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able and childish character of such grievances, and he attributed the feeling in certain States largely to the outcries of persons who had come home disappointed in some personal matter from the seat of government. “It is to be lamented,” he said, “ that the editors of the different gazettes in the Union do not more generally and more correctly (instead of stuffing their papers with scurrility and nonsensical declamation, which few would read if they were apprised of the contents) publish the debates in Congress on all great national questions. And this, with no uncommon pains, every one of them might do.” Washington evidently believed that there was no serious danger of the people going wrong if they were only fully informed. But the able editors of that day no doubt felt that they and their correspondents were better fitted to enlighten the public than any one else could be, and there is no evidence that any of them ever followed the President's suggestion.
The jealousies and the divisions in Congress, which Washington watched with hearty dislike on account of their sectional character, began, as is well known, on the financial measures of the Treasury. As time went on they became steadily more marked and better defined, and at last they spread to the cabinet. Jefferson had returned to take his place as Secretary of State after an absence of many years, and during that time he had necessarily dropped out of the course of home politics. He came back with a very moderate liking for the Constitution, and an intention undoubtedly to do his best as a member of the cabinet. His first and most natural impulse, of course, was to fall in with the administration of which he was a part; and so completely did he do this that it was at his table that the famous bargain was made which assumed the state debts and took the capital to the banks of the Potomac.
Exactly what led to the first breach between Jefferson and Hamilton, whose financial policy was then in the full tide of success, is not now very easy to determine. Jefferson's action was probably due to a mixture of motives and a variety of causes, as is generally the case with men, even when they are founders of the democratic party. In the first place, Jefferson very soon discovered that Hamilton was looked upon as the leader in the cabinet and in the policies of the administration, and this fact excited a very natural jealousy on his part, because he was the official head of the President's advisers. In the second place, it was inevitable that Jefferson should dislike Hamilton, for there never were two men more unlike in character and in their ways of looking at things. Hamilton was bold, direct, imperious, and masculine ; he went straight to his mark, and if he encountered opposition he either rode over it or broke it down. When Jefferson met with opposition he went round it or undermined it; he was adroit, flexible, and extremely averse to open fighting. There was also good ground for a genuine difference of opinion between the two secretaries in regard to the policy of the government. Jefferson was a thorough representative of the great democratic movement of the time. At bottom his democracy was of the sensible, practical American type, but he had come home badly bitten by many of the wild notions which at that moment pervaded Paris. A man of much less insight than Jefferson would have had no difficulty in perceiving that Hamilton and his friends were not in sympathy with these ideas. They hoped for the establishment of a republic, but they desired for it a highly energetic and centralized government not devoid of aristocratic tendencies. This fundamental difference of opinion, increased as it was by personal jealousies, soon put Jefferson, therefore, into an attitude of hostility to the men who were then guiding the policy of the government. The new administration had been so successful that there was at first practically no party of opposition, and the task before Jefferson involved the creation of a party, the formulation of principles, and the definition of issues, with appropriateshibboleths for popular consumption. Jefferson knew that Hamilton and all who fought with him were as sincerely in favor of a republic as he himself was; but his unerring genius in political management told him that he could never raise a party or make a party-cry out of the statement that, while he favored a democratic republic, the men to whom he was opposed preferred one of a more aristocratic caste. It was necessary to have something
much more highly seasoned than this. So he took the ground that his opponents were monarchists, bent on establishing a monarchy in this country, and were backed by a “corrupt squadron" in Congress in the pay of the Treasury. This was of course utter rubbish, but it served its purpose admirably. Jefferson, indeed, shouted these cries so much that he almost came to believe in them, and sympathetic writers to this day repeat them as if they had reality instead of having been mere noise to frighten the unwary. The prime object of it all was to make the great leaders odious by connecting them in the popular mind with the royal government that had been rejected.
Jefferson's first move was a covert one. In the spring of 1791 he received Thomas Paine's “Rights of Man,” and straightway sent the pamphlet to the printer with a note of approbation reflecting upon John Adams. The pamphlet promptly appeared in a reprint with the note prefixed. It made much stir, and the published approval of the Secretary of State excited a great deal of criticism, much of which was very hostile. Jefferson thereupon expressed extreme surprise that his note had been printed, and on the plea of explaining the matter wrote to Washington a letter, in which he declared that his friend Mr. Adams, for whom he had a most cordial esteem, was an apostate to hereditary monarchy and nobility. He further described his old friend as a political heretic and as the bellwether Davila, upon
A PARTY MAN.
WASHINGTON AS A PARTY MAN. 223 whom and whose writings Mr. Adams had recently been publishing some discourses. It is but fair to say that no more ingenious attack on the VicePresident could have been made, but the purpose of it was simply to arrest the public attention for the real struggle which was to follow.
The true object of all these movements was to rally a party and break down Jefferson's great colleague in the cabinet. The “Rights of Man” served to start the discussion ; and the next step was to bring on from New York Philip Freneau, a verse-writer and journalist, and make him translating clerk in the State Department, and editor of an opposition newspaper known as the “ National Gazette.” The new journal proceeded to do its work after the fashion of the time. It teemed with abuse not only of Hamilton and Adams and all the supporters of the treasury measures, denouncing them as “monarchists,” “ aristocrats,” and “a corrupt squadron,” but it even began a series of coarse assaults upon the President himself. Jefferson, of course, denied that he had anything to do with the writing in the newspaper, and Freneau made oath at the time that the Secretary wrote nothing; but in his old age he declared that Jefferson wrote or dictated all the most abusive articles, and he showed a file of the “Gazette ” with these articles marked. Strict veracity was not the strongest characteristic of either Freneau or Jefferson, and it is really of but little consequence whether Freneau was lying in his old age or in the prime of life. The un.