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Madison, was confirmed. A few days afterwards, on Mr. Adams being informed of Mr. Madison's determination, ho said that, on consultation, some objection to that nomination had been raised which he had not contemplated, and he proceeded with excuses which evidently embarrassed him, until they parted.* Mr. Jefferson's natural inference from the preceding facts was, that “Mr. Adams, in the first moments of the enthusiasm of the occasion (his inauguration), forgot party sentiments, and as he never acted on any system, but was always governed by the feeling of the moment, he intended for the time to steer impartially between the parties, but that on meeting his cabinet two or three days afterwards, he had been diverted by it from his first purpose, to favour party objects.”
Mr. Jefferson soon returned to Monticello after the inauguration, and continued there till the last of April, when ·he again set out for Philadelphia, as Congress was convened on the 15th May. It appears by a letter of Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Gerry of Massachusetts, that his good feelings to. wards Mr. Adams had then undergone no abatement. He takes this occasion of parrying the charge of inconsistency for again accepting office, declaring that, when he left the place of secretary of state, it was in the firmest contemplation of never more returning to Philadelphia : that the suggestions in the newspapers that he was looking to the presidential chair, he considered as intended merely to excite odium against him : that he never in his life exchanged a word with any person on the subject, until he was generally brought forward as a competitor with Mr. Adams, confidently adding what his whole correspondence confirms : « Those with whom I then communicated could say, if it were necessary, whether ) met the call with desire, or even with a ready acquiescence; and whether, from the moment of my first acquiescence, I did not devoutly pray that the very thing might happen that has happened. The second office of this government is honourable and easy, the first is but a splendid misery.”
* Jeff. Cor., vol. iv.
In adverting to the attempts which would be made to create discord between him and Mr. Adams, Mr. Jefferson remarks :-" These machinations will proceed from the Hamiltonians by whom he is surrounded, and who are only a little less hostile to him than to me. It cannot but damp the pleasure of cordiality when we suspect it is suspected. I cannot help thinking that it is impossible for Mr. Adams to believe that the state of my mind is what it really is ; that he may think that I view him as an obstacle in my way. I have no supernatural power to impress truth in the mind of another, nor he any to discover that the estimate which he may form, on a just view of the human mind, as generally constituted, may not be just in its application to a special constitution. This may be a source of private uneasiness to us ; I honestly confess that it is so to me at this time."
On our foreign relations he says, “I do sincerely wish with you that we could take our stand on a ground perfectly neutral and independent towards all nations. It has been
my constant object throughout public life: and with respect to the English and French, particularly, I have too often expressed to the former my wishes, and made to them
propositions, verbally and in writing, officially and privately, to official and private characters, for them to doubt of my views, if they would be content with equality. Of this they are in possession of several written and formal proofs, in my own hand writing. But they have wished a monopoly of commerce and influence with us, and they have in fact at
tained it. When we take notice that theirs is the workshop to which we go for all we want; that with them centre, either immediately or ultimately, all the labours of our hands and lands; that to them belongs, either openly or secretly, the great mass of our navigation ; that even the factorage of their affairs here is kept to themselves by factitious citizenships; that these foreign and false citizens now constitute the great body of what are called our merchants, fill our sea ports, are planted in every little town and district of the interior country, sway every thing in the former places by their own votes, and those of their dependents in the latter, by their insinuations and the influence of their legers ; that they are advancing fast to a monopoly of our banks and public funds, and thereby placing our public finances under their control; that they have in their alliance the most influential characters in and out of office; when they have shown that by all these bearings on the different branches of the government, they can force it to proceed in whatever direction they dictate, and bend the interests of this country entirely to the will of another; when all this, I say, is attended to, it is impossible for us to say we stand on independent ground-impossible for a free mind not to see and to groan under the bondage to which it is bound. If any thing after this could excite surprise, it would be that they have been able so far to throw dust in the eyes of our own citizens, as to fix on those who wish merely to recover self-government, the charge of subserving one foreign influence because they resist submission to another."
This picture of the means which England then possessed of influencing public opinion in the United States, will scarcely appear exaggerated to those who were acquainted with the state of the times; but it must be remembered that it required their united force to counteract the national animosity which the war of independence, then fresh in the recollections of all, had engendered, and the lively sympathy for the French nation felt by the American people. The very circumstance that the subjects of Great Britain, priding themselves on their birth-place, and avowing their attachment to her government, and hatred for her great rival, were to be seen in every part of our country, produced a degree of reaction, which was sometimes equivalent to their direct influence. As a proof of it, the anti-Anglican party was often the predominant one in our large cities, where English capital, English agents, and English emigrants were the most numerous; and the disposition to a general amnesty of the past, and a revival of the friendly sentiments of kindred nations, descended from the same stock, having the same language, religion and laws, and not alien in interest, was nowhere so strong as in New England, where the number of native English was comparatively fewer than in any other part of the Union.
Some of the evidences adduced by Mr. Jefferson of Eng lish influence, must be regarded as the exaggerations of prejudice, from which no leading politician of the United States, of either party, was then exempt ; as when he says, “At this very moment they would have drawn us into a war on the side of England, had it not been for the failure of her bank.” And he even attributes to English intrigue a proposition then made in a Connecticut paper, to dissolve the Union, which he justly calls “ the last anchor of our hope, and that alone which is to prevent this heavenly country from becoming an arena of gladiators.”
Party spirit, which had been increasing in bitterness for the last four or five years, notwithstanding the check it received from the great personal popularity of General Washington, began, now that check was withdrawn from the secne of action, to exhibit redoubled fury. Each side accused the other of being willing to sacrifice the interests of the United States to those of a foreign nation; and the known partiality which one party felt for England, and the other for France, and the correspondent hatred for their enemies, gave but too much colour to these recriminations. The sympathies of our citizens for the great struggle which was then going on in Europe, and which, in appearance at least, was a contest of political principles, were more lively than their regard for their own interests; and most public measures were viewed with favour or disapprobation, according as they harmonized with French or English principles, or furthered French or English interests. This strange state of things, so inconsistent with the duties of patriotism, and so humiliating to its pride, suggested, and almost justificd the remark of a foreign traveller in the United States at that period, that during his visit to the United States, he saw many English and French, but scarcely ever met with an American.
It would be equally invidious and difficult to decide which of the two parties was most responsible for this national reproach ; but, without doubt, both mcrit a large share of it. The circumstances which contributed to swell the numbers and augment the influence of the British partisans, are well detailed by Mr. Jefferson in his letter to Mr. Gerry, and opposed to these were, the animosity excited against England and Englishmen by the war of independence, and which their indiscreet zeal in the United States contributed to keep alive ; the enthusiasm in favour of the French revolution ; and the jealousy entertained against some of the leading measures of our domestic policy. It thus happened that every act of the government was viewed through a discoloured medium by the more zealous partizans on both sides, and cach prevailed as they could best succeed with