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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
doubted facts of the case are enough to fix the responsibility upon Jefferson, where it belongs. The editor of a newspaper devoted to abusing the administration was brought to Philadelphia by the Secretary of State, was given a place in his department, and was his confidential friend. Jefferson himself took advantage of his position to gather material for attacks upon his chief, and upon his colleagues, to whom he was bound to be loyal by every rule which dictates the conduct of honorable men. He did not, moreover, content himself with this outside work. It has been too much overlooked that Jefferson, in addition to forming a party and organizing attacks upon the Secretary of the Treasury and his friends, sought in the first instance to break down Hamilton in the cabinet, to deprive him of the confidence of Washington, and by driving him from the administration to get control himself. At no time did Jefferson ever understand Washington, but he knew him well enough to be quite aware that he would never give up a friend like Hamilton on account of any newspaper attacks. He therefore took a more insidious method. Knowing that Washington was in the habit of consulting with old friends at home of all shades of opinion in regard to public affairs, he contrived through their agency to have his own charges against Hamilton laid before the President. He also, to make perfectly sure, wrote himself to Washington, candidly setting forth outside criticism, and his letter took the form of a wellarranged indictment of the Treasury measures. This method had the advantage of assailing Hamilton without incurring any responsibility, and the charges were skilfully formulated and ingeniously constructed to raise in the mind of the reader every possible suspicion. At this point Washington comes for the first time into the famous controversy from which our two great political parties were born. He did exactly what Jefferson would not have done, sent the charges all duly formulated to Hamilton, and asked him his opinion about them. As the accusations thus made against the policies of the government and the Secretary of the Treasury were all mere wind of the “monarchist” and “corrupt squadron’’ order, Hamilton disposed of them with very little difficulty. The whole proceeding, if Jefferson was aware of it at the time, must have been a great disappointment to him. But his mistake was the natural error of an ingenious man wasting his efforts on one of great directness and perfect simplicity of character. Hamilton's answer was what Washington undoubtedly expected. He knew the hollowness of the attack, but none the less he was made anxious by it as an indication of the serious party divisions rising about him. This, however, was but the beginning, and he was soon to have much more direct evidence of the grave nature of a political conflict, which he then could not bring himself to believe was irrepressible.
Hamilton, on his side, was not the most patient of men, and although he bore the attacks of Freneau for some time in silence he finally retaliated. He did not get any one to do his fighting for him, but under a thin disguise proceeded to answer in Fenno's newspaper the abuse of the “National Gazette.” He was the best political writer in the country, and when he struck his blows told. Jefferson winced and cried out under the punishment, but it would have been more dignified in Hamilton to have kept out of the newspapers. Still there was the fight. It had gone from the cabinet to the press, and the public knew that the two principal secretaries were at swords' points and were marshalling behind them strong political forces. The point had been reached where the President was compelled to interfere unless he wished his admin. istration to be thoroughly discredited by the bitter and open conflicts of its members.
He wrote to both secretaries in a grave and almost pathetic tone of remonstrance, urging them to abandon their quarrel, and, sinking minor differences, to work with him for the success of the Constitution to which they were both devoted. Each man replied after his fashion. Hamilton's letter was short and straightforward. He could not profess to have changed his opinion as to the conduct or purpose of his colleague, but he regretted the strife which had arisen, and promised to do all that was in his power to allay it by ceasing from further attacks. Jefferson wrote at great length, controverting Hamilton's published letters in a way which showed that he was still smarting from the well-aimed shafts. He also contrived to make his own defence the vehicle for a renewal of all his accusations against the Treasury, and he wound up by saying that he looked forward to retirement with the longing of “a wave-worn mariner,” and that he should reserve any further fighting that he had to do until he was out of office. Soon after he followed this letter with another, containing a collection of extracts from his own correspondence while in Paris, to show his devotion to the Constitution. One is irresistibly reminded by all this of the Player Queen — “The lady protests too much, methinks.” Washington had not accused Jefferson of lack of loyalty to the Constitution, indeed he had made no accusations against him of any kind; but Jefferson knew that his own position was a false one, and he could not refrain from taking a defensive tone. Washington, in his reply, said that he needed no proofs of Jefferson's fidelity to the Constitution, and reiterated his earnest desire for an accommodation of all differences. “I will frankly and solemnly declare,” he said, “that I believe the views of both of you to be pure and well-meant, and that experience only will decide with respect to the salutariness of the measures which are the subjects of dispute. . . . I could, and indeed was about to, add more on this interesting subject, but will forbear, at least for the present, after expressing a wish that the cup which has