner as
their own subjects, and not more severely; that the Dey himself shall
decide all disputes between American citizens and his subjects, and
the American Consul between citizens themselves; that in case of
war the consul and citizens of America may depart with their effects,
free from molestation; and that no American vessels taken by the
other Barbary States, shall be sold in the ports of Algiers. In con-
sideration of this treaty, which contains some other less important
stipulations, and of the release of all our citizens who were prisoners
among them, we pay them a large sum in hand, and about 25,000
dollars annually.

A few days ago a motion was made in the House of Representa-
tives, for requesting the President to lay before it for its information,
" all the instructions and papers relating to the negociation of the
British Treaty, except such papers as relate to any negociation now
depending."^ This motion was taken up yesterday. After it had
been debated some time, Mr. Madison, observing that in its present
form it was liable to objections, moved that the last part of it should
be struck out and the following words added, "except such papers
as in his opinion cannot consistently w^ith the interest of the United
States now be made known." This amendment is to be taken up
to day. Should it pass, the motion in that form w411 probably be
agreed to.

Of the important bills before Congress, the land Law ^ is the only
one that has made much progress. The quantity of land that the
government has for sale is something more than 9,000,000 of acres.

1 Mar. 2. "Annals ", 4 Cong., 1 sess., 400, 424.
» Introduced Jan. 26. Ibid., 267, 327 ff.


It has been agreed to divide it into tracts of six miles square, one
half of which to be subdivided into tracts of one mile square, for
the accommodation small purchasers. These tracts are then to be
numbered, and after sufficient notice to be sold to the highest bidder ;
the large tracts at the seat of government, and the small ones in the
country where they lay. The lowest price is to be two dollars an acre ;
one half cash and the rest in one and two years.

It has been proposed to make three alterations in the excise laws.^
1st. To lay the duty in all cases, on the still, and not on the liquor dis-
tilled. 2dly. To make the collection by means of the state tax col-
lectors; and 3dly. to direct that penalties and forfeitures shall be sued
for in the state courts, instead of compelling persons sued to attend at
a great distance and heavy expence, in the federal courts. The first
proposition has been agreed to, as far as relates to the distillation of
home materials. The second is found impossible, because the laws
and constitutions of several states forbid their officers to hold any
employment under the United States. The third has not yet been
agreed to, but we hope it will.

The House has directed a bill to be brought in, for the protection
and relief of American seamen impressed into foreign service.^ It
appears that the number impressed is not so great as formerly, and
that in most cases where representations have been made, those who
were really American citizens have been released. But still there

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