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Anti-Jeffersonian Rant:
Madison, Monroe, Talleyrand and Jefferson’s
“Crimes” and “back door pimps” in Louisiana Negotiations
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KILLIAN K. VAN RENSSELAER. Autograph Letter Signed, April 2, 1806. 4 pp.

Inventory #22274       Price: $1,750

Transcript

[in another hand] M.C [member of Congress] from New York, 1801-03  

                                               April 2. 1806

Gentlemen

            Randolphs charges agt. Jefferson are that he recommended one thing in his private message, which he counteracted by his ‘back door pimps’ and obtained 2Millions of Dollars to give Talleyrand, to open the door with Spain for Negotiation //- Also, for having nominated Gen.l Wilkinson Governor of upper Louisiana -- blending the military with the civil. Also for having withheld the most important dispatches from Monroe until after the < p.2> Secret Bill had passed, which if the house of Repre.s had, had before, the 2 Million Bill would not have been enacted into Law. -- Against Madison, for making interest in favor of a douceur for Talleyrand and making the attempt to obtain the Money from the Treasury without an appropriation.-- Against Secy Smith for calling on merchants for their Notes which were discounted at Banks (on the good faith of Gover)t. and the Monies appropriated without a Law. <p.3> In a debate about taking of the injunction of secrecy, Randolph drove Bidwell, Crownenshield, Sinclir[?], Findley, Thomas Eppes off the floor, by his usual irony & sarcasm-. Bidwell is down , and cannot be brot’ up to face Randolph in any thing, since R- remarked in a reply to B, that he considered the ‘half formed opinion, from the half bred Attorney, as not worthy an answer, unless it was to tell him, that he was like the rest of the political wood cocks, with which he (Bidwell) associated, that had <p.4> run their Bills in the weed, and therefore wished not to see, nor to be seen.’

            The inclosed paper contains our Minutes of the secret sittings. Randolph has said in his place, that the Minutes are garbled and incorrect, and has called on the state printer for a fair statement. If I can obtain an extra copy, I shall forward a true Bill.—Thus you see, all is ready to be hove down. Jefferson is down, and the only question now is, who is to be next president!

                                                Yours in haste &c

                                                            K VRensselaer

Historical Background

After months of having fruitlessly negotiated over the fate of New Orleans, American ambassador to France, Robert R. Livingston met with Talleyrand on April 11th, 1803. To Livingston’s surprise, Talleyrand asked for an offer for the whole of Louisiana Territory. Quickly recognizing that this was an offer of potentially immense significance for the U.S., Livingston and Monroe began to discuss France’s proposed cost for the territory. Several weeks later, on April 30, 1803, the American emissaries signed a treaty with France for a purchase of the vast territory for $11,250,000.

Killian Killian Van Rensselaer (1763 - 1845) (cousin of Jeremiah Van Rensselaer and uncle of Solomon Van Vechten Van Rensselaer), was a Representative from New York. He studied law at Yale and was admitted to the bar in 1784. He became the private secretary to Gen. Philip Schuyler. He was elected as a Federalist to the Seventh and to the four succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1801 - March 3, 1811) after which he resumed the practice of law. He died in Albany, N.Y., on June 18, 1845.

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754 - 1838), 1st Prince de Bénévent, was a French diplomat. Talleyrand was made Bishop of Autun by Louis XVI in 1788 and served in a number of influential posts, including in the National Assembly. His support for the new revolutionary France and his criticism of the Church led to his excommunication by the pope in 1791, but he remained politically active as minister of foreign affairs. He was instrumental in drafting the Declaration of Rights. He strongly supported Napoleon and helped prepare the coup d'état that brought him to power, but tension between the two was evident as early as 1805, and Talleyrand deserted him in 1814 to lead the opposition against him and to try to restore Louis XVIII. He worked successfully from the regime of Louis XVI, through the French Revolution and then under Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe. Talleyrand was primarily responsible for persuading the allies who occupied Paris in 1814 to return the Bourbon dynasty to the French throne. As a matter of course, Louis XVIII, brother of Louis XVI, reappointed him to the position of minister of foreign affairs.

John Randolph (1773 - 1833) (nephew of Theodorick Bland and Thomas Tudor Tucker, half brother of Henry St. George Tucker). He was a Representative and a Senator from Virginia. Born in Cawsons, Prince George County, Va., June 2, 1773, he was known as John Randolph of Roanoke to distinguish him from kinsmen. He studied under private tutors, at private schools, the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), and Columbia College, New York City. He studied law in Philadelphia, Pa., but never practiced. He engaged in several duels. He held a wide variety of offices, including U.S. Minister to Russia (appointed by Andrew Jackson), and a manager to conduct the impeachment proceedings against Judge John Pickering and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase. Intermittently over the span of 34 years, he was elected to the Six through twelfth, Fourteenth, Sixteenth through Twentieth, and Twenty-third Congress, serving from March 4, 1799, to the time of his death. He was appointed to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy in the term caused by the resignation of James Barbour, and was a member of the Virginia constitutional convention at Richmond in 1829.

When Virginia Congressman John Randolph of Roanoke broke with Jefferson and James Madison in 1806, his Congressional faction was called “Tertium Quids”, which is Latin for “The Third Somethings”. Randolph was the leader of the “Old Republican” faction that insisted on strict adherence to the Constitution and opposed any innovations. He summarized Old Republican principles as: “love of peace, hatred of offensive war, jealousy of the state governments toward the general government; a dread of standing armies; a loathing of public debts, taxes, and excises; tenderness for the liberty of the citizen; jealousy, Argus-eyed jealousy of the patronage of the President.”

Barnabas Bidwell (1763 - 1833) was born in Tyringham (now Monterey), Mass., August 23, 1763. He graduated from Yale College in 1785 and studied law at Brown University, Providence, R.I. He was admitted to the bar in 1805 and commenced practice in Stockbridge, Mass. He served in the State senate; member of the State House of Representatives. He was elected as a Republican to the Ninth and Tenth Congresses and served from March 4, 1805, until his resignation on July 13, 1807. He served as attorney general of Massachusetts. Around 1815 he moved to Canada and settled near Kingston, where he practiced law and was engaged in local politics until his death in 1833.

John Wayles Eppes (1773 - 1823) (son-in-law of Thomas Jefferson), was a Representative and a Senator from Virginia.

William Findley (1741/1742 - 1821) was a Representative from Pennsylvania.

Jacob Crowninshield (1770 - 1805) (brother of Benjamin Williams Crowninshield) was a Representative from Massachusetts. He was born in Salem, Mass., March 31, 1770, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1798 to the Sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Dwight Foster. Became a member of the State senate in 1801. He was tendered the position of Secretary of the Navy by President Jefferson, but never entered upon his duties on account of ill health. He was elected as a Republican to the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Congresses and served from March 4, 1803, until his death in Washington, D.C., on April 15, 1808. Served as a chairman on the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures (Ninth Congress).[1]

Provenance

Prior owner’s index cardnote, “Bought Oct 1959 fr Carnegie Book Shop, Catalog 237 No. 690 – 1959.”



[1] (http://bioguide.congress.gov)


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