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State. Great disturbance of mind thereupon ensued to these two gentlemen, who were both much interested in France and the rights of man. The brig would not sail before the arrival of the President, said the Secretary of State. Still the arming went on apace, and then came movements on the part of the governor. Dallas, Secretary of State for Pennsylvania, went at midnight to expostulate with Genet, who burst into a passion, and declared that the vessel should sail. This defiance roused the governor, and a company of militia marched to the vessel and took possession. Greatly excited, Jefferson went next morning to Genet, who very honestly declined to promise to detain the vessel, but said that she would not be ready to sail until Wednesday. This announcement, which was distinctly not a promise, the Secretary of State chose to accept as such, and as he was very far from being a fool, he did so either from timidity, or from a very unworthy political preference for another nation's interests to the dignity of his own country. At all events, he had the troops withdrawn, and the Little Sarah, now rejoicing in the name of the Petit Democrat, dropped down to Chester. Hamilton and Knox, being neither afraid nor un-American, were for putting a battery on Mud Island and sinking the privateer if she attempted to go by. Great saving of trouble and bloodshed would have been accomplished by the setting up of this battery and the sinking of this vessel, for it would have informed the world that though the United States were weak and young, they were ready nevertheless to fight as a nation, a fact which we subsequently were obliged to prove by a three years' war.
Jefferson, however, opposed decisive measures, and while the cabinet wrangled, Washington, hur. rying back from Mount Vernon, reached Philadelphia. He was full of just anger at what had been done and left undone. Jefferson, feeling uneasy, had gone to the country, where he was fond of making a retreat at unpleasant moments, and Washington at once wrote him a letter, which could not have been very agreeable to the discoverer of diplomatic promises in a refusal to give any. “What,” said the President, “is to be done in the case of the Little Sarah, now at Chester? Is the minister of the French Republic to set the acts of this government at defiance with impunity ? and then threaten the executive with an appeal to the people? What must the world think of such conduct, and of the government of the United States in submitting to it?” Then came a demand for an immediate opinion.
To the tender feelings of the Secretary of State, who had not been considering the affair from an American standpoint, this must have seemed a violent and almost a coarse way of treating the
great republic,” and he replied that the French minister had assured him that the vessel would not sail until the President reached a decision. Having got the vessel to Chester, however, by telling the truth, Genet now changed his tack. He lied about detaining her, and she went to sea. This performance filled the cup of Washington's disgust almost to overflowing, for he had what Jefferson seems to have totally lost at this juncture - a keen national feeling, and it was touched to the quick. The truth was, that in all this business Jefferson was thinking too much of France and of the cause of human liberty in Paris, while Washington thought of the United States alone. The result was the escape of the vessel, owing to Washington's absence, and the consequent humiliation to the government. To refrain from ordering Genet out of the country at once required a strong effort of self-control; but he wished to keep the peace as long as possible, and he proposed to get rid of him speedily but decorously. He resolved also that no more such outrages should be committed through his absence, and the consequent differences among his advisers. He continued, of course, to consult his cabinet, but he took the im. mediate control, more definitely even than before, into his own hands. On July 25 he wrote to Jefferson, whose vigor at this critical time he evidently doubted: “As the letter of the minister of the Republic of France, dated the 22d of June, lies yet unanswered, and as the official conduct of that gentleman, relative to the affairs of this government, will have to undergo a very serious consideration,
that all the letters to and from that minister may be ready to be laid before me, the heads of departments, and the attorney-general, whom I shall advise with on the occasion.” He also saw to it that better precautions should be taken by the officers of the customs to prevent similar attempts to break neutrality, and set the administration and the laws of the country at defiance.
The cabinet consultations soon bore good fruit, and Genet's recall was determined on during the first days of August. There was some discussion over the manner of requesting the recall, but the terms were made gentle by Jefferson, to the disgust of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of War, who desired direct methods and stronger language. As finally toned up and agreed upon by the President and cabinet, the document was sufficiently vigorous to annoy Genet, and led to bitter reproaches addressed to his friend in the State Department. Then there was question about publishing the correspondence, and again Jefferson intervened in behalf of mildness. The substantive fact, however, was settled, and the letter asking Genet's recall, as desired by Washington, went in due time, and in the following February came a successor. Genet, however, did not go back to his native land, for he preferred to remain here and save his head, valueless as that article would seem to have been. He spent the rest of his days in America, married, harmless, and quite obscure. His noise and fireworks were soon over, and one wonders now how he could ever have made as much flare and explosion as he did.
But even while his recall was being decided, before he knew of it himself, and long before his successor came, Genet's folly produced more trouble than ever, and his insolence rose to a higher pitch. The arming of privateers had been checked, but the consuls continued to arrogate powers which no self-respecting nation could permit, and for some gross offense Washington revoked the exequatur of Duplaine, consul at Boston. An insolent note from Genet thereupon declared that the President had overstepped his authority, and that he should appeal to the sovereign State of Massachusetts. Next there was riot and the attempted murder of a man from St. Domingo who was accused by the refugees. Then it began to get abroad that Genet had threatened to appeal from the President to the people, and frantic denials ensued from all the opposition press; whereupon a card appeared from John Jay and Rufus King, which stated that they were authority for the story and believed it. Apologies now took the place of denial, and were backed by ferocious attacks on the signers of the card. Unluckily, intelligent people seemed to put faith in Jay and King rather than in the opposition newspapers, and the tide, which had turned some time before, now ran faster every moment against the French. To make it flow with overwhelming force and rapidity was reserved for Genet himself, who was furious at the Jay