Empire of Liberty: Double Edged Sword

Excerpt from the Minutes of Order Secretary Charles Pinckney, Palmhook, Jamaica; March 13, 1802.

Order President Carleton convened the meeting at ten o’clock in the evening, March 13, 1802 at the estate of Palmhook belonging to Sentry Briggs.

Sentry Briggs called the role. The following members were counted “present”: President Carleton, Warden Samuel Adams, Secretary Pinckney, Sentry Briggs, Mr. John Adams, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Madison, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Monroe, and Mr. Marshall.

No members were absent though I note the vacancy on the Atlantic Chair due to the January death of Mr. Harper.

I read and submitted the minutes from the February 19, 1802 meeting. The members accepted the minutes unanimously.

President Carleton submitted the agenda for examination to Warden Adams who certified the contents, presented myself a copy for the record, and returned the original to the President.

The first item of business would be the vacancy of Mr. Harper’s chair and the formal submission of nominations.

Mr. Hamilton submitted the name of Jean Pierre Rochambeau to the membership on the argument that the Order required a French perspective given recent events and a northern member to replace Mr. Harper of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Samuel Adams seconded the nomination.

Mr. Jefferson proposed Peter Muhlenberg on the argument that it made sense to have the Vice President aware of the Order’s business as much as it made sense to have the Presidents aware.

Mr. Madison seconded the nomination.

Mr. Briggs proposed Albert Gallatin as a compromise candidate. He proposed that Gallatin’s membership would provide a foreign perspective given his Swiss-ancestry while also returning a chair to Pennsylvania, a state last represented by Mr. Franklin over a decade ago.

Mr. Jefferson agreed to the compromise and seconded Mr. Briggs’ nomination.

No other nominees were submitted.

President Carleton reminded the membership that a member-induction vote must be unanimous and asked if there were objections.

Mr. Hamilton questioned if the nominee might be too partisan.

Mr. Briggs proposed that Mr. Hamilton judge Mr. Gallatin on his merits and any partisan concerns would be rectified the traditional way [1].

Mr. Hamilton consented to the proposal.

President Carleton submitted the nominee to a vote.

Mr. Albert Gallatin was successfully elected into the Order pending his induction and consent.

President Carleton indicated that the membership would begin the induction at the end of the agenda.

The second item of business was discussion of the ongoing treaty negotiations with France over the Louisiana Territory.

President Carleton recognized Mr. Monroe as Chairman of the Louisiana Committee.

Mr. Monroe presented a latest update on the negotiations occurring in Paris between French officials and the American commissioners which include himself, the aforementioned Mr. Rochambeau and Mr. Robert Livingston. Mr. Monroe indicated that last meeting’s failed technology vote had hampered his efforts but the negotiations remained productive. He believed that the French Consul Bonaparte continued to waffle on whether or not he would actually commit to the sale but that Bonaparte was leaning towards a sale on the condition of American alliance in France’s wars and that sale would occur over years to ensure American compliance. At the moment the only provisions of the bargain in question remained the purchase price, transfer timelines, scope of a proposed alliance, and final commitment to an agreement.

President Carleton opened the floor to general discussion.

Mr. Samuel Adams indicated that the Order should not be held hostage by Corsican dictators and that he had half a mind to teleport Mr. Bonaparte to one of the poles and throw the continent back into chaos.

President Carleton urged calm and caution with a reminder that Bonaparte does not understand or realize whom exactly he is dealing with.

Mr. Monroe proposed suffering the insult for gain. Based on his espionage and negotiations he believes that France fully intends to conduct further wars in Europe and sale of Louisiana would bring Paris the money it needs to finance its conflicts while securing a naval ally. He further explained that Bonaparte believes his greatest enemies are Austria, Russia and chiefly Britain but fails to see the United States as more than an ancillary threat. Bonaparte also believes that a war between the United States and Britain would result in a British victory that France could exploit against both sides. Knowing that the United States could actually win such a war, on its own, decisively, this gives the Order the advantage, especially to take territory in India, New Holland, Africa and the remainder of the Caribbean. Furthermore he believes that a French alliance, like a double-edged sword, would cut both ways and this would give the United States the ally needed to fully conduct operations against the Barbary Moslems.

Mr. Hamilton questioned if the United States had the forces to conduct military operations against Britain, the Ottomans and in support of France.

Mr. John Adams indicated that his previous Administration had invested heavily in naval reserves and had ordered the construction and repair of facilities and bases in India, Guiana, Nova Scotia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Leeward Islands, and the Mascarenes.

Mr. Jefferson replied he intended to continue the expansion of naval forces if the membership agreed to further replication of gold and financing through Smithson and Barnes.

Mr. Hamilton explained that he did not wish to bring about a political debate but surely, such wars would require a standing army, potentially of a caliber the United States could not yet assemble.

Mr. Jefferson explained that regardless of what occurred in the future he had no intention of sending American soldiers to Europe but hoped any conflict could remain confined to naval warfare where the Order could utilize magazine strikes to ensure victories. He did concede that land fighting could become intense in Africa and India though Smithson and Barnes could arrange financing to hire mercenaries and sepoys if necessary.

Mr. Hamilton proposed an exploratory committee on the issue.

Mr. Carleton consented and proposed a vote on the creation of a Committee to Explore and Discuss the Viability of American Expeditionary Forces in Overseas Regions.

The committee was approved by the membership unanimously.

President Carleton appointed Mr. Hamilton as chairman, Mr. Jefferson as vice chair, and Mr. Marshall, himself and Mr. John Adams to the committee with a report due within three months.

Mr. Monroe returned to the topic at hand and asked if the Order would rather utilize the technology to receive more favorable terms.

The membership appeared against this and in favor of Mr. Monroe’s idea of using the French alliance for the Order’s benefit.

Lastly, Mr. Monroe elaborated how Bonaparte believed that the United States would seek financing via an Amsterdam intermediary that would allow France a modicum of control regarding timely payments.

Mr. Jefferson urged Mr. Monroe to keep the specifics of financing out of treaty as best he could and proposed financing the final purchase price through American financiers with any remainder to be handled by Smithson and Barnes.

President Carleton put the proposal to a vote that passed unanimously.

The third agenda item came from President Carleton on the issue of officer elections.

President Carleton indicated that it was his great pleasure to serve as Order President after the loss of President Washington but he did not intend to execute the office for life as Washington had. He urged the membership to begin discussion amongst themselves, at their leisure, on the issue of officer elections, including Order President and urged setting aside partisanship in the matter. He reminded the members that elections would occur in July.

President Carleton opened the floor for new business and unscheduled items.

President Carleton reminded Mr. Madison that the report of the Committee Regarding the Zaragoza Treaty’s Impact On Former Spanish Possessions was due next month and would likely form the basis of the Order’s next meeting.

Mr. John Adams proposed the formation of another committee to investigate and formulate recommendations to the Order regarding the ongoing diplomatic crises in the Balkans.

President Carleton put the formation of the committee up to a vote that passed unanimously. President Carleton appointed Mr. John Adams as chairman, Sentry Briggs as Vice Chairman, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Clinton and myself to the committee. The committee was charged to begin investigations immediately with a preliminary report due in a month due to the rapidly changing situation in the region.

Sentry Briggs proposed a technology vote to allow the new committee to teleport to the region and conduct reconnaissance if they found it necessary.

President Carleton proposed a technology vote to the membership to give the committee standing permission to utilize the technology for the purposes of investigatory reconnaissance.

The technology vote passed unanimously.

Seeing no new business, President Carleton entertained a motion to induct Mr. Gallatin into the Order.

Mr. Samuel Adams proposed the motion and Mr. John Adams seconded it.

President Carleton appointed Mr. Madison to be Mr. Gallatin’s inductor and ordered Sentry Briggs to produce a teleporter and conduct himself, a spare teleporter and Mr. Madison to Pennsylvania to induct Mr. Gallatin.

A technology vote was briefly conducted on the use of the technology with full consent of the membership.

Mr. Madison and Mr. Briggs left the room and President Carleton placed the meeting at ease for the moment.

After a period of roughly 20 minutes Mr. Madison, Mr. Briggs and Mr. Gallatin returned to the room.

Mr. Madison, with the assistance of President Carleton and Mr. John Adams, provided the explanatories to Mr. Gallatin and informed him of his election pending his consent.

Mr. Gallatin consented to his election and induction and took the oath with Mr. Madison presiding.

With Mr. Gallatin formally seated in the Atlantic Chair, President Carleton adjourned the meeting at nearing half past the hour of eleven o’clock with the next meeting to be subject to the call of the chair.

————- Author’s Notes —————

[1]: This is unwritten but the way the Order handles partisanship (thus allowing unanimous votes to actually succeed) is to maintain a balance upon the death of a member. It’s not being discussed but Gallatin would make six democratic-republicans to five federalists with Carleton acting as an apolitical federalist. Thus his nomination maintains balance. “The traditional way” means that upon the next death the balance will be maintained based on partisan affiliation of the person who died.

Source Materials

Meacham, Jon. Thomas Jefferson: the art of power. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2013.

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