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1792.]

HAMILTON'S REPLY.

135

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tic sources, that I have been the frequent subject of the most unkind whispers and insinuations from the same quarter. I have long seen a formed party in the legislature under his auspices, bent upon my subversion. I cannot doubt, from the evidence I possess, that the National Gazette was instituted by him for political purposes, and that one leading object of it has been to render me and all the measures connected with my department as odious as possible.”

" Nevertheless,” proceeds he, “I can truly say, that, excepting explanations to confidential friends, I never, directly or indirectly, retaliated or countenanced retaliation till

very lately. But when I no longer doubted that there was a formed party deliberately bent upon the subversion of measures which, in its consequences, would subvert the government; when I saw that the undoing of the funding system in particular, (which, whatever may be the original measures of that system, would prostrate the credit and honor of the nation, and bring the government into contempt with that description of men who are in every society the only firm supporters of government,) was an avowed object of the party; and that all possible pains were taken to produce that effect, by rendering it odious to the body of the people, I considered it a duty to endeavor to resist the torrent, and, as an effectual means to this end, to draw aside the veil from the principal actors. To this strong impulse, to this decided conviction, I have yielded ; and I think events will prove that I have judged rightly."

Nevertheless, I pledge my hand to you, sir, that, if you

shall hereafter form a plan to re-unite the members of your administration upon some steady principle of co-operation, I will faithfully concur in executing it during my continuance in office. And I will not, directly or indirectly, say or do a thing that shall endanger a feud."

Jefferson, too, in a letter of the same date, assured Washington that to no one had the dissensions of the Cabinet given deeper concern than to himself—to no one equal mortification at being himself a part of them. His own grievances, which led to those dissensions, he traced back to the time when Hamilton, in the spring of 1790, procured his influence to effect a change in the vote on Assumption. “When I embarked in the government," writes he, “it was with a determination to intermeddle not at all with the legislature, and as little as possible with my co-departments. The first and only instance of variance from the former part of my resolution, I was duped into by the Secretary of the Treasury, and made a tool for forwarding his schemes, not then stufficiently understood by me; and of all the errors of my political life, this has occasioned me the deepest regret. If it has been supposed that I have ever intrigued among the members of the legislature to defeat the plans of the Secretary of the Treasury, it is contrary to all truth.

That I have utterly, in my private conversations, disapproved of the system of the Secretary of the Treasury, I acknowledge and avow; and this was not merely a speculative difference. His system flowed from principles adverse to liberty, and was calculated to undermine and demolish

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1792.]

JEFFERSON ON FRENEAU'S PAPER.

137

the republic by creating an influence of his department over the members of the legislature.”

In regard to Freneau's Gazette, Mr. Jefferson absolutely denied that he had set it up, but admitted that, on its first establishment, and subsequently from time to time, he had furnished the editor with the Leyden Gazette, requesting that he would always translate and publish the material intelligence contained in them. “But as to any other direction or indication,” adds he, “of my wish how his press should be conducted, what sort of intelligence he should give, what essays encourage, I can protest, in the presence of Heaven, that I never did, by myself or any other, directly or indirectly, say a syllable, nor attempt any kind of influence. I can further protest, in the same awful presence, that I never did, by myself or any other, directly or indirectly, write, dictate, or procure any one sentence or sentiment to be inserted in his or any other Gazette, to which my name was not affixed, or that of my office.

" Freneau's proposition to publish a paper having been about the time that the writings of PUBLICOLA and the DISCOURSES ON DAVILA had a good deal excited the public attention, I took it for granted, from Freneau's character, which had been marked as that of a good Whig, that he would give free place to pieces written against the aristocratical and monarchical principles these papers had inculcated.

“ As to the merits or demerits of his paper, they certainly concern me not. He and Fenno (editor of the United States Gazette) are rivals for the public favor; the one courts them by flattery, the other by censure, and I believe it will be admitted that the one

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has been as servile as the other severe. But is not the dignity and even decency of government committed, when one of its principal ministers enlists himself as an anonymous writer or paragraphist for either the one or the other of them?"

Mr. Jefferson considered himself particularly aggrieved by charges against him in Fenno's Gazette, which he ascribed to the pen of Mr. Hamilton, and intimated the possibility, that after his retirement from office, he might make an appeal to the country, should his own justification or the interests of the Republic require it, subscribing his name to whatever he might write, and using with freedom and truth the facts and names necessary to place the cause in its just form before that tribunal. " To a thorough disregard of the honors and emoluments of office, I join as great a value for the esteem of my countrymen; and conscious of having merited it by an integrity which cannot be reproached, and by an enthusiastic devotion to their rights and liberty, I will not suffer my retirement to be clouded by the slanders of a man, whose history, from the moment at which history can stoop to notice him, is a tissue of machinations against the liberty of the country which has not only received and given him bread, but heaped its honors on his head."

Washington's solicitude for harmony in his cabinet had been rendered more anxious by public disturbances in some parts of the country. The excise law on ardent spirits distilled within the United States, had, from the time of its enactment by Congress in 1791, met with opposition from the inhabitants of the Western counties of Pennsylvania. It had been modified and rendered

1792]

PROCLAMATION.

139

less offensive within the present year ; but the hostility to it had continued. Combinations were formed to defeat the execution of it, and the revenue officers were riotously opposed in the execution of their duties.

Determined to exert all the legal powers with which he was invested to check so daring and unwarrantable a spirit, Washington, on the 15th of September, issued a proclamation, warning all persons to desist from such unlawful combinations and proceedings, and requiring all courts, magistrates and officers to bring the infractors of the law to justice; copies of which proclamation were sent to the governors of Pennsylvania and of North and South Carolina.

On the 18th of October, Washington made one more effort to allay the discord in his cabinet. Finding it impossible for the rival secretaries to concur in any system of politics, he urged them to accommodate their differences by mutual yieldings. “A measure of this sort,” observed he, “would produce harmony and consequent good in our public councils, and the contrary will inevitably produce confusion and serious mischiefs; and all for what? Because mankind cannot think alike, but would adopt different means to attain the same end. For I will frankly and solemnly declare, that I believe the views of both 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 this dispute.”

"Why, then, when some of the best citizens of the United States--men of discernment-uniform and tried patriots—who have no sinister views to promote, but are chaste in their ways of thinking and acting, are

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