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perhaps that the President had maintained a cold and unfeeling reserve towards him, they instituted an inquiry into his situation; and when they discovered that the President bad extended towards young Fayette the assistance and the protection of a friend and a father, they dropt the subject.
This young gentleman did not remain for a length of time in the Uạited States. Returning to France, he afterwards distinguished himself as an officer in the army of Buonaparte, but has been refused the usual promotion.
The President calumniated--His Letter to Mr. Jefferson-State
ment of the Secretary of the Treasury-The French Directory's attempt to control the American Government--Review of the Transactions with France The President declares his Resolution to retire from Public Life--Meets Congress for the last Time-Describes the Letters that had been forged-Attends the Inauguration of Mr. Adams-Retires to Mount VernonThreatening Attitude of France-General Washington ap. pointed Commander in Chief of the American Forces-His Opinion of Publie Measures-His Indisposition and Death Conclusion.
1796.] THE friends of General Washington knew that it was his intention to decline being a candidate at the third election of President, and this was expected by the public. Warm solicitations were used to dissuade him from the intention, but his determination was fixed, and nothing could change it, excepting a crisis in the affairs of his country, which would render retirement inconsistent with his duty, and derogatory to his character.
In the possibility of such an event, his friends prevailed with him to withhold the public expression of his design until it should become necessary to direct the attention of the community to a suc
This silence alarmed the party opposed to his administration. His personal influence at the head of government, they conceived, could alone defeat their plans, and prevent a revolution in the National Council. Since the ratification of the British treaty, they had laid aside the de
corous language and exterior respect, which they had, until that period, observed towards the President, and on this occasion, they with the utmost virulence assailed his character. His merit as a soldier, and his wisdon and patriotism as a statesman, were denied ; and even his honour and honesty as a man were brought into question. Letters, forged and published in 1776, to injure his reputation as the General in the revolutionary war, were at ths time republished as genuine, to excite prejudice again-t him. The queries which he had confidentially proposed to the deliberation of his cabinet, were laid before the public, with comments, designed to show that they indicated a deadly hostility to France. The queries could have come before the public only by a breach of confidence in some one of the Cabinet. Mr. Jefferson was disposed to prevent any suspicion from resting on the mind of General Washington, that he was the dishonourable individual, and for this purpose he addressed a letter to him, to which the President gave the following reply.
“If I had entertained any suspicion before, that the queries which have been published in Bache's paper proceeded from you, the assurances you have given of the contrary would have removed them ; but the truth is, I have harboured
I am at no loss to conjecture from what source they flowed, through what channel they were conveyed, nor for what purpose they and similar publications appear.
“ As you have mentioned the subject yourself, it would not be frank, candid, or friendly, to conceal that your conduct has been represented as
derogating from that opinion I conceived you entertained of me; that to your particular friends and connexions you have described, and they have denounced me, as a person under dangerous influence; and that if I would listen more to some other opinions, all would be well. My answer has invariably been, that I had never discovered any thing in the conduct of Mr. Jefferson to raise suspicions in my mind of his sincerity ; that if he would retrace my public conduct wbile he was in the administration, abundant proofs would occur to him, that truth and right decisions were the sole objects of my pursuit; that there were as many instances within his own knowledge of my having decided against, as in favour of, the person evidently alluded to; and moreover, that I was no believer in the infallibility of the politics or measures of any man living. In short, that I was no party man myself, and that the first wish of my heart was, if parties did exist, to reconcile them.
“ To this I may add, and very truly, that until the last year or two, I had no conception that parties would or even could go the lengths I have been witness to; nor did I believe, until lately, that it was within the bounds of probability, hardly within those of possibility, that while I was using my utmost exertions to establish a national character of our own, independent, as far as our obligations and justice'would permit, of every nation of the earth, and wished, by steering a steady course, to preserve. this country from the horrors of a desolating war, I should be accused of being the enemy of one nation, and subject to
the influence of another; and to prove it, that every act of my administration would be tortured, and the grossest and most insidious misrepresentations of them be made, by giving one side only of a subject, and that too in such exaggerated and indecent terms, as could scarcely be applied to a Nero-to a notorious defaulter,-or even to a common pickpocket. “ But enough of this.
of this. I have already gone further in the expression of my feelings than I intended.”
General Washington was also atrociously charged with having unlawfully drawn money from the public treasury for his private use. This charge was supported by extracts from the books of the national treasury; and his enemies boasted that they had discovered an indelible blemish in his character ; but their triumph was only for a moment. The Secretary of the Treasury published a statement of facts, by which it clearly appeared, that the money drawn by the orders of the President, had in no year exceeded the appropriations for his salary. He received no public money but for the support of his family; in some quarters of the year the receipts had overrun the amount due, and in others fallen short; and that the President himself had no concern in the transaction, the business having been conducted by a gentleman who superintended his household. The public frowned his accusers into silence, and the weapon levelled against his reputation fell innoxious to the ground.
The Government of France was too well acquainted with the number and the temper of their