Obrázky stránek




life as

titled to protection from insult, if truth and justice will afford that protection !

Mr. Jefferson was human in all his feelings, and he erred like other men. Assailed and maligned in public and private

no other American statesman was ever assailed and maligned, he sometimes turned upon his bitter persecutors. In exposing what he believed to be their motives, he was compelled to speak harshly. In the instances of individuals, we believe, he sometimes misjudged. Where he did so, let the reparation be extorted to the last atom). But be it remembered that if in that life-long contest, whether covering the retreat from the lost field, whether rallying his broken squadrons, whether bearing down in the front of the battle and fighting foot to fost and hand to hand with that host of champions who ever simultaneously singled him ont for attack, or whether parrying the assassin's stab made at him unarmed in his tent atter the battle, he never struck a blow which he has not deliberately left his name and fame responsible for; he never, even by an innuendo, carried the war into the sacred privacy of domestic life; he never, towards the enemies of his cause, approached, either in kind or degree, the imputations and denunciations cast upon hiin by his opponents of every grade, from the highest to the lowest, and which can now be exhibited in their accredited writinys.'

1 We speak of his opponents as a body. Hamilton, Sedgwick, and a number of others -even John Adams once or twice_indulged in offensive “personalities" towards him in writings now published and acknowledged ; and we remember no case in which Jefferson retaliated in kind, in the strict meaning of the word. That is to say, while he severely impugned their conduct and even motives as politicians and au public men-while he some. times (though rarely) criticised in decent and becoming terms individual peculiaritieswe nowhere tind him towards respectable opponents indulging in those offensive personal imputations which among gentlemen are regarded as necessarily and intentionally insulting. He does not speak of them, for example, sweepingly, as mean men," as "false. hearted men, as “hypocrites," as " liars," or make any equivalent selections from that vocabulary so diligently culled from by his assailants. Yet we have in our minds a few cases where he politically attacked men who did not, so far as we know (they mostly having little or no contemporaneous writings preserved), return the compliment. We therefore have applied the remark in the text to his opponents as a body.

There are no so ample and accessible examples of precisely what we mean as are furnished by the published Works of Jefferson and Hamilton-and it is for his severity towards the latter, that Jefferson has been frequently arraigned! If there is a solitary remark in all of his Writings in respect to Hamilton which Mr. Pitt or Mr. Fox would have felt bound to resent as a personal insult, if spoken of themselves in the British House of Commons, it is not now in our memory. Jefferson did him ample justice as a private gentleman, in his Ana, in words we have already quoted. On the other hand, Hamilton's Writings (many of them published contemporaneously) literally reek with personally offensive imputations against Jefferson. We, of course, are not unaware of the twaddle a class of men can utter over the distinction we have attempted to take. It is one, however, which is perfectly understood, and habitually kept in view amung all neb of respectable cultivation.



New Diplomatic Arrangements—Grounds of the Opposition to Morris's Appointment Explanations between the President and Secretary of State--The President apprised of permanent Divisions in his Cabinet-Apprised of Jefferson's intended RetirementJefferson's Draft of Instructions to our Ministers in Spain-Cabinet Consultation on the Apportionment Bill-Circumstances of the Veto_Madison consulted-Proposed Extradition Treaty with Spain-Instructions to Mr. Morris-Negotiations between Jefferson and the English Minister-Jefferson delivers Hammond his Specifications of the English Breaches of the Treaty of Peace-Hamilton's alleged Interference in the Negotiations—Hammond's Answer to Jefferson's Specifications—Jefferson's Rejoinder--His Official Partialities between France and England examined-His Letter urging Washington to accept a Reélection—Washington's Answer-Paul Jones's appointment to Office, and Death-His Relations with Jefferson--Political Letters,Further Division between Parties-Hamilton's anonymous Attacks on Jefferson-Founders of the National Gazette --Jefferson visits Home–Family Correspondence-Washington's Letter to Jefferson on Dissensions in the Cabinet-His Letter to Hamilton Jefferson's ReplyHamilton's Reply-Comparison of the Tone of the Letters Professions and practice of the two compared-Jefferson's Interview with the President at Mount VernonPresident urges his continuance in Office-Hamilton's charge that such continuance was indelicate-Their respective “Opposition" to the President Examined-Jefferson's Notice in Correspondence of Hamilton's Attacks on him--Washington's Letter to Jefferson-Washington's Idea of Parties—President's Proclamation to Resisters of Excise Law --Marshall's Statements—Jefferson complains of English Impressments Complains to Spain of Governor Carondelet–Cabinet Meeting on Viar and Jaudenes' Complaints--Hamilton Counsels an English Alliance—The President rejects the Proposition.

Some new and important diplomatic arrangements between the United States and other powers took place not far from the beginning of 1792. Great Britain finally sent a Minister, Mr. Hammond, to our Government, and Major Thomas Pinckney, of South Carolina, went as our Minister to that court. The French Minister, the Count de Moustier, was recalled by his Government, and his place filled, as anticipated, by M. de Ternant. Governeur Morris was nominated, in exchange, and after a



Bevere struggle, confirmed by the Senate.' Mr. Short, who had acted as Chargé d'Affaires in France, since the departure of Mr. Jefferson, was made Minister resident at the Hague. Colonel Ilumphreys remained in the embassy to Portugal, and Mr. Carmichael in that to Spain; and the King of Spain having expressed a willingness to negotiate on the subject of the navi. gation of the Mississippi, the two last named officers were appointed Commissioners-Plenipotentiary to treat with him.

On the 29th of February, some important personal explanations took place between the President and Secretary of State, which we give as we find them recorded in the Ana. They had conversed, the day previously, in regard to certain proposed changes in the Post Office department, but the President being called away by company, desired the Secretary to breakfast with him the next morning, for the purpose of resuming the subject. Mr. Jefferson proceeds to say:

1 The vote finally stood in the Senate, sixteen for confirmation, eleven against. The objections to Morris were, that he was excessively unpopular in France, being considered there an advocate of aristocracy, and unfriendly to its revolution and new Con stitution. He was accused of openly and offensively expressing his views, and of " levity and imprudence of conversation and conduct.” A letter from General Washington to Morris, informing him of these objections, and cautioning him to more prudence, will be found in Sparks Washington, vol. x. p. 216. (See, also, on the same subject, Sparks's Lite and Writings of Morris, vol. i. p. 368, et seq.)

Judge Marshall says: “Mr. Governeur Morris, who was understood to have rendered himself agreeable to the French Government, was appointed to represent the United States at the Court of Versailles." (Life of Washington, vol. ii. p. 239.) This, in our judgment, conveys an erroneous idea. Did General Washington appoint a Minister to France, odious to its people and Legislative representatives, because he was understood to have rendered himself agreeable to the Court or Executive branch of the Govern. ment? As persons enough couls have been found unobjectionable to the latter, and at the same time unobjectionable to the nation, is it at all probable that Washington, at this period, intended to express the preference in regard to the political struggles of France, which the motive assigned to him by Judge Marshall, taken alone, would appear to imply? Are there any facts, beyond the one of Morris's appointment, to indicate such preferences or motives?

We are unable to discover any traces of them. General Washington probably nominated Mr. Morris from several considerations which it is not necessary here to particularly enter upon. He was pressed to nominate him by Robert Morris and probably by other influential persons. We think he had a strong friendly personal regard for him. We think he had particular confidence is Morris's personal integrity and sagacity. We have no doubt that he believed his own plain letter to the latter would induce him to adopt a course which would cease to give offence to the liberal party in France. That he was acceptable to the Executive government was doubtless one, and an entirely legitimate, consideration for his appointment; but to throw this into the foreground as the reason, without naming any other circum. stances, would seem to imply views which Washington did not then entertain in respect to the French Revolution, and a system of action in respect to the internal politics of other nations which Washington never practised.

There was quite a broad distinction between feeling hostility to a revolution in France, to the conversion of a despotism into a constitutional monarchy,

or some other liberal form of government, and detesting the subsequent atrocities of the Revolution. Long after this, we shall show, from his own lips, that Washington gave his approbation to the French Revolution as it was.

That Morris did not follow the wise advice of the President--that he established 2 most unfortunate precedent of ambassadorial intermeddling, we regard as undeniable. But Washington was not responsible for this. When Morris carried that disposition to such an extent that it produced official complaint, Washington recalled him.




" February the 29th.—I did so; and after breakfast we retired to dis room, and i unfolded my plan for the post-office, and after such an approbation of it as he usually permitted himself on the first presentment of any idea, and desiring me to commit it to writing, he, during that pause of conversation which follows a business closed, said in an affectionate tone, that he had felt much concern at an expression which dropped from me yesterday, and which marked my intention of retiring when he should. That as to himself, many motives obliged him to it. He had, through the whole course of the war, and most particularly at the close of it, uni. formly declared his resolution to retire from public affairs, and never to act in any public office; that he had retired under that firm resolution : that the Government, however, which had been formed, being found evidently too inefficacious, and it heing supposed that his aid was of some consequence towards bringing the people to content to one of sufficient efficacy for their own good, he consented to come into the Convention, and on the same motive, after mnch pressing, to take a part in the new Government, and get it under way. That were he to continue longer, it might give room to say, that having tasted the sweets of office, he could not do without them : that he really felt himself growing old, his bodily health less firm, his memory, always bad, becoming worse, and perhaps the other faculties of his mind showing a decay to others of which he was insensible himself; that this apprehension particularly oppressed him : that he found, moreover, his activity lessened, business therefore more irksome, and tranquillity and retirement become an irresis. tible passion. That however he felt himself obliged, for these reasons, to retire from the Government, yet he should consider it as unfortunate, if that should bring on the retirement of the great officers of the Government, and that this might produce a shock on the public mind of dangerous consequence.

"I told him that no man had ever had less desire of entering into public offices than myself; that the circumstance of a perilous war, which brought everything into danger, and called for all the services which every citizen could render, had induced me to undertake the administration of the government of Virginia ; that I bad both before and after refused repeated appointments of Congress to go abroad in that sort of office, which, if I had consulted my own gratification, would always have been the most agreeable to me; that at the end of two years, I resigned the government of Virginia, and retired with a firm resolution never more to appear in public life; that a domestic loss, bowever, happened, and made me fancy that absence and a change of scene for a time might be expedient for me ; that I there. fore accepted a foreign appointment, limited to two years; that at the close of that, Doctor Franklin having left France, I was appointed to supply his place, which I had accepted, and though I continued in it three or four years, it was under the constant idea of remaining only a year or two longer; that the revolution in France coming on, I had so interested myself in the event of that, that when obliged to bring my family home, I had still an idea of returning and awaiting the close of that, to fix the era of my final retirement; that on my arrival here I found he had appointed me to my present office; that he knew I had not come into it without some reluctance; that it was, on my part, a sacrifice of inclination to the opinion that I might be more serviceable here than in France, and with a firm resolution in my mind, to indulge my constant wish for retirement at no very distant day; that when, therefore, I had received his letter, written from Mount Vernon, on his 7ay to Carolina and Georgia (April the 1st, 1791), and discovered, from an expression in that, that he meant to retire from the Government ere long, and as to the precise epoch there could be no doubt, my mind was immediately made up, to make that tho





epoch of my own retirement from those labors of which I was heartily tired. That, however, I did not believe there was any idea in any of my brethren in the admin. istration of retiring ; that on the contrary, I had perceived at a late meeting of the trustees of the Sinking Fund, that the Secretary of the Treasury had developed the plan he intended to pursue, and that it embraced years in its view.

“ He said, that he considered the Treasury department as a much more limited one, going only to the single object of revenue, while that of the Secretary of State, embracing nearly all the objects of administration, was much more important, and the retirement the officer, therefore, would be more noticed: that though the Government had set out with a pretty general good will of the public, yet that symptoms of dissatisfaction had lately shown themselves far beyond what he could have expected, and to what height these might arise, in case of too great a change in the administration, could not be foreseen.

“I told him, that in my opinion, there was only a single source of these discon. tents. Though they had indeed appeared to spread themselves over the War department also, yet I considered that as an overflowing only from their real chan. nel, which would never have taken place, if they had not first been generated in another department, to wit, that of the Treasury. That a system had there been contrived, for deluging the States with paper money instead of gold and silver, for withdrawing our citizens from the pursuits commerce, manufactures, buildings, and other branches of useful industry, to occupy themselves and their capitals in a species of gambling, destructive of morality, and which had introduced its poison into the Government itself. That it was a fact, as certainly known as that he and I were then conversing, that particular members of the legislature, while those laws were on the carpet, had feathered their nests with paper, had then voted for the laws, and constantly since lent all the energy of their talents, and instrumentality of their offices, to the establishment and enlargement of this system; that they had chained it about our necks for a great length of time, and in order to keep the game in their hands, had, from time to time, aided in making such legislative constructions of the Constitution, as made it a very different thing from what the people thought they had submitted to; that they had now brought forward a proposi. tion far beyond every one ever yet advanced, and to which the eyes of many were turned, as the decision which was to let us know, whether we live under a limited or an unlimited government. He asked me to what proposition I alluded ? I answered, to that in the report on manufactures, which, under color of giving bounties for the encouragement of particular manufactures, meant to establish the doctrine, that the power given by the Constitution to collect taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, permitted Congress to take everything under their management which they should deem for the public welfare, and which is susceptible of the application of money ; consequently, that the subsequent enu meration of their powers was not the description to which resort must be had, and did not at all constitute the limits of their authority: that this was a very different question from that of the Bank, which was thought an incident to an enumerated power: that, therefore, this decision was expected with great anxiety; that, indeed, I hoped the proposition would be rejected, believing there was a majority in both houses against it, and that if it should be, it would be considered as a proof that things were returning into their true channel ; and that, at any rate, I looked forward to the broad representation which would shortly take place, for keeping the general Constitution on its true ground, and that this would remove a great deal of the discontent which had shown itself. The conversation ended with

« PředchozíPokračovat »