To [Unknown]

    Philadelphia        11 May 1796


    Your favour of the 3d instant, covering a Memorial signed by order of the Town of Wells, came to hand this morning—The memorial, with twenty or thirty others to my Colleagues, was laid on the Table.1 This has been the course of business since provision for executing the Treaty with Great Britain has been made by Law2—When I wrote you last, I confess I could see no grounds to believe this affair would take so favourable a Turn as it did the very next day—For tho the member I mentioned in my last, & who was absent when the question was taken in Committee, was present, the next day, & voted as I predicted he would, yet there was a majority of three in favour of the Resolution3—And when the Bill passed the House those opposed to it did not think it worth calling for a division those in favour of it being manifestly a good majority—

    It gives me much pleasure to find so many of my immediate constituents, for whose opinion I have a great respect, are so decided as to the power of making Treaties being vested solely in the President & Senate—And it has appeared to me a mans mind must be more than cuning to find a contrary construction by reading the Constitution. I will not charge those who think differently from myself upon this Subject with unfairness, or of having in their view an object injurious to the great whole; but I hope the people through New-England, at least, will see & feel that there are pursued, by the two parties in Congress, two systems of policy the probable consequences of which are as different as light from darkness—From the Leaders & advocates, in these two systems, one may be called the New-England, the other the Virginia system—I am sensible a how agreeable it is to talk about harmony, & how natural it is for Spectators to say—both parties are wrong—each ought to slack a little of his pretensions & then both will unite. This is good Theory. But where two systems have hardly a principle in common, and are founded upon human passions, hostile to each other, it is in vain to expect they will ever harmonize. The last four or five years afford a compleat proof & illustration of the foregoing observations—The great outlines & characteristics of these kinds of Administring the general Government are marked with strong features, & the people cannot mistake them, or any longer doubt of their respective consequences. And, in my opinion, they should now determine which shall prevail. If they wish the New England system to prevail they commit a kind of suicide by electing Senators or Representatives who in heart and principle adopt the Virginian—And so vice-versa—if they prefer the Virginia politics, let all their Legislators be such4—In the Government of the States, or of the Union, parties are not necessary to the existance or support of political Liberty in the sense they are said to be in hereditary monarchies & Aristocracies; they endanger it, & diminish much of the natural blessings of a free Government—

    The present state of prosperity, & for the last three years, even after deducting all the evils flowing from the inimical disposition of England, is too notorious to be disputed by any man—Yet we see the same men who opposed the system under which this prosperity has existed, as active now in opposing it, as they were three years ago in advocating a different one, which, so far as impartial men can judge on human probabilities, must have been attended with a different series of events—We are & have been in a state of peace—who can say this would have been the case if the Virginia politics had prevailed two year[s] & half ago? And who will say that if they were now to prevail in rejecting the Treaty with England, our prospects would be as pleasing as they are now?

    * * *

    FC (incomplete?), TFP