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    Theodore Foster Autograph Letter Signed "Theodore Foster", 8 pages, 8" x 10", "Federal City" [Washington], December 22, 1801 to his former Senatorial colleague from Rhode Island Benjamin Bourne. Theodore Foster, (1752-1828), together with Bourne, was one of the first two Senators to represent Rhode Island after 1790 when it ratified the federal Constitution. Both men were staunch Federalists but following the acrimony of the late 1790s, the disillusioned Foster defected to Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Foster writes to his former colleague accusing the Federalists of base corruption, attempting to plunge the nation into civil war over the additional army issue, and interfering in the election of 1800. Foster's incendiary letter reads, in part: "...It is true we both of us, did when in Congress together give our support to former administrations. -- But (Tempora mutantur quanquam ego sum idem) The times have changed since you was in Congress, and in the two last years of the last presidency such unwise, imprudent, extravagant and ruinous measures were proposed, that in spite of all my friendships, for President Adams, personally;_ in spite of my high opinion of his honesty...I lost all confidence in his prudence and direction notwithstanding it was once great. -- Was I to relate to you, in detail, all the circumstances which have induced me, not only to acquiesce in, but cordially to support Mr. Jefferson's administration, so far as I think his Politicks wise and prudent it would make a volume instead of a common letter. -- Suffice it to say that in March 1799 when congress rose not a quarter of the members, I believe, had an idea that the additional Army was to be raised. None but the most hightoned of the hightoned federalists were trusted with the secret -- I knew nothing of it. But had been apprised positively and solemnly assured, by a gentleman who came purposely to my chamber, in order to induce me to give my vote to grant power of raising the Army, to the executive, that it should not be brought into the field, unless there was eminent [sic] danger of an Invasion of the country. I however voted against giving power, on the first reading of the bill in the senate. The only man from our state that voted against it. -- My fine colleague, Mr. Green, was greatly, very greatly distressed on that account. I was afraid the President could not withstand the force and urgency of the application of interested men, to organize the Army, if the power was granted, to rest solely in the Presidents discretion. -- I judged right. -- For immediately after congress rose, that year he was besieged, from all quarters, (to use his own expression) -- He yielded and was ruin -- and happy -- happy-thrice happy is it for our country that a civil war was not the result of that highly imprudent measure-which was attended with a profligacy of expenditure of the public money beyond all bounds of Reason, as if it was of no value; -- and as of the future Labour and Liberty of this country was not pledged to redeem it. Millions of dollars were thrown away, in the two last years of the last presidency-... Men who if they shared the plunder, cared not for the interest of or country. As a specimen let me turn attention to the expenditures only in the War Department in 1799 and 1800, where among other things equally astonishing we find $59,000 paid to General Lee of Virginia and some others concerned with him - $17,000 went to General Lee, 'for the iron ore contained in a tract of Land in the country of Berkeley in Virginia' - and $42,000 to Wm. Wilson, John Potts and George North, for the said land, when I have been assured by a member of Congress from that State, that it was the Universal opinion of the people Vicinity, acquainted with the business, that the whole was not worth five thousand dollars -- The disbursements to Henry Foxall and Robert Morris Jr, for the barracks and Laboratory etc on the Schuykill near Philadelphia were also extravagantly injudicious. ..." Foster then comments upon the election of 1800 and the intrigues in the Senate during the balloting for President accusing high Federalists of "preventing the Acquiescence in the Election of President Jefferson, when returned with Mr. Burr, whom they attempted to get elected President, by the House of Representatives, notwithstanding it was well known the former was wished for President by a very great Majority of the Nation. -- to the shame and disgrace of our Country, they kept up the ridiculous Farce of Balloting for Six Days without any attention of Votes, till they brought the country to the very Eve of a civil War. -- and when they found the Public Indignation universally rising against them, instead of manfully giving a vote for Mr. Jefferson, they resorted to the pitiful Expedient t putting in Blank Votes for some of the States and allowing one single Man of their Party, to absent himself that it might be said that not a single Federalist in Congress Voted for Mr. Jefferson..." Foster concludes, "...These and other things, which I could mention, induced me, (and thousands and ten of thousands of other moderate citizens of the United States (*witness new Jersey etc) who had been friendly to, and had supported the measures of former administrations on the ground that it was necessary that the nation should have a head, and that then their views were honest ad pure,) not only to see without regret, the Supreme executive power of our country transferred, by the national election, to an administration entirely new, but to become supporters of the new presidency with the Same Zeal that had been given to the former... " This piece contains more fine content, far too voluminous to transcribe here. Glue remnants at left margin on first page, usual folds, else near fine condition. This is remarkable content from the very beginning our national history. Ex. Henry E. Luhrs Collection.

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