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to contain a third of the chairs which would be sufficient to admit it.
“ Similar to the above, but of a more sociable kind, are the visits every Friday afternoon to Mrs. Washington, where I always am. These public meetings, and a dinner once a week, to as many as my table will hold, with the references to and from the different departments of State, and other communications with all parts of the Union, are as much, if not more, than I am able to undergo; for I have already had, within less than year,
two severe attacks—the last worse than the first. A third, more than probably, will put me to sleep with
Congress adjourned on the 12th of August. Jefferson, commenting on the discord that had prevailed for a time among the members, observes, that in the latter part of the session, they had reacquired the harmony which had always distinguished their proceedings before the introduction of the two disagreeable subjects of the Assumption and the Residence: “these,” said he,
really threatened, at one time, a separation of the legislature sine die."
“ It is not foreseen," adds he, sanguinely, “that any thing so generative of dissension can arise again; and, therefore, the friends of government hope that, that difficulty surmounted in the States, every thing will work well.” *
Washington, too, however grieved and disappointed he may have been by the dissensions which had prevailed in Congress, consoled himself by the fancied harmony of his cabinet. Singularly free himself from all
* Jefferson's Works, iii. 184.
RIVALRY IN THE CABINET.
jealousy of the talents and popularity of others, and solely actuated by zeal for the public good, he had sought the ablest men to assist him in his arduous task, and supposed them influenced by the same unselfish spirit. In a letter to Lafayette, he writes, “ Many of your old acquaintances and friends are concerned with me in the administration of this government. By having Mr. Jefferson at the head of the department of State, Mr. Jay of the judiciary, Hamilton of the treasury, and Knox of war, I feel myself supported by able coadjutors who harmonize extremely well together."
Yet, at this very moment, a lurking spirit of rivalry between Jefferson and Hamilton was already existing and daily gaining strength. Jefferson, who, as we have intimated, already considered Hamilton a monarchist in his principles, regarded all his financial schemes with suspicion, as intended to strengthen the influence of the treasury and make its chief the master of every vote in the legislature," which might give to the government the direction suited to his political views.”
Under these impressions, Jefferson looked back with an angry and resentful eye, to the manner in which Hamilton had procured his aid in effecting the measure of assumption. He now regarded it as a finesse by which he had been entrapped, and stigmatized the measure itself as a “ fiscal mancuvre, to which he had most ignorantly and innocently been made to hold the candle.?
* Jefferson's Works, ix. 92.
LAFAYETTE AT THE HEAD OF THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE-HIS LETTER
TO WASHINGTON-GOUVERNEUR MORRIS'S OPINION OF HIS POSITIONWASHINGTON'S DUBIOUS AND ANXIOUS VIEWS——PRESENTED BY LAFAY
ETTE WITH THE KEY OF THE BASTILLE-VISITS RHODE ISLAND AND
DURING these early stages of his administration the attention of Washington was often called off from affairs at home to affairs in France; and to the conspicuous and perilous part which his friend and disciple Lafayette, was playing in the great revolutionary drama.
“ Your friend, the Marquis de Lafayette," writes the Marquis de la Luzerne, “finds himself at the head of the revolution; and, indeed, it is a very fortunate circumstance for the State that he is, but very little so for himself. Never has any man been placed in a more critical situation. A good citizen, a faithful subject, he is embarrassed by a thousand difficulties in making many people sensible of what is proper, who very often feel it not, and who sometimes do not understand what it is."
Lafayette, too, amid the perplexities of conducting a revolution, looked back to the time when, in his early campaigns in America, he had shared Washington's
LETTER OF LAFAYETTE.
councils, bivouacked with him on the field of battle, and been benefited by his guardian wisdom in every emergency.
“How often, my well-beloved general," writes he (January, 1790), “have I regretted your sage counsels and friendly support. We have advanced in the career of the revolution without the vessel of State being wrecked against the rocks of aristocracy or faction. In the midst of efforts, always renewing, of the partisans of the past and of the ambitious, we advance towards a tolerable conclusion. At present, that which existed has been destroyed; a new political edifice is forming; without being perfect, it is sufficient to assure liberty. Thus prepared, the nation will be in a state to elect, in two years, a convention which can correct the faults of the constitution. .
The result will, I hope, be happy for my country and for humanity. One perceives the germs of liberty in other parts of Europe. I will encourage their development by all the means in my power.
Gouverneur Morris, who is no enthusiast of the revolution, regards its progress with a dubious eye. Lafayette, in the previous month of November, had asked his opinion of his situation. “I give it to him, writes Morris, " sans ménagement. I tell him that the time approaches when all good men must cling to the throne. That the present king is very valuable on account of his moderation; and if he should possess too great authority, might be persuaded to grant a proper constitution. That the thing called a constitution, which the Assembly have framed, is good for nothing. That, as to himself, his personal situation is very delicate. That he nominally, but not really, commands his troops. That I really cannot understand how he is to establish discipline among them, but, unless he can accomplish that object, he must be ruined sooner or later."
On the 22d of January, 1790, Morris writes to Washington, “Our friend, Lafayette, burns with desire to be at the head of an army in Flanders, and drive the Stadtholder into a ditch. He acts now a splendid, but dangerous part. Unluckily, he has given in to measures, as to the constitution, which he does not heartily approve, and heartily approves many things which experience will demonstrate to be injurious.” *
Far removed as Washington was from the theatre of political action, and but little acquainted with many of the minute circumstances which might influence important decisions, he was cautious in hazarding opinions in his replies to his French correspondents. Indeed, the whole revolutionary movement appeared to him so extraordinary in its commencement, so wonderful in its progress, and so stupendous in its possible consequences, that he declared himself almost lost in the contemplation of it. “Of one thing you may rest perfectly assured," writes he to the Marquis de la Luzerne, “ that "nobody is more anxious for the happy issue of that business than I am; as no one can wish more sincerely for the prosperity of the French nation than I do. Nor is it without the most sensible pleasure that I learn that our friend, the Marquis de Lafayette, has, in acting the arduous part which has fallen to his share, conducted himself with so much wisdom and apparently with such general satisfaction."
* Sparks' Life of Morris, ii. 86.