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nations, it was scarcely practicable how the government could have steered clear of a war with either England or France, and the question only to be considered was, which would have most affected the honour, and most impeded the prosperity, of the country. Had the government not firmly resisted and diligently counteracted the popular sentiment towards France, or had not many
of the causes of collision been removed by the British treaty, a war with England would have been inevitable; but after that treaty, no course of mere neutrality would probably have restored the confidence and friendly feelings of France. In short, encouraged by the known partiality of the American people, nothing would have satisfied France apparently, but war against Great Britain : and her unfriendly sentiments were yet further excited by the recall of Mr. Munroe, whose only offence was supposed to be his too kind feelings towards France.
Mr. Jefferson showed his aversion to ceremony and parade, by requesting one of the senators from Virginia to dispense with the practice, which had been observed on a former occasion, of sending a special deputation to notify his election. He thinks that it would always be better to make the communication by the post, as the least troublesome, the quickest, and the surest.
He notices on the same day to Mr. Madison, the doubts which had been expressed as to the validity of the Vermont election, and expresses a wish that Mr. Madison would declare that on every occasion, foreseen or not foreseen by him, he was in favour of the choice of the people, substantially expressed, and anxious to prevent “the phenomenon of a pseudo-president at so early a day.” In a subsequent letter to the same gentleman he reciprocates the feelings of friendship which he learns that Mr. Adams has expressed towards him; but adds, “as to participating in the administration, if by that he meant the Executive Cabinet, both duty and inclination will shut the door to me. I cannot have a wish to see the scenes of 1793 revived as to myself, and to descend daily into the arena like a gladiator, to suffer martyrdom in every conflict." 2. Of our foreign policy he thus speaks. “I sincerely deplore the situation of our affairs with France. War with them, and consequent alliance with Great Britain, will completely compass the object of the Executive council, from the conimencement of the war between France and England; taken up by some of them from that moment: by others, more latterly. I still however hope it will be avoided. I do mot believe Mr. Adams wishes war with France: nor do I believe he will truckle to England as servilely as has been done. If he assumes this front at once, and shows that he means to attend to self-respect and national dignity with both nations, perhaps the depredations of both on our commerce may be amicably arrested. I think we should have begun first with those who first began with us, and by an example on them, acquire a right to re-demand the respect from which the other party has departed.” - The letter to Mr. Adams of December 28th, so expressive of the friendly sentiments which once existed between them, and of a wish to renew their former intercourse, Mr. Madison, exercising the discretion vested in him, thought proper not to deliver. Entirely approving of Mr. Madison's course, who could better appreciate all the circumstances for and against it, he speaks in the same spirit of good feeling and esteem of Mr. Adams as before. He hopes that “ he shall be made a part of no ceremony whatever;" says that he should “ escape into the city as covertly as possible,” and “if Governor Mifflin should show any symptoms of ceremony," he prays Mr. Madison will contrive to party them.
In the latter part of February, he prepared to leave home for Philadelphia, to be installed into his new office of vicepresident and president of the Senate. After having remained in retirement just three years, with a seeming disgust of the cares and contentions of public life, we find him prepared to enter again on the same busy theatre, but to perform a far more easy part.
But this circumstance furnishes no more evidence of his former insincerity, than the impatience so generally manifested by the sailor to go to sca again, shows that he had not been serious when on his last cscape from shipwreck he had determined never more to trust himself to the hazards of winds and waves. Besides, it must be recollected that the office which he now accepted was one which made the transition from his present mode of life less violent than any other. It allowed him to be at home nearly two-thirds of the year, was neither preceded nor followed by any special duties, and required the performance at no time of any other than those of presiding over the deliberations of the Senate, a body consisting then of but thirty-two members, and distinguished for the order and quiet dignity of its proceedings. And as the presiding officer is not entitled to a vote, except when the Senate is equally divided, he is excluded from the angry conflicts of party,
may, if it suits his temper, be a mere spectator, and a calm spectator too, of the field of controversy. It was these circumstances of security, together with the strong disgust with which he had witnessed the scenes of party strife three years before, which recommended the present office to his favour. We may also presume that the pleasures of refined and intelligent society, of which he could now partake, withiout that alloy which formerly attended them, contributed their share in making the change agreeable.
Nor is it unlikely that the salary attached to the office was not insignificant in his eyes,* for although he was never
* This conjecture has received confirmation from that friend who best knew his situation, and was most in his confidence.
covetous of money, and had always shown as much disinterestedness as any of his compatriots, yet his estate, ample as it was, had never been productive, and he was even then in debt. His correspondence shows too that the claims on his bounty were sufficiently numerous and frequent to exhaust a much larger and better-managed estate than his own ever
Besides he had always shown a decided taste-almost a passion for building. He had, in his Notes of Virginia, severely criticised the architecture of his native state; his interest in the art, as well as his knowledge of it, had been greatly improved by observation during his residence in France, and he was stimulated both by his own predilections, and by the severity of his former strictures, to give his countrymen a better specimen of architectural skill; being aware that he who had been so unsparing of his criticisms on others, would himself be the object of rigid scrutiny. He had therefore been for some time engaged in enlarging and embellishing his house at Monticello, and had more than once, for the correction of some unforeseen defect, or in execution of some happier after-thought, been engaged in pulling down and rebuilding what had been recently constructed.
From all these considerations he probably entered on the duties of his new office with more unmixed satisfaction than if he had been chosen chief magistrate, beset as it was with difficulties and dangers; and the gratification afforded by the second office in the nation, as well as from the almost equal vote for the first, had on his happy temper the effect of putting him in a good humour with all the world. It was in this spirit of benignity and good feeling that he wrote the letter to Mr. Adams, which Mr. Madison, who was at the principal scene of the war, and in the thickest of the fight, deemed it unseasonable to deliver, as one which was almost certain to produce no reciprocal feelings in Mr. Adams, and to have no other effect than to make him question either the sincerity or self-respect of the writer.
Mr. Jefferson arrived in Philadelphia on the 2nd of March, for the purpose of taking the oath required as vice-president, and becoming for a time the guest of Mr. Madison, he waited on Mr. Adams, the president elect, who on the next morning, returned his visit. Of this visit Mr. Jefferson gives the following account:
“ He found me alone in my room, and shutting the door himself, he said he was glad to find me alone, for that he wished a free conversation with me. He entered immediately on an explanation of the situation of our affairs with France, and the danger of a rupture with that nation, a rupture which would convulse the attachments of this country; that he was impressed with the necessity of an immediate mission to the Directory; that it would have been the first wish of his heart to have got me to go there, but that he supposed it was out of the question, as it did not seem justifiable for him to send away the person destined to take his place, in case of accident to himself, nor decent to remove from competition one who was a rival in the public favour. That he had therefore concluded to send a mission, which, by its dignity, should satisfy France, and by its selection from the three great divisions of the continent, should satisfy all parts of the United States; in short, that he had determined to join Gerry and Madison to Pinckney, and he wished me to consult Mr. Madison for him."
Mr. Jefferson concurred in the propriety of the remarks as to himself, and added that his inclinations would never permit him to cross the Atlantic again; that he would consult with Mr. Madison, but feared he would not accept, as he had invariably refused the same mission during General Washington's administration ; which opinion, on consulting Mr.