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vanity and self-importance, but it may be construed into a manœuvre to be invited to remain; and, on the other hand, to say nothing, implies consent, or, at any rate, would leave the matter in doubt; and to decline afterwards, might be deemed as bad and uncandid."
I would fain carry my request to you further," adds he. "As the recess [of Congress] may afford you leisure, and, I flatter myself, you have dispositions to oblige me, I will, without apology, desire, if the measure in itself should strike you as proper, or likely to produce public good, or private honor, that you would turn your thoughts to a valedictory address from me to the public."
He then went on to suggest a number of the topics and ideas which the address was to contain; all to be expressed in "plain and modest terms." But, in the main, he left it to Mr. Madison to determine whether, in the first place, such an address would be proper; if so, what matters it ought to contain and when it ought to appear; whether at the same time with his [Washington declaration of his intention to retire, or at the close of his career.
Madison, in reply, approved of the measure, and advised that the notification and address should appear together, and be promulgated through the press in time to pervade every part of the Union by the beginning of November. With the letter he sent a draft of the address. "You will readily observe," writes he, "that, in executing it, I have aimed at that plainness and modesty of language, which you had in view, and which, indeed, are so peculiarly becoming the character and the occasion; and that I had little more to do
as to the matter, than to follow the just and comprehensive outline which you had sketched. I flatter myself, however, that, in every thing which has depended on me, much improvement will be made, before so interesting a paper shall have taken its last form.'
JEFFERSON OPPOSES HIS RETIREMENT.
Before concluding his letter, Madison expressed a hope that Washington would reconsider his idea of retiring from office, and that the country might not, at so important a conjuncture, be deprived of the inestimable advantage of having him at the head of its councils.
On the 23d of May, Jefferson also addressed a long letter to Washington on the same subject. "When you first mentioned to me your purpose of retiring from the government, though I felt all the magnitude of the event, I was in a considerable degree silent. I knew that, to such a mind as yours, persuasion was idle and impertinent; that, before forming your decision, you had weighed all the reasons for and against the measure, had made up your mind in full view of them, and that there could be little hope of changing the result. Pursuing my reflections, too, I knew we were some day to try to walk alone, and, if the essay should be made while you should be alive and looking on, we should derive confidence from that circumstance, and resource if it failed. The public mind, too, was then calm and confident, and therefore in a favorable state for making the experiment. But the public mind is no longer so confident and serene; and that from causes in which you are no ways personally mixed."
Jefferson now launched out against the public debt
* Washington's Writings. Sparks, xii. 382.
and all the evils which he apprehended from the funding system, the ultimate object of all which was, said he, "to prepare the way for a change from the present republican form of government to that of a monarchy, of which the English constitution is to be the model." He concluded by pronouncing the continuance of Washington at the head of affairs, to be of the last impor
"The confidence of the whole Union," writes he, "is centred in you. Your being at the helm will be more than an answer to every argument which can be used to alarm and lead the people in any quarter into violence or secession. North and South will hang together, if they have you to hang on; and, if the first corrective of a numerous representation should fail in its effect, your presence will give time for trying others not inconsistent with the union and peace of the States.
"I am perfectly aware of the oppression under which your present office lays your mind, and of the ardor with which you pant for retirement to domestic life. But there is sometimes an eminence of character on which society have such peculiar claims, as to control the predilections of the individual for a particular walk of happiness, and restrain him to that alone, arising from the present and future benedictions of mankind. This seems to be your condition, and the law imposed on you by Providence, in forming your character, and fashioning the events on which it was to operate; and it is to motives like these, and not to personal anxieties of mine or others, who have no right to call on you for sacrifices, that I appeal from your former determination and urge a revisal of it, on the ground of change in
the aspect of things. Should an honest majority result from the new and enlarged representation, should those acquiesce, whose principles or interests they may control, your wishes for retirement would be gratified with less danger, as soon as that shall be manifest, without awaiting the completion of the second period of four years. One or two sessions will determine the crisis; and I cannot but hope, that you can resolve to add one or two more to the many years you have already sacrificed to the good of mankind.” *
* Writings, x. 508.
LETTER OF JEFFERSON.
JEFFERSON'S SUSPICIONS-CONTEMNED BY HAMILTON-WASHINGTON'S EXPOSTULATION-COMPLAINS OF THE CONDUCT OF FRENEAU'S PAPERHAMILTON AND RANDOLPH URGE HIM TO A RE-ELECTION—A WARRING CABINET-HAMILTON'S ATTACK ON JEFFERSON-WASHINGTON'S HEALING ADMONITIONS-REPLIES OF THE TWO SECRETARIES-CONTINUED HOSTILITY TO THE EXCISE LAW-WASHINGTON'S PROCLAMATIONRENEWED EFFORT TO ALLAY THE DISCORD IN HIS CABINET.
THE letter of Jefferson was not received by Washington until after his return to Philadelphia, and the purport of it was so painful to him, that he deferred from day to day having any conversation with that statesman on the subject. A letter written in the mean time, by Jefferson to Lafayette, shows the predominant suspicion, or rather, belief which had fixed itself in the mind of the former, and was shaping his course of action.
"A sect," writes he, "has shown itself among us, who declare they espoused our constitution not as a good and sufficient thing in itself, but only as a step to an English constitution, the only thing good and sufficient in itself, in their eyes. It is happy for us that these are preachers without followers, and that our people are firm and constant in their republican purity. You will wonder to be told that it is from the Eastward chiefly, that these champions for a king, lords, and