1800.017: Letter from Manlius to John Marshall.

Published: 1800

Full Title: A letter from Manlius, to John Marshall, Esq. Member of Congress.

Author: Manlius [pseudonym].

Place Issued: Richmond

Issuing Press: Samuel Pleasants

Description: 18 pgs. (12mo).


Imprint states: "Printed for the author, by Samuel Pleasants, Jun., February, 1800." The pseudonym Manlius refers to the Roman consul Titus Manlius, an archetypal figure in school-books of this era for both his self-sacrificing patriotism and his cruelty for having a disobedient son executed while serving in his legion; it was an alias used by many political commentators of that day, particularly in the London-based Gentleman's Magazine. The allusion to Tutus Manlius herein was that Marshall was willing to execute both American liberty and prosperity in his patriotic fervor by burdening the country with an ever-escalating debt to support a needless standing army. The author's critique was a common one among Republicans who opposed the Adams administration's foreign policy in regard to France and its domestic policy in suppressing dissent over that strategy. Some authorities attribute this text to Christopher Gore (1758-1827), who wrote a series of letters in 1794 under the same pseudonym; that attribution is clearly off the mark here, as Gore was an ardent Massachusetts Federalist who held the same opinions about the military build-up undertaken in response to the Quasi-War in the Atlantic as did Marshall; moreover, Gore was in London at this time negotiating the settlement of damage claims with the British government under provisions of the Jay Treaty of 1796.

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