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ical 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 marshaling behind them strong political forces. The point had been reached where the President was compelled to interfere unless he wished his administration 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 hạve 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 defense 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 for. bear, at least for the present, after expressing a wish that the cup which has been presented to us may not be snatched from our lips by a discordance of action, when I am persuaded there is no discordance in your views."
The difficulty was that there was not only discordance in the views of the two secretaries, but a fundamental political difference, extending throughout the people, which they typified. The accommodations of views and the support of the Constitution could only mean a support of Wash, ington's administration and its measures. Those measures not' only had the President's approval, but they were in many respects peculiarly his own, and in them he rightly saw the success and maintenance of the Constitution. But, unfortunately for the interests of harmony, these measures were either devised or ardently sustained by the Secretary of the Treasury. They were not the measures of the Secretary of State, and received from him either lukewarm support or active, if furtive, hostility. The only peace possible was in Jefferson's giving in his entire adherence to the policies of Washington and Hamilton, which were radically opposed to his own. In one word, a real, profound, and inevitable party division had come, and it had found the opposing chiefs side by side in the cabinet.
Against this conclusion Washington struggled hard. He had come in as the representative and
by the votes of the whole people, and he shrank from any step which would seem to make him lean on a party for support in his administration. He had made up his cabinet with what he very justly considered the strongest material. He believed that a breaking up of the cabinet or a change in its membership would be an injury to the cause of good government, and he was so entirely singleminded in his own views and wishes, that, with all his knowledge of human nature, he found it difficult to understand how any one could differ from him materially. Moreover, having started with the firm intention of governing without party, he determined, with his usual persistence, to carry it through, if it were possible. When party feeling had once developed, and division had sprung up between the two principal officers of his cabinet, no greater risk could have been run than that which Washington took in refusing to make the changes which were necessary to render the administration harmonious. With any lesser man, such a perilous experiment would have failed and brought with it disastrous consequences. There is no greater proof of the force of his will and the weight and strength of his character than the fact that he held in his cabinet Jefferson and Hamil. ton, despite their hatred for each other and each other's principles, and that he not only prevented any harm, but actually drew great results from the talents of each of them. Yet, with all his strength of grasp, this ill-assorted combination
could not last, although Washington resisted the inevitable in a surprising way, and he even begged Jefferson to remain when the impossibility of doing so had become quite clear to that gentleman.
The remonstrance in regard to the Freneau matter had but a temporary effect. Hamilton stopped his attacks, it is true; but Jefferson did not discontinue his, and he set on foot a movement which was designed to destroy his rival's public and private reputation. Hamilton met this attack in Congress, where he refuted it signally; and although the ostensible movers were members of the House, the defeat recoiled on the Secretary of State. Having failed in Congress and before the public to ruin his opponent, and having failed equally to shake Washington's confidence in Hamilton or the latter's influence in the administration, Jefferson made up his mind that the cabinet was no longer the place for him.
He became more than ever satisfied that he was a “wave-worn mariner," and after some hesitation he finally resigned and transferred his political operations to another field. A year later Hamilton, from very different reasons of a purely private character, followed him.
Meantime many events had occurred which all tended to show the growing intensity of party divisions, and which were not without their effect upon the mind of the President. In 1792 it became necessary to consider the question of the approaching election, and all elements united in urging