Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 Back to the Exhibit

Thomas Jefferson's Account of the Bargain, [1818]

-tadly if it’s rejection endangered a dissolution of our union at this incipient stage, I should deem that the most unfortunate of all consequences, to avert which all partial and temporary evils should be yielded. I proposed to him however to dine with me the next day, and I would invite another friend or two, bring them into conference together, and I thought it impossible best that reasonable men, consulting together cooly, could fail, by some mutual sacrifices, of opinion, to form a compromise which was to save the union, the discussion took place. I could take no part in it, but an exhortatory one. because I was a stranger to the circumstances which should govern it. but it was finally agreed that, whatever importance had been attached to the rejection of this proposition, the preservation of the union, & of concord among the states was more important, and that therefore it vould be better that the vote of rejection should be resiended, to effect which some members should change their votes, but it was observed that this pill would be peculiarly bitter to the Southern states, and that some concomitant measure should be adopted to sweeten it a little to them. there had before been propositions to fix the seat of government either at Philadelphia, or at George town on the Patomac; and it was thought that by giving it to Philadelphia for ten years, and to George town permanently afterwards, this might, as an anodyne, calm in some degree the ferment which might be excited by the other measure alone, so two of the Patomac members (White & Lee, but White with a revulsion of stomach almost convulsive) agreed to change their votes, & Hamilton undertook to carry the other point, in doing this the in-


(Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

digitized from DHFFC transcription   
Back to the Exhibit
Go to Exhibit Home
First Federal Congress Project



Copyright © 2000 First Federal Congress Project. All rights reserved.