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would rejoice more than I to find that the suspicions which have resulted from the intercepted letter were unequivocally and honorably removed."

Mr. Fauchet, in the mean time, having learnt previous to embarkation, that his despatch had been intercepted, wrote a declaration, denying that Mr. Randolph had ever indicated a willingness to receive money for personal objects, and affirming that he had had no intention to say any thing in his letter to his government, to the disadvantage of Mr. Randolph's character.*

Mr. Randolph now set to work to prepare a pamphlet in explanation of his conduct, intimating to his friends, that in the course of his vindication, he would bring things to view which would affect Washington more than any thing which had yet appeared.†

While thus occupied he addressed several notes to Washington, requiring information on various points, and received concise answers to all his queries.

On one occasion, where he had required a particular paper, he published in the Gazette an extract from his note to Washington; as if fearing the request might be denied, lest the paper in question should lay open many confidential and delicate matters.

In reply, Washington writes: "That you may have no cause to complain of the withholding of any paper, however private and confidential, which you shall think necessary in a case of so serious a nature, I have directed that you should have the inspection of my letter of the 22d of July, agreeably to your request, and you are at full liberty to publish, without reserve, any and every private and confidential letter I ever wrote to you; nay,

* Sparks' Writings of Washington, xi. 90.

+ Writings, xi. 89.

1795.]

more, every word I ever uttered to you or in your hearing, from whence you can derive any advantage in your vindication. I grant this permission, inasmuch as the extract alluded to manifestly tends to impress on the public an opinion, that something was passed between us, which you should disclose with reluctance, from motives of delicacy with respect to me.

*

That public will judge, when it comes to see your vindication, how far and how proper it has been for you to publish private and confidential communications which oftentimes have been written in a hurry, and sometimes without even copies being taken; and it will, I hope, appreciate my motives, even if it should condemn my prudence, in allowing you the unlimited license herein contained."

PERMISSION TO PUBLISH.

241

* See Marshall's Washington, vol. ii., p. 370. VOL. V.-16

*

The merit of this unlimited license will be properly understood when it is known that, at this time, Washington was becoming more and more the object of the malignant attacks of the press. The ratification of the treaty had opened the vials of party wrath against him. "His military and political character," we are told, "was attacked with equal violence, and it was averred that he was totally destitute of merit, either as a soldier or a statesman. He was charged with having violated the constitution, in negotiating a treaty without the previous advice of the Senate, and that he had embraced within that treaty subjects belonging exclusively to the legislature, for which an impeachment was publicly suggested. Nay more, it was asserted that he had drawn from the treasury, for his private use, more than the salary annexed to his office."*

This last charge, so incompatible with the whole character and conduct of Washington, was fully refuted by the late Secretary of the Treasury, who explained that the President never himself touched any part of the compensation attached to his office, but that the whole was received and disbursed by the gentleman who superintended the expenses of his household. That the expenses at some times exceeded, and at other times fell short of the quarter's allowance; but that the aggregate fell within the allowance for the year.

At this time the General Assembly of Maryland made a unanimous resolution to the following effect: that "observing with deep concern, a series of efforts, by indirect insinuation or open invective, to detach from the first magistrate of the Union, the well-earned confidence of his fellow-citizens; they think it their duty to declare, and they do hereby declare their unabated reliance on the integrity, judgment, and patriotism of the President of the United States.'

"

In a reply to the Governor of Maryland, Washington observed: "At any time the expression of such a sentiment would have been considered as highly honorable and flattering. At the present, when the voice of malignancy is so high-toned, and no attempts are left unessayed to destroy all confidence in the constituted authorities of this country, it is peculiarly grateful to my sensibility."

"I have long since resolved, for the present time at least, to let my calumniators proceed without any notice being taken of their invectives by myself, or by any others, with my participation or knowledge. Their views, I dare say, are readily perceived by all the en

RANDOLPH'S VINDICATION.

243

1795.]

lightened and well-disposed part of the community; and by the records of my administration, and not by the voice of faction, I expect to be acquitted or condemned hereafter."

The vindication which Mr. Randolph had been preparing, appeared in December. In this, he gave a narrative of the principal events relating to the case, his correspondence with the President, and the whole of the French minister's letter. He endeavored to explain those parts of the letter which had brought the purity of his conduct in question; but, as has been observed, "he had a difficult task to perform, as he was obliged to prove a negative, and to explain vague expressions and insinuations connected with his name in Fauchet's letter."

"' *

Fauchet himself furnished the best vindication in his certificate above mentioned; but it is difficult to reconcile his certificate with the language of his official letter to his government. We are rather inclined to attribute to misconceptions and hasty inferences of the French minister, the construction put by him in his letter, on the conversation he had held with Mr. Randolph.

The latter injured his cause by the embittered feelings manifested in his vindication, and the asperity with which he spoke of Washington there and elsewhere. He deeply regretted it in after life, and in a letter to the Hon. Bushrod Washington, written in 1810, he says: "I do not retain the smallest degree of that feeling which roused me fifteen years ago, against some individuals. * If I could now present myself before your venerated uncle, it would be my pride to

* *

* Note of Mr. Sparks. Washington's Writings, xi. 90.

confess my contrition, that I suffered my irritation, let the cause be what it might, to use some of those expressions respecting him, which, at this moment of indifference to the ideas of the world, I wish to recall, as being inconsistent with my subsequent conviction. My life will, I hope, be sufficiently extended for the recording of my sincere opinion of his virtues and merit, in a style which is not the result of a mind merely debilitated by misfortune, but of that Christian philosophy on which alone I depend for inward tranquillity.'

,, *

After a considerable interval from the resignation of Randolph, Colonel Pickering was transferred to the Department of State, and Mr. James McHenry was appointed Secretary of War. The office of AttorneyGeneral becoming vacant by the death of Mr. Bradford, was offered to Mr. Charles Lee of Virginia, and accepted by him on the last day of November.

During the late agitations, George Washington Lafayette, the son of the General, had arrived at Boston under the name of Motier, accompanied by his tutor, M. Frestel, and had written to Washington apprising him of his arrival. It was an embarrassing moment to Washington. The letter excited his deepest sensibility, bringing with it recollections of Lafayette's merits, services, and sufferings, and of their past friendship, and he resolved to become "father, friend, protector, and supporter" to his son. But he must proceed with caution; on account of his own official character as Executive of the United States, and of the position of Lafayette in regard to the French government. Caution, also, was necessary, not to endanger the situation

* Marshall's Life of Washington, 2d edition, vol. ii., note xx.

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