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faithfully concur in executing it during my continuance in office; and I will not, directly or indirectly, say or do a thing that will endanger a feud."
Jefferson, in his letter, says: “When I embarked in the government, it was with a determination to intermeddle not at all with the legislature, and as little as possible with the co-departments. ... If it has been supposed that I have ever intrigued among the members of the legislature to defeat the plans of the secretary of the treasury, it is contrary to all truth. That I have utterly, in my private conversations, disapproved of his system, I acknowledge and avow : and this was not merely a speculative difference. His system flowed from principles adverse to liberty, and was calculated to undermine and demolish the republic, by creating an influence in his department over the members of the legislature. I saw this influence actually produced, and its first fruits to be the establishment of the great outlines of his project by the votes of the very persons who, having swallowed his bait, were laying themselves out to profit by his plans; and that, had these persons withdrawn, as those interested in a question ever should, the vote of the disinterested majority was clearly the reverse of what they made it. These were no longer, then, the votes of the representatives of the people, but of deserters from the rights and interests of the people; and it was impossible to consider their decision, which had nothing in view but to enrich them. selves, as the measures of the fair majority, which ought always to be respected.
“If what was actually done begat uneasiness in those who wished for virtuous government, what was farther proposed was not less threatening to the friends of the constitution. For, in a report on the subject of manufactures, (still to be acted on, it was expressly assumed, that the general government has a right to exercise all powers which may be for the general welfare; that is to say, all the legitimate powers of government, since no government has a right to do what is not for the welfare of the governed. There was, indeed, a sham limitation of the universality of this power to cases where money is to be employed. But about what is it that money can not be employed ? Thus the object of these plans, taken together, is to draw all the powers of government into the hands of the general legislature, to establish means of corrupting & sufficient corps in that legislature to divide the honest votes, and preponderate by their own the scale which suited, and to have that corps under the command of the secretary of the treasury, for the purpose of subverting, step by step, the principles of the constitution, which he has so often declared a thing of nothing, which must be changed."
The reason assigned by the secretary of state for his patronizing the National Gazette, was a desire to present to the public European intelligence taken from the Leyden Gazette, instead of the English papers, the latter being considered as not giving a correct view of foreign affairs, especially of those of France, where the revolution was then in progress. He disclaimed having written or dictated any thing unofficial to be inserted in Freneau's paper. He had simply furnished the editor with the Leyden Gazette, and requested him to translate and publish articles from the same. Any recommendations which he might have given the paper, had no respect to its opposition to the measures of the government, but to the ground it took against the aristocratical and monarchical doctrines of writers in other papers.
We have devoted considerable space to this cabinet controversy, which occurred in an important period of the history of our government, and which, froin its influence upon the future politics of the nation, has not yet become devoid of interest. Although the parties of that day have long ago ceased to exist, public sentiment in regard to the early policy of the government is still to some extent divided; and the two original leaders of those parties have yet their admirers. Of their relative merits or demerits, it is hardly safe at this remote period to express an opinion. To both must be conceded a large measure of patriotism, and the honor of having rendered important public services. As is usual in times of political excitement, the characters, private and official, of both, were often unjustly assailed, and their public acts, as well as the motives that prompted them, misjudged. Not only the newspapers, but pamphlets almost without number, many of which are yet extant, were employed in this party war. Abounding with the most fulsome praise on one side, and malicious disparagement on the other, they are unreliable sources of information, and serve little purpose other than to show the character of the warfare which they were instrumental in promoting.
We can not be persuaded to believe the existence of the alleged conspiracy against republican liberty, or of the corruption or subserviency of a majority of both houses of the legislature; yet it is not incredible that a man so extremely jealous of encroachments upon popular rights as Mr. Jefferson, should indulge in unjust suspicions toward a political rival and his supporters. We are equally slow to believe, that the benefits of Mr. Hamilton's financial policy were not in some measure overrated. The general industry and the restoration of commerce, doubtless contributed much to raise the country from the depressed condition to which it had been reduced by the war.
The act imposing a duty on distilled spirits, unacceptable in several parts of the union, was extremely obnoxious to the inhabitants of the western counties of Pennsylvania. Meetings in which some of the most
influential citizens took a leading part, were held at Pittsburg and other places; and resolutions were adopted tending to increase the discontent, and encouraging resistance to the execution of the law. It was this organized opposition to the excise law that had induced congress, before its adjournment, to pass the act authorizing the president to call out the militia to aid in enforcing the laws. Various measures—as declaring infamous all excise collectors-threatening to destroy property and life, personal violence and the like—were resorted to in order to deter persons from assisting to execute the law.
Reluctant to employ military force, the president issued a proclamation, exhorting all persons to desist from any proceedings tending to obstruct the execution of the laws, and requiring the aid of the magistrates to bring the offenders to justice. But the proclamation was ineffectual. Many of the magistrates, instead of aiding to maintain the laws, encouraged resistance to them. This spirit of rebellion found additional encouragement in the sympathies of a powerful political party which had arrayed itself against the administration, and which had labored to make this a special object of public odium. This opposition to the laws continued until the summer of 1794. Other means of securing obedience to the law having failed, and the insurrection having assumed an alarming aspect, a strong military force was raised, consisting of 15,000 men, and the insurrection quelled, almost without bloodshed.
The presidential election which occurred this year, (1792,) resulted in the unanimous reëlection of Gen. Washington. Mr. Adams also was reelected vice-president, having received 77 votes, and George Clinton 50, the latter being the candidate of the opposition party. Mr. Adams received all the votes of the five New England states, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, except one vote of Pennsylvania, given for Clinton, and one of South Carolina for Burr. Mr. Jefferson received the votes of the Kentucky electors.
Congress assembled on the 5th of November. Among the subjects to which attention was called by the president, were the continued hostility of the Indians, and the increased opposition to the collection of the duty on distilled spirits. In relation to the public debt, he said: “I entertain a strong hope that the state of the national finances is now sufficiently matured to enable you to enter upon a systematic and effectual arrangement for the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt, according to the right which has been reserved to the government. No measure can be more desirable, whether viewed with an eye to its intrinsic importance, or to the general sentiments and wish of the nation."
In answer to the president's speech, the two houses expressed their approval of the measures he had adopted, and of his determination to
compel obedience to the laws; and the house, whose attention particularly he had called to the subject of the public debt, responded favorably to the recommendation. But when a motion was made to enter upon that measure, and to call upon the secretary of the treasury to report a plan for that purpose, it met with a strong opposition. It was objected, that the house had not yet sufficient knowledge of the state of the finances. The proposed reference of the subject to the secretary of the treasury was most vigorously opposed; but after several days' debate it was carried, 32 to 25. A plan was accordingly reported by the secretary, in which, anticipating an increase of expenditures on account of the Indian war, a slight addition to the revenue was proposed, by imposing a tax on pleasure-horses or pleasure-carriages, at the option of congress
Several causes conspiring to produce delay, no definitive action was taken
upon the subject at this session. One of these causes was an inquiry instituted by the house into the official conduct of the secretary of the treasury, who was suspected of corrupt transactions in the management of the finances. On motion of Mr. Giles, of Virginia, the president was called on for information in regard to the borrowing of certain moneys authorized by law, and the manner of their application. This call was promptly answered by the secretary. A second call was then moved for information respecting several other particulars not embraced in the first. In support of the call, Mr. Giles specified sundry unwarrantable acts of the secretary, besides his failing to account for a million and a half of dollars. The motion was agreed to without debate. The report of the secretary in answer to the call was full, extending to every subject of inquiry; and concluded as follows: "Thus have I not only furnished a just and affirmative view of the real situation of the public accounts, but have likewise shown, I trust, in a conspicuous manner, fallacies enough in the statements from which the inference of an unaccounted for balance is drawn, to evince that it is one tissue of error.”
The charge of an unaccounted for balance was abandoned, but Mr. Giles and his coadjutors, imagining the secretary's statements to afford sufficient grounds for a vote of censure, drew up a series of resolutions, comprising no less than six distinct charges against the secretary. After a debate of several days, the criminating resolutions were all negatived. The highest number of votes for any one of them was fifteen, little more than half the strength of the party, and for the others, from seven to twelve votes.
An act was passed at this session to carry into effect the provisions of the constitution for the surrender of fugitives from justice and from labor. The act required the executive of a state in which a person
charged with crime was found, on demand of the executive of the state from which he had filed, to deliver him up to be carried back for trial; such demand to be accompanied by an indictment or affidavit charging the crime. Persons claimed as slaves, might be seized by the claimant, or his agent, and taken before a United States judge, or a state magistrate, who, on satisfactory proof that the person seized was a slave, was required to give a warrant for his return. The supreme court of the United States having subsequently decided that congress could not impose duties upon state officers, magistrates were by law forbidden in many of the free states, to aid in carrying the act of congress into effect.
At the session of the supreme court of the United States, in February, it was decided that a state was suable by a citizen of another state. A citizen of South Carolina had brought a suit against the state of Georgia. The process had been duly served upon the governor and the attorneygeneral of the state; but the state made no defense, protesting that the court had no jurisdiction in the case. The question was argued by the attorney-general of the United States, who appeared for the plaintiff. The jurisdiction of the court was considered as clearly sustained by the constitution, which declares that the judicial power shall extend “ to controversies between a state, and the citizen of another state.” The states having been made liable, by this decision, to innumerable suits, alarm was taken, and at the next session of congress an amendment to the constitution, [being the 11th article of Amendments,] was proposed, which declares that "the judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state;" and the same was afterwards ratified by the states.
With the 3d of March, 1793, closed the constitutional term of the second congress, and the first term of Washington's administration.
OPPOSITION TO THE ADMINISTRATION.- RELATIONS WITH FRANCE.--PRO
CLAMATION OF NEUTRALITY. GENET, THE FRENCH MINISTER. -POLICY
The second term of Washington's administration was scarcely less eventful than the first. The internal policy of the government had been, as we have seen, established against a powerful opposition. Scarcely had