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the cooler, the more indifferent, and more untutored part of the community.
There was supposed to be not entire harmony of views between Mr. Adams and his cabinet, as Mr. Jefferson's sagacity had quickly perceived; and subsequent events fully confirmed the fact. The cabinet of General Washington remained unchanged. Mr. Pickering, who had succeeded to the office of secretary of state on the resignation of Mr. Randolph, supported the views of Mr. Hamilton, both in his kind feelings towards the British government, and hatred of the present rulers of France, and their political principles. He always supported the character of inflexible integrity, but was irascible, prejudiced, and obstinate. The roughness of his manners enhanced his character for sincerity. Though he gave General Washington and Mr. Adams his support, his highest esteem and confidence were bestowed on Hamilton. To Mr. Adams's claims of superiority he could not quietly submit, and the pride of the President was mortified by the secretary's churlish independence. With these sources of discord, they were kept together only by the pressure of a common enemy, and even that was not eventually sufficient to counteract their mutual repulsion.
The secretary of the treasury, Mr. Wolcott, was a man of business habits; well acquainted with the duties of his office, and giving his first attention to them. So far as he engaged in general politics, he went as far
as any of his
associates in opposing the democratic party; and where the views of Hamilton came in conflict with those of the Presi dent, he was likely to side, though cautiously and lukewarmly, with the former.
The secretary of war, Mr. M'Henry, of Maryland, was not led by any strong principle or passion to oppose Mr. Adams in anything, nor had he that commanding force of talent or weight of character to make his course particularly
important. The attorney-general, Mr. Lee, was a decided supporter of federal measures, was warmly opposed to the democratic party, and ready to adopt any course of policy which would maintain the federal ascendency, but feeling no particular interest in any other object.
The relative strength of the federal and republican parties, in the House of Representatives, may be inferred from the fact, that on the question of approving the conduct of the administration towards France, in debating the answer to the President's opening speech, there were fifty-two in favour, and forty-eight against it.
Congress had been convened by the new President on the 15th of May. The circumstances which induced this extraordinary session, as detailed in the opening speech to the two houses of Congress, were: That on the arrival of Mr. Pinckney at Paris, after the first formalities of receiving him were over, the French government informed Mr. Munroe, the recalled American minister, that no other minister would be received from the United States, until the griev ances of the French republic were redressed. That on Mr. Pinckney's applying to be informed whether it was the intention of the government that he should withdraw from the French territories, he received a verbal answer that it was and that he afterwards received a written order to that effect, with which he had complied. That during his residence in Paris, he was threatened to be subjected to the jurisdiction of the police; and that the language held to Mr. Munroe on his audience of leave, contained sentiments still more offensive to the national dignity and rights. The President added that, feeling an anxious desire to preserve peace, and believing that the honour of the nation did not forbid further advances for its maintenance, he should make another attempt at negotiation.
On the policy of this course the cabinet were divided:
Mr. Pickering and one of his colleagues thinking that national self-respect forbade another mission to France, after the marked contumely manifested to this country through Mr. Pinckney.
Mr. Jefferson, in speaking of the vote on the answer to the President's message, says, "It is believed, however, that when they come to propose measures leading directly to war, they will lose some of their numbers. Those who
have no wish but for the peace of their country, and its independence of all foreign influence, have a hard struggle indeed, overwhelmed by a cry as loud and imposing as if it were true, of being under French influence; and this raised by a faction composed of English subjects residing among us, or such as are English in all their relations and sentiments. However, patience will bring all to rights, and we shall both live to see the mask taken from their faces, and our citizens sensible on which side true liberty and independence are sought."
Mr. Madison had now withdrawn himself from Congress. In the House of Representatives parties were nearly balanced, but the administration had a majority of three or four votes. In the Senate it had eighteen votes to ten.
The opinions which Mr. Jefferson had formed of the views of the administration, as well as of the present state of parties, are fully developed in a letter which he wrote to Colonel Burr on the 17th of June. This gentleman had received. thirty votes for the office of vice-president, and was regarded as (next to Governor Clinton,) the leader of the republican party in New York. Mr. Jefferson imputes the strong majority in the Senate to the divisions made by the British treaty; remarking that "common error, common censure, and common efforts of defence had formed the treaty majority into a common band, which feared to separate even on other subjects: that the republican majority had so
greatly diminished in the House of Representatives as to be now quite uncertain: that war with France was the object of the administration in calling Congress together; but that Bonaparte's victories, the Austrian truce, British bankruptcy, (meaning the suspension of cash payments by the Bank of England,) the mutiny of the seamen, and Mr. King's exhortations to pacific measures, cooled them down again to the peace temperature." He adds: "I had always hoped that the popularity of the late President being once withdrawn from active effect, the natural feelings of the people towards liberty would restore the equilibrium between the executive and legislative departments, which had been destroyed by the superior weight and effect of that popularity; and that their natural feelings of moral obligation would discountenance the ungrateful predilection of the executive in favour of Great Britain. But unfortunately, the preceding measures had already alienated the nation, who were the object of them, had excited reaction from them, and this reaction has, on the minds of our citizens, an effect which supplies that of the Washington popularity." He speaks of the future in a tone of despondency not usual with him, and having remarked that if the people of the eastern states, who are unquestionably republicans, could discover that they have been duped into the support of measures dangerous to their liberties, we might still hope for salvation: he adds, “But will that region ever awake to the true state of things? Can the middle, southern, and western states hold on till they awake? These are painful and doubtful questions: and if, in assuring me of your health, you can give me a comfortable solution of them, it will relieve a mind devoted to the servation of our republican government in the true form and spirit in which it was established, but almost oppressed with apprehensions that fraud will at length effect what force could not, and that what with currents and counter
currents, we shall, in the end, be driven back to the land from which we launched twenty years ago."
The President, in pursuance of the intention he had from the first declared, of making another trial at negotiation with France, appointed three envoys to that republic: General Pinckney, the acknowledged head of the federal party in South Carolina, who was still at Amsterdam, General Marshall of Virginia, a gentleman of the federal party, in the first rank at the bar of his native state, and as much loved for his private virtues and unostentatious simplicity of manners, as he was admired for his unrivalled powers of argument; and Mr. Gerry of Massachusetts, who had always belonged to the antifederal party, but was in habits of personal intimacy with Mr. Adams. His talents were respectable, and his attachment to republican principles unquestioned. Their names were sent in to the Senate on the 21st of June, and on the following day Mr. Jefferson addressed a long letter to Mr. Gerry on the occasion, for the apparent purpose of strengthening his pacific dispositions towards France. Our countrymen," he says, "have united themselves by such strong affections to the French and the English, that nothing will serve us internally but a divorce from both nations; and this must be the object of every real American, and its attainment is practicable without much self-denial; for this, peace is necessary. Be assured of this, my dear sir, that if we engage in a war during our present passions, and our present weakness in some quarters, our Union runs the greatest risk of not coming out of that war in the shape in which it enters it."
In a letter to Governor Rutledge of the 24th of June, he reiterates the same views as he had previously presented to Colonel Burr. He imputes to the administration an intention to provoke a rupture with France, and attributes their failure to the effect which the French success and other