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him as to the policies which were to be begun, and on which the living vital government was to be founded. Congress, troubled about many things, and struggling with questions of revenue and taxation, managed in the course of the summer to establish and provide for three executive departments and for an attorney-general. To the selection of the men to fill these high offices, Washington gave, of course, the most careful thought, and succeeded in forming a cabinet which, in its aggregate ability, never has been equalled in this country. Edmund Randolph was appointed AttorneyGeneral. Losing his father at an early age, and entering the army, he had been watched over and protected by Washington with an almost paternal care, and at the time of his appointment he was one of the most eonspicuous men in public life, as well as a leading lawyer at the bar of Virginia. He came from one of the oldest and strongest of the Virginian families, and had been governor of his State, and a leader in the constitutional convention, where he had introduced what was known as the Virginian plan. He had refused to sign the Constitution, but had come round finally to its support, largely through Washington's influence. There was then, and there can be now, no question as to Randolph's really fine talents, or as to his fitness for his post. His defect was a lack of force of character and strength of will, which was manifested by a certain timidity of action, and by an infirmity of purpose, such as had appeared in his course about the Constitution. He performed the duties of his office admirably, but in the decision of the momentous questions which came before the cabinet he showed an uncertainty of opinion which was felt by all his colleagues." Henry Knox was head of the war department under the confederacy, and was continued in office by Washington, who appointed him Secretary of War under the new arrangement. It was a natural and excellent selection. Knox was a distinguished soldier, he had served well through the Revolution, and Washington was warmly attached to him. He was not a statesman by training or habit of mind, nor was he possessed of commanding talents. But he was an able man, sound in his views and diligent in his office, devoted to his chief and unswerving in his loyalty to the administration and all its measures. There was never any doubt as to the attitude of Henry Knox, and Washington found him as faithful and efficient in the cabinet as he had always been in the field. Second in rank, but first in importance, was the * This passage was written before the recent appearance of Mr. Conway's Life of Randolph. That ample biography, in my opinion, confirms the view of Randolph here given. If, in the light of this new material, I have erred at all, it is, I think, on the charitable side. Mr. Conway, in order to vindicate Randolph, has sacrificed so far as he could nearly every conspicuous public man of that period. From Washington, whom he charges with senility, down, there is hardly a man who ever crossed Randolph's path secretaryship of the Treasury. “Financel Ah, my friend, all that remains of the American Revolution grounds there.” So Gouverneur Morris had written to Jay. So might he have written again of the American Union, for the fate of the experiment rested at the outset on the Treasury Department. Yet there was probably less hesitation as to the proper man for this place than for any other. Washington no doubt would have been glad to give it to Robert Morris, whose great services in the Revolution he could never forget. But this could not be, and acting on his own judgment, fortified by that of Morris, he made Alexander Hamilton Secretary of the Treasury. It is one of the familiar marks of greatness to know how to choose the right men to perform the tasks which no man, either in war or peace, can complete single-handed. Napoleon's marshals were conspicuous proofs of his genius, and Washington had a similar power of selection. The generals whom he trusted were the best generals, the statesmen whom he consulted stand highest in history. He was fallible, as other mortals are fallible. He, too, had his Varus, and the time was coming when he could echo the bitter cry of the great emperor for his lost legions. But the mistakes were the exceptions. He chose with the sureness of a strong and penetrating mind, and the most signal example of this capacity was his Secretary of the Treasury. He knew Hamilton well. He had known him as his staff officer, active, accomplished, and efficient. He had seen him leave his side in a tempest of boyish rage, and he had watched him charging with splendid gallantry the Yorktown redoubts. He was familiar with Hamilton's wonderful mastery of financial and political problems, and he had found him a powerful leader in the work of forming the Constitution. He understood Hamilton's strength, and he knew where his dangers lay. Now he called him to his cabinet, and gave into his hands the department on which the immediate success of the government hinged. It was a brilliant choice. The mark in his lifetime for all the assaults of his political opponents, the leader and the victim of the schism which rent his own party, Hamilton, after his death, was made the target for attack and reprobation by his political foes who for nearly sixty years, with few intermissions, controlled the government. His work, however, could not be undone, and as passions have subsided his fame has proved to be of that highest and rarest kind, which broadens and rises with the lapse of years, until in the light of history it overtops that of any of our statesmen, except his own great chief and Abraham Lincoln. The work to which he was called was that of organizing a national government, and in the performance of this work he showed that he belonged to the highest type of constructive statesmen, and was one of the rare men who build, and whose building stands the test of time. Last to be mentioned, but first in rank, was the Department of State. For this high place Washington chose Thomas Jefferson, who was then our minister in Paris, and who did not return to take up his official duties until the following March. Of the four cabinet offices, this was the only one where Washington proceeded entirely on public grounds. He took Jefferson on account of his wide reputation, his unquestioned ability, his standing before the country, and his experience in our foreign relations. With the other three there was a strong element of personal friendship and familiarity. With the Secretary of State his intercourse had been, so far as we can judge, almost wholly of a public character, and so far as can be inferred from an expression of some years before, the selection was made by Washington in deference simply to what he believed to be the public interest. The only allusion to Jefferson in all the printed volumes of correspondence prior to 1789 occurs in a letter to Robert Livingston, of January 8, 1783. He there said: “What office is Mr. Jefferson appointed to that he has, you say, lately accepted? If it is that of commissioner of peace, I hope he will arrive too late to have any hand in it.” There is no indication that their personal relations were then or afterwards other than pleasant. Yet this brief sentence is a strong expression of distrust, and especially so from the fact that Washington was not at all given to criticising other people in his letters. What he distrusted was not Jefferson's ability, for that no man could doubt, still less his patriotism.
whom he has not assailed. Yet he presents no reason, so far as I can see, to alter the present opinion of Randolph.