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as the swords of the Goths and vandals.

I send you the last number of Peter/ it does not contain much
but I believe all the news that is passing.

Your dft. has been accepted and I presume will be paid when due.

Mi-s. Fullerton has it not in her power to accommodate Ann ^ and
Mary^ this winter; and I have not been able to hear of any other
lodgings which will suit them.

Mrs. Bassett I hope is quite well. I find so much more kindness
and goodness in her character than I discover in the actions of any-
body else, that no one I think can know her, without esteeming and
loving her.

Bayakd to William H. Wells.

Philadelphia, Jan. £5, 1798.
[See Turner, " Some Records of Sussex County, Delaware ",

Bayard to Bassett.

House Reps., 7, Fehy. 1798.
My dear Sir: According to your directions I paid Mr. Hazzard
200 dollars for Mr. Tennent and enclose you his receipt for the same.
Mr. White will also pay you 80 dols. which I believe is nearly the
amount of your Draught. It was deposited in Bank and I have not
my book here and therefore cannot tell the exact sum. What ever
the difference is must be remembered between us. We have no for-
eign intelligence, and the President has assured his friends that he
has not yet received a line from the Commissioners in France.

* [Peter] Porcupine's Gazette.

* Bayard's wife, the daugliter of Richard Bassett.

^Though most sketches of the life of Richard Bassett speak of Ann as his only
daughter, it seems ca-tain that there was a second daughter, Mary, who is probably
referred to here. In a deed made by Governor Bassett's brother-in-law, Henry Ennalls,
June 8, 1803, he refers to the representatives of his sister, "Ann Bayard (formerly
Bassett) and Mary Bassett the only children and heirs of Ann Bassett, deceased, for-
merly wife of Richard Bassett and before ner marriage Ann Ennalls." From the fact
that in a deed of Dec. 27, 1817, Ann Bayard is spoken of as the " only daughter and heir
at law of Richard Bassett " it is evident that Mary died between 1803 and 1817. For this
Information I am indebted to Mr. Richard H. Bayard of Baltimore.


The House is still occupied with the disgraceful business of Lyon.^
We have not yet gone thro' the evidence and the debates on the sub-
ject will probabl}^ consume much time. We have little hopes of
expelling the Beast, tho I believe there is no doubt but a majority
will vote for the expulsion. Both Parties are in a state of high irri-
tation and think the Session will not go over without some blood

I was in Wilmington on Saturday, and left Ann, Mary and
Richard ^ all well at the time of my return.

The business of the House claims my attention and I must there-
fore lay down my pen not however without begging you to re-
member me affectionately to Mrs. B.

Bayard to Bassett.

Philadelphia, 13 Fehy. 1798.

Dear Sir: A Mr. Parish has called on me respecting a debt due
from the estate of Israel Brown of Sussex to Mr. Tyson. He ex-
pected I was acquainted with the business, but I have no Imowledge
of it. He spoke of a prior Judgment which interfered with the
debt and which was questionable on some grounds which he sup-
posed were well Icnown to you and of which he wished you to in-
form me.

We have taken the question on the resolution for Lyon's expulsion,
there were 52 for it and 44 agt. it and of consequence lost as the
constitution required the concurrence of two thirds.

We have the heads of some news arrived at Norfolk, but the details
have not yet appeared. It is said Comrs. are appointed by the
french Government to treat with our conmiissioners. Buonaparte
is in Paris and they are organizing the army of England.

I am obliged to attend to some business before the House and must
therefore bid you adieu. Love to Mrs. B.

Bayard to Bassett.

Philada., 16 Fehy. 1798.
Dear Sir : Yesterday Congress Hall exhibitted a spectacle unprece-
dented in the United States. Mr. Griswold who had waited to see
whether the House would do him justice for the grose insult offered
him by Lyon, the first moment he found Lyon in his seat, after the
decision took place attacked him with his cane and beat him in the
presence of the House very severely. It happened after prayers, but

1 Matthew Lyon (1746-1822), a Republican member of the House from Vermont, an-
gered by a taunt of Griswold of Connecticut, had spat at his opponent. The Federalists
attempted to expel him, but the resolution for expulsion failed, on Feb. 12, to gain the
requisite two-thirds vote. "Annals ", 5 Cong., 2 sess., 955, 1009.

» Bayard's eldest son, Richard Henry, born in 1796, and U. S. senator 1836-1845.


before the Speaker had called the House to order. Every thing was
confusion and uproar and the gallery and lobby were on the point of
breaking in upon us. The blood of the old soldier soon boiled in the
veins of General Morgan.^ He forgot his years and infirmities and
would not suffer any interference till he thought Lyon well flogged.
Some of the members of N. Carolina threatened to leave their seats
and go home. This makes no impression on the northern Gentlemen.
They are tired of draging on the Government against people whose
existence depends upon it. It is their common opinion that they can
do much better without the Southern States than with them.

We do not yet see the end of our late disturbance. The Parties in
congress are highly exasperated against each other, and a great deal
of warm blood is excited out of the House.

There is nothing new from Europe and nothing yet ofiicial from
our Commissioners.

Allen McClane ^ was in the lobby when the last fracas happened
in the Hall. A person beside him wished to enter the Bar to take
part with Lyon. McClane stopt him and told him the members
should settle their own business. Some words ensued, and the fel-
low told Allen, he would spit in his face. Allen demanded his name
and place of abode. The man gave his name and said he lived over
the mountains. Well Sir, said Allen, I tell you if you spit in my
face you will never go over the mountains again. Allen was highly
enraged, and he told me since that if the fellow had spit on him, he
would have killed him on the spot.

We are in a bad way and need the prayers of the righteous for our

With Love to Mrs. Bassett.

Bayard to Bassett.

Philadelphia, 19 Feby. 1798.
Dear Sir : I have been to the Swan Tavern ' to look after Dutch
servants for you. There are four of the importation remaining:
One Farmer two Taylors and one Gentleman. From some circum-
stance they took it into their heads that they were not bound to in-
denture themselves to pay their passages. They have in consequence
been all committed to jaol. The Farmer is about 32 years old, and
the price of him would be about 80 Dols. for 8 years. Perhaps a

»Geii. Daniel Morgan (1736-1802) of Virginia, who had served throughout the
Revolution, was from 1796-1798 a member of the House, and a staunch supporter of

2 Allan McLane (1746-1829), from 1789 to 1797 United States marshal in Delaware,
fi-om 1797 until his death collector of the port at Wilmington.

3 Swan Tavern, on the banks of the Schuylkill. The incident illustrates the position
of " redemptioners".

62513°— VOL 2—15 4


longer time could be procured. The Tavern Keeper spoke well
of him.

In consequence of the chastisement which Griswold gave Lyon a
new resolution for the expulsion of Both has been brought forward.
It is referred to a Comee. who are authorised to examine evidence
and to report it to the house with their opinion on the resolution.

I do not think that either of them will be expelled, and probably
nothing done to either of them.^

Tomorrow we take up the foreign intercourse Bill, upon which
a great deal remains to be said.^

We have reed, the details of the news by the Flora arrived at Nor-
folk. But there is nothing contained in them beside what I men-
tioned in my last letter.

With Best respects to Mrs. B.

Harper to his Constituents.

Philadelphia, March 9th, 1798.

By the enclosed paper, my dear sir, you will perceive that the long
expected intelligence from our commissioners in France has at length
arrived. It is of a complexion by no means agreeable, but not sur-
prising to those who have considered the arbitrary and unjust con-
duct, and ambitious views, of the French government, since their suc-
cesses in Europe have inspired them with an opinion that they are
able to domineer, at pleasure, over all other nations.

It appears that our commissioners arrived in Paris on the 27th
of September, with instructions to make an amicable and fair adjust-
ment of all our differences with France, and even to agree, for peace
sake, to all such concessions as were consistent with our own honor,
and our engagements with other nations. From that time till the 8th
of January, more than three months, they remained in Paris, with-
out being received or acknowledged by the French government, or in
any manner noticed, although they made frequent and respectful
applications for that purpose. At length the Directory, instead of
restraining depredations on our commerce in future, and promising
retribution for the past, have recommended it to the councils to pass
a law whereby every ship of ours, which has the least article on
board that was produced or manufactured in Britain or any of her

1 The resolution for the expulsion of Lyon and Griswold was referred to the com-
mittee of privileges, Feb. 16, and on the same day both members were required to
pledge their word that they would refrain from personal encounters during the session.
The committee reported Feb. 20, against expulsion, and on Feb. 23 the House agreed
to this report by a vote of 73 to 21. Bayard voted against accepting the report of the
committee. On the same day a resolution of censure was introduced which was not
passed. "Journal of the House ", 1798-1801, 185, 192-201.

2 The foreign intercourse bill was introduced from the committee of ways and means
by Harper, on Jan. 15, 1798, and passed the Flouse Mar. 6. Bayard had spoken on the
bill Jan. 22. "Annals ", 5 Cong., 2 sess., 830, 894, 1234.


dominions, altho' purchased and paid for by our citizens, will be
liable to capture and condemnation with the whole cargo.^ This
law, which is in effect a general declaration of war against our whole
trade, we are informed the councils have passed. Indeed there can be
no doubt of it; since the councils, at present, are completely under
the orders of the Directory, which has the army at its back.

Thus we find that every amicable advance on our part, is met by
a new outrage on the part of France ; that all our peaceable overtures
are repelled with contempt and disdain ; and that the French, regard-
ing us already as their subjects, behave to us as to subjects in
rebellion !

Are we my dear sir to submit; or shall we rouse once more the
spirit of '75 — once more join heart and hand in the defence of our
independence, and stake our lives and our fortunes on the event of the
contest ? The latter is my determination, and I have no doubt it will
be yours, and that of all our countrymen. At only fifteen years old,
I took up arms to resist the English, and I then resolved to live free
or die. At thirty-three my resolution is not altered, and I have no
doubt that all my constituents will join me in declaring that the
blood of our friends, our brothers, and our fathers, which flowed
at Kings-Mountain, the Cowpens, and so many other places, did not
flow in vain. I have no property to stake on the event, but I have
my life, which belongs to my country; and I promise my friends
that in the hour of danger they shall find me by their sides.

I cannot here forbear transcribing a passage from one of Gen.
Pinckney's letters to a friend of his here, the sentiments contained
in which are such as might be expected from him, and such as his
own state, I am well convinced, will never disown.

The condemnation of our vessels not only continues, but is unremittingly
urged. Our lawyers declare that there is no hope of success, and that it is
nugatory to attempt a defence. The newspapers, ichich are under the regulation
of the police, are filled with invectives against America ; and every mean is used
to prepare the public mind for hostilities against our country. I shall, notwith-
standing, do every thing in my power to preserve peace, and, if possible, effectu-
ate a reconciliation between this country and ours. If my attempts should be
fruitless, altho' I shall lament their ill success, I trust I shall meet the disap-
pointment with becoming fortitude. I am sure my countrymen will act with
coolness and heroism. I do not doubt but that they prize the independence of
their country as highly now as they ever did. and the different quarter from
which it is attacked, will not justify its surrender. We may lament the necessity
of defence ; but the preservation of the liberty and independence of our country,
is an indispensable duty.

There are other communications on this subject which the President
has not yet made to Congress. They have been promised, and as soon
as they are received, the matter will be taken up in the House very
seriously. I flatter myself that the time is now arrived when we shall
forget all our party divisions, and concur heartily in defending our

1 Decree of Jan. 18, 179S.


country. Of this I think there are some appearances. At any rate
I trust we shall be able to adopt such measures as may be judged nec-
essary for its defence, if not with unanimity, at least by a respectable
majority. What those measures will be cannot now be foreseen; but
they will, no doubt, be of a nature purely defensive, so as to avoid
open war, if possible, and leave France at full liberty to put an end
to the difference whenever she shall think fit to discontinue her

The capture and condenmation of our vessels still goes on, and
encreases. Two days ago an account was received of the capture, by
a French privateer, of a very rich ship from China belonging to this
place, and having no property but American on board.^ The loss is
computed at 500,000 dollars, the duties on which to the United States,
would have been between seventy and eighty thousand. This money
would have built a good frigate for the defence of our trade.

Various acts, but none of very great importance, have been passed
during the present session. A bill was brought in to repeal the stamp
act,^ but rejected by the Senate; who judged, and, as I think, very
properl}'^, that the revenue to arise from this act would be wanted, and
could in no other manner be raised with so much ease and convenience
to the people. As to the name of " stamp act " I cannot suppose that
the people of America will lay any stress upon that; for altho' we
formerly opposed this tax, it was not on account of its name or its
nature, but because it was attempted to be laid without our consent,
by a foreign nation, whose right to tax us, in any manner, we denied
and opposed. It does not follow from this that we ought to oppose
the same tax when laid by ourselves ; for at that rate we must oppose
the tax on tea, on painters colors, and a variety of other taxes, which
we resisted when attempted to be laid on us by Britain, but now
cheerfully pay, when they have been adopted by our own government.

I estimate the amount of this tax at between three and four hun-
dred thousand dollars; of which merchants, in the large trading
towns, will pay at least nine tenths. Hardly any papers used by
country people are stampt except notes and bonds, and they are ex-
empt when under twenty dollars. You may therefore guess how
much a farmer will pay. I might undertake to pay for the whole
county at a quarter of a dollar per head, a year, and make money by
it : Whereas there are merchants in this city who will pay annually,
in stamp Duties, 1000 dollars and upwards a piece. Yet these people
do not complain ; for they know that the public needs the money, and
that it cannot be raised in an easier or better manner.

1 The Aurora General Advertiser of Mar. 8 gives an account of the seizure of the
Islew Jersey, Capt. Clay, from Canton, on Feb. 12, by L'Aberdi.

« Rejected by the Senate Feb. 28 ; introduced in the House Feb. 28, 1798. "Annals ",
.T Cong., 2 Bess., 512-513, 1097-1098. For Harper's committee report on the stamp act,
Feb. 14, 1798, see "Am. St P., Finance ", I, 554-557.


The militia system which was proposed some time ago has been
revived this session, so far as to have a bill brought in/ but there is
no laiowing whether it will be passed. A banlcrupt bill has also been
introduced, the fate of which is equally uncertain.^

As to foreign news, little now is talked of except the invasion with
which the French threaten England; but which most people of any
knowledge or judgment suppose will end in threats. To invade a na-
tion like England with a small army, would ensure the destruction of
the army itself; and to send a large one across a sea of which the
enemy's fleet have absolute possession, is an enterprize which, to say
the least of it, will be much more easily talked of than accomplished.

Many people are of opinion that the French government does not
intend to attempt this invasion, and talks about it for no other pur-
pose than to make a great bustle at home, get money from the people,
keep the attention of the nation employed, and gradually get rid of
the armies, which may be extremely troublesome as soon as peace is

The Emperor of Germany and the French made peace some time
ago, as strong powers usually make it, at the expense of their weak
neighbors. The French had seized some dominions of the emperor,
which lay very conveniently for them, but which he refused to give
up. The attempt to force him was hazardous ; for he had four hun-
dred and fifty thousand men on foot. The French therefore raised
a quarrel with the Venetians a neutral state, whose territories were
more valuable than those of the emperor, and lay more conveniently
for him. These territories they seized, under pretence of punish-
ing the Venetian government for some supposed injuries, and of
making the people free. When by these means they had obtained
complete possession of the whole country, they took the Venetian
fleet to themselves, and gave the city of Venice and all its territories
to the Emperor, in exchange for what they wanted from him; and
so peace was made.^ They are now attempting a bargain of the
same kind with the king of Prussia * ; who, having an army of
300,000 men, cannot be forced. They want some parts of Germany,
which if he will suffer them to take, they ofl;er to seize on some other
parts and give them to him. It is thus that France renounces the
desire of conquest, and gives freedom to the neighboring states!
Such as she does not find it convenient to keep, she first plunders,
and then sells.

1 Introduced in the House Jan. 1, 1798. "Annals ", 5 Cong., 2 sess., 785. The bill
was not passed.

2 Introduced in the House by Bayard Feb. 8. "Annals ", 5 Cong., 2 sess., 970.

3 By the treaty of Campo Formio, signed Oct. 17, 1797, Austria was to gain Venice
end the greater part of Venetla, while she surrendered all claim to the Low Countries
and promised to use her influence to extend the boundaries of France to the Rhine.

* Frederick William III (1770-1840), who came to the Prussian throne Noy. 16, 1797.


To much bad news from abroad, it gives me great pleasure to add
one piece of good. The Spaniards have at length given up, to us,
according to the treaty, the Posts on the Mississippi,^ and are about
to join in running the boundary line. Thus an end is put to our
differences with Spain, which at one time seemed likely to produce
some very unpleasant consequences.

Adieu, my dear Sir, our situation is now such that I shall soon
have occasion to address you again; till which I remain, with regard
Your very humble Servant.

Harper to his Constituents.*

Philadelphia, July 23d, 1798.

My Dear Sir: On the 16th instant congress adjourned after a
session of more than eight months, during which a variety of im-
portant public measures have been adopted, which I omitted to
inform you of as they passed, because I thought that it would be
more satisfactory to wait till the adjournment, and then give a gen-
eral view of the whole.

The two houses stand adjourned till the first Monday in Decem-
ber, the day fixed by the constitution for the annual meeting; but
should the situation of affairs demand their attention in the interval,
which is highly probable, the President, no doubt, will convene
them at an earlier clay.

When it was found by a message from the President, and the in-
structions to our envoys in France together with their dispatches,"
all which you have no doubt seen, that although the utmost length
of reasonable and just concession had been gone by our government,
the French Republic refused to negociate on fair and honorable
terms, or even to receive our messengers of peace; and on the con-
trary demanded a tribute, together with the most humiliating sub-
missions as the price of an interview, while they continued and
increased their wanton depredations on our commerce; congress im-
mediately discarded all further reliance on negociation, and began
to prepare for defending, by arms, the rights and honour of the

iThe treaty of 1795 had fixed tbe boundary between the United States and West
Florida, and bad given the Americans the right to use the Mississippi. After long delay,
Governor-General Gayoso, Jan. 10, 1798, announced to Andrew EUicott, American com-
missioner for running the boundary lines, that he had received final orders to evacuate
Natchez and Walnut Hills, and that he should do so immediately. This was the news
that had come to Harper ; but in point of fact the evacuation of Natchez did not take
place till Mar. 30. Ellicott's " Journal ", 167 ; Hinsdale, The Establishment of the First
Southern Boundary of the United States, "Annual Report of the American Historical As-
sociation ", 1893, 349-3G4.

2 In the original print this paper has the title "A Short Account, etc.", which has
been stricken out in the copy in the Bayard Papers. It was printed in Harper's " Select
Works" (Baltimore, 1814), 268-287.

■"Annals", 5 Cong., app., 3322-3410.


Three hundred and forty thousand dollars were immediately voted
for fortifying the ports and harbours, and this sum has been since
increased to four hundred and thirty thousand. One million three
hundred thousand dollars were voted for cannon, small arms, ammu-
nition, and military stores; of which thirty thousand stand of small
arms, with proper accoutrements, are to be deposited in suitable
places throughout the United States, for the use of the militia when
called into service, or to be sold to them at costs and charges. Pro-
vision was made, besides, for the purchase of arms and equipments
for four thousand cavalry, either militia or regulars; and the Presi-
dent was authorized to employ one hundred thousand dollars, in the
purchase of founderies for casting cannon, mortars, and shot. One
regiment of artillery, twelve of infantry, and six troops of horse, were
directed to be immediately added to the military establishment of
the United States ; which, with the four regiments of inf antrj^ one of
artillery and two troops of horse now on foot, and ordered to be
immediately completed, will raise the regular force of the United
States to nineteen regiments, or about thirteen thousand rank and
file. These new troops are to be inlisted " for and during the con-
tinuence of the existing differences between the United States and
the French Republic, unless sooner discharged." About three thou-
sand of the whole number will probably remain on the frontiers,
where they now are stationed ; the rest will be for the general defence,
to act with the militia and volunteers in case the country should be
attacked. A great part of them will j^robably be raised and stationed
in the southern states ; it being there that an attack, if made, will be
most likely to take place.

In addition to these nineteen regiments, the President has been
authorized " in the event of a declaration of war against the United
States, or of actual invasion of their territory by a foreign power,

Online LibraryAmerican Historical AssociationAnnual report of the American Historical Association (Volume 1913, v.2) → online text (page 6 of 64)