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son was prečminently a safe man. Very unluckily, however, Madison either could not or would not go, and the President's final choice was by no means equally good. It was, of course, most desirable that the new minister should be persona grata to the republic, but it was vastly more important that he should be in cordial sympathy with the administration at home, for no administration should ever select for a foreign mission, especially at a critical moment, any one outside the ranks of its own supporters. This was the mistake which Washington, from the best of motives, now committed by appointing James Monroe to be minister to France. It is one of the puzzles of our history to reconcile the respectable and commonplace gentleman, who for two terms as President of the United States had less opposition than ever fell to the lot of any other man in that office, with the violent, unscrupulous, and extremely light-headed politician who figured as senator from Virginia and minister to France at the close of the last century. Monroe at the time of his appointment had distinguished himself chiefly by his extreme opposition to the administration, and by his intrigues against Hamilton, which were so dishonestly conducted that they ultimately compelled the publication of the “Reynolds Pamphlet,” a sore trial to its author, and a lasting blot on the fame of the enemy who made the publication necessary. From such a man loyalty to the President who appointed him was hardly to be expected. But there was no reason to suppose that he would lose his head, and forget that he was an American, and not a French citizen. Monroe reached Paris in the summer of 1794. He was publicly received by the Convention, made an undignified and florid speech, received the national embrace from the president of the Convention, and then effected an exchange of flags with more embracings and addresses. But when he came to ask redress for the wrongs committed against our merchants, he got no satisfaction. So far as he was concerned, this appears to have been a matter of indifference, for he at once occupied himself with the French proposition that we should lend France five millions of dollars, and France in return was to see to it that we obtained control of the Spanish possessions in North America. Monroe fell in with this precious scheme to make the United States a dependency of France, and received as a reward vast promises as to what the great republic would do for them. Meantime he regarded with suspicion Jay's movements in England, and endeavored to obtain information, if not control, of that negotiation. In this he completely failed; but he led the French government to believe, first, that the English treaty would not be made, then that it would not be ratified, and finally that the House would not make the necessary appropriations; and all the time he was compromising his own government by his absurd efforts to involve it in an offensive alliance with France. The upshot of it all was that he was disowned at home, dis. credited in France, and got our relations with that nation into a state of dangerous complication, without obtaining any redress for our injuries. Washington at first, little as he liked the theatrical performances with which Monroe opened his mission, wrote about him with great moderation to Jay, who was naturally much annoyed by the manner in which Monroe had tried to interfere with his negotiations. Six months later, however, Washington saw only too plainly that he had been mistaken in his minister to France. He wrote to Randolph on July 24th, 1795: “The conduct of Mr. Monroe is of a piece with that of the other; and one can scarcely forbear thinking that these acts are part of a premeditated system to embarrass the executive government.” When it became clear that Monroe had omitted to explain properly our reasons for treating with England, that he had held out hopes to the French government which were totally unauthorized, that he had brought on a renewal of the hostilities of that government, and that he had placed us in all ways in the most unenviable light, Washington recalled him, and appointed Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in his place. By this time too he was thoroughly disgusted with Monroe's performances, and in his letter to Pinckney, on July 8, 1796, offering him the appointment to Paris, he said: “It is a fact too notorious to be denied that the greatest embarrassments under which the administration of this government labors proceed from the counter-action of people among ourselves, who are more disposed to promote the views of another nation than to establish a national character of their own; and that, unless the virtuous and independent men of this country will come forward, it is not difficult to predict the consequences. Such is my decided opinion.” He felt, as he wrote to Hamilton at the close of his administration, that “the conduct of France towards this country is, according to my ideas of it, outrageous beyond conception; not to be warranted by her treaty with us, by the law of nations, by any principle of justice, or even by a regard to decent appearances.” This was after we had begun to reap the humiliations which Monroe's folly had prepared for us, and it is easy to understand that Washington regarded their author with anything but satisfaction or approval. The culprit himself took a very different view, came home presently in great wrath, and proceeded to pose as a martyr and compile a vindication, which he entitled “A View of the Conduct of the Executive,” and which surpassed in bulk any of the vindications in which that period of our history was prolific. It came out long after Washington had retired to private life, and did not much disturb his serenity. In a letter to Nicolas, on March 8, 1798, he said: “If the executive is chargeable with ‘premeditating the destruction of Mr. Monroe in his appointment, because he was the centre around which the Republican party rak lied in the Senate” (a circumstance quite new to me), it is to be hoped he will give it credit for its lenity toward that gentleman in having designated several others, not of the Senate, as victims to this office before the sacrifice of Mr. Monroe was even had in contemplation. As this must be some consolation to him and his friends, I hope they will embrace it.” Washington apparently did not think Monroe was worthy of anything more serious than a little sarcasm, and he was quite content, as he said, to leave the book to the tribunal to which the author himself had appealed. He read the book, however, with care, and in his methodical way he appended a number of notes, which are worth consideration by all persons interested in the character of Washington. They are especially to be commended to those who think that he was merely good and wise and solemn, for it would be difficult to find a better piece of destructive criticism, or a more ready and thorough knowledge of complicated foreign relations, than are contained in these brief notes. His own opinion of Monroe is concisely stated in one of them. Referring to one of that gentleman's statements he said: “For this there is no better proof than his own opinion; whilst there is abundant evidence of his being a mere tool in the hands of the French government, cajoled and led away always by unmeaning assurances of friendship.” With this brief comment we may leave the Monroe incident. His appointment was a mistake,

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