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a one-horse chaise, driven by a negro, to be dumped like the rest. Those fortunate enough to be taken in hearses were unattended, and at their sight every one fled in consternation. Masters sent their servants away on the first suspicion of the dreaded disease, and servants abandoned their masters; many persons died from lack of care, and frequently dead bodies were found in the streets. This dreadful state of affairs lasted from the latter part of August till some time in September.
Notwithstanding this terrible scourge, there was no mitigation of party animosity; and Greenleaf with his Argus," and Freneau with his "National Gazette," only increased the general consternation.
Genet, by his imprudent measures, obliged Washington to request his recall; but he decided not to return to France, and instead become a naturalized citizen of the United States. He eventually married the daughter of Governor Clinton, the anti-Federalist Governor of New York State. This marriage was celebrated in the Walton Mansion, as we stated in a previous chapter. An article on Genet, which we are not able to place, it being a fragment written in pencil, but undoubtedly copied, runs: "I have spoken of Genet with severity; he labors under reproach by every historian who has recorded his deeds, and by none is he more chastised than by Judge Marshall; yet, withal, Genet possessed a kindly nature, was exuberant in speech, of lively parts, and surcharged with anecdotes. His intellectual culture was considerable; he was master of several living languages, a proficient in music, as well as a skilful performer. To remarks I made to him, touching his execution on the piano, he subjoined: 'I have given many hours daily for twelve years to this instrument, and I now reach some effective sounds.' He had a genius for mechanics, and after he had become an agriculturist in this
country, wrote on machinery and on husbandry. He assured me (in 1812) the time would arrive when his official conduct as minister would be cleared of its dark shades. ‘To other shoulders,' said he, 'will be transferred the odium I now bear.' In a conversation with him on the vicissitudes and events of the French Revolution, he said: Their leaders were novices; had they been versed in Albany politics but for three months, we would have escaped many trials, and our patriotism been crowned with better results.' It is to be regretted that the papers of Genet have not yet seen the light; they embrace letters from Voltaire and Rousseau, and years of correspondence with eminent American statesmen, down to the close of his eventful life. He died at Jamaica, Long Island, in 1834, aged seventy-one years.'
The troubles that grew out of this unhappy season caused a rupture between Hamilton and Jefferson that never died out, and was the origin of the two political parties of Federalists and Republicans, which were headed by their respective founders.
Washington was greatly annoyed at the course the "National Gazette had pursued throughout, and Hamilton attacked Jefferson for his official support of the troublesome editor, to which attack Jefferson replied that a man should not be ostracized for his political opinions, or for freedom of speech, and that his paper had saved the Constitution which was galloping fast into monarchy and had been stopped by no means so powerful as by that paper, which had checked the career of the monocrats.
Towards the close of this eventful year Jefferson resigned his position in the Cabinet, and Freneau retired from the editorship of the Gazette. His work had been of a pretty hot character, but it was directed to the end for which he had, from the first, toiled and struggled. Mr. Benjamin, in speaking of his efforts,
has said: "Amid all the excitement and warfare of words which attended the adoption of the new Constitution, we observe one figure who, next to Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton, appears to assume a prominence superior to that of all others engaged in the political contest, - not so much by the weight of his intellect, as by his versatility and vivacity, and the readiness and keenness of the weapons he brought to the warfare; and in all the history of American letters or of the United States press, there is no figure more interesting or remarkable, no career more versatile and varied than that of Philip Freneau; his mind was highly original and independent, and his paper spoke its mind without fear or favor, and even criticised the father of his country, whom many suspected of monarchical tendencies. Jefferson declared that the paper had saved the Constitution: In the 'Gazette' the administration was arraigned in bitterest terms. The paper was an immense political one under him. Some thought it all for good, others all for evil."
It does not seem that there was any personal feeling against Freneau; even his adversaries said: "The charges which have been brought against the editor of the National Gazette,' as he himself states them to be, are no otherwise personal charges than as they designate the person against whom they are made. In their application to Mr. Freneau, they affect him solely in his capacity of editor of a public paper which may justly be condemned in a public capacity and in relation to matters of public or national concern."
In the American Encyclopædia it is stated that in later life Freneau had admitted that Jefferson was the author of some violent articles against the government under Washington. It has also been stated that Freneau had made an affidavit to the same effect as Jefferson's letter to Washington in which he calls upon Heaven to witness that he had never written,
suggested, nor dictated any articles against the government that had not borne his signature. That letter was dated 1792, and an article attacking Freneau's affidavit was also dated the same year. Freneau's affidavit and Jefferson's strong denial may have covered the time up to which they were made, yet after that event Jefferson may have written articles for the paper, as it continued under Freneau until the end of October, 1793. It is not at all probable that Freneau would perjure himself even to save a friend dearer than Jefferson. Through all Freneau's writings there seems to be the greatest respect and veneration for the name of the Almighty; and his hatred of untruth or insincerity in any form is well known; it breathes forth in almost every line of his poetry, and often to his own prejudice. He could hardly have expressed his open disgust of Rivington's duplicity, were he guilty of false swearing.
It is pleasing to know that although Freneau bitterly arraigned the government, and Washington's policy, there was no personal feeling between himself and Washington. Freneau always admired and praised the latter's character, and he has dedicated several poems to him; he has mentioned him in highest terms in others.1 Even during the fierce times we have related there appears one headed,
ON WASHINGTON, A TRULY GOOD MAN.
"Justum et tenacem propositi virum.”
Freneau's daughter Agnes, Mrs. Edward Leadbeater, over a decade of years deceased, remembered having seen Washington at her father's house, and has several
1 Some satirical verses against Washington, signed," Jonathan Pindar,” have been credited to Freneau, although it was proved that they were written by George Tucker, editor of "Blackstone's Commentaries," first Am. edition. These verses unfortunately appeared in the "Gazette." Tucker is well known as an author.
times, when a child, sat upon his lap. She related an amusing story of an old slave in her father's family, named Aunt Stine, who boasted of having been addressed by Washington upon opening the door for him, when calling upon her master. Mrs. Leadbeater's oldest child having been born in Philadelphia, she was returning with it to Mount Pleasant, Aunt Stine accompanying her to carry the infant. They had taken their seats in the public coach, when the postilion called out that there was "a nigger inside," which was probably contrary to custom. Mrs. Leadbeater turned to her stage companions, strangers to her, and said that if her maid would not be allowed to ride inside she herself would be obliged to leave the coach, as she was not strong enough to carry the infant. Her companions at once expressed their perfect willingness to enjoy Aunt Stine's company, and the latter, triumphant in her victory, turned to the postilion, and said: "Guess she'd rode in better carriages than that old coach; guess she had ridden in General Washington's carriage too." In telling the story her mistress added, she supposed Aunt Stine had climbed into the General's carriage upon one of his calls upon her father. The same lady always resented it when any one spoke of her father as being an enemy of Washington. She said, on the contrary, he admired and respected him, and always spoke of him in the highest terms. It was only towards his policy that he was inimical.
The same year as the withdrawal of Jefferson and Freneau from political life, saw another excitement before its close. George III. had given instructions to British privateers to seize all neutral vessels found trading in the French West Indies, but gave no notification of the fact to the United States, and American commerce was swept from the seas, to the great loss of the Government, as well as private