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Chief-Justice Jay was sent as envoy to demand redress of the British Government, and made a treaty with Lord Granville the following year, which was ratified by the United States; but it gave great umbrage to many Americans, as they thought too much had been conceded to the demands of Great Britain.
Washington having refused a third nomination, Adams and Jefferson were nominated by the two opposite parties; Adams, having the greater number of votes, took the presidential oath, and Jefferson, as was then customary, became Vice-President. This election was the outcome of the question whether the United States should enter into intimate relations with France. The President refused the offers of alliance, but the Directory demanded it and the American minister, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, was ordered to leave the country. John Marshall and Elbridge Gerry were directed to join Mr. Pinckney abroad, and along with him endeavor to adjust matters peaceably; but the Directory refused to receive the ambassadors save upon the payment of a quarter of a million dollars into the treasury of France. To this demand Mr. Pinckney replied that the United States had millions for defence but not a cent for tribute; consequently they were all ordered to leave the country.
The adoption of the Alien and Sedition Acts, the first authorizing the President to send foreigners out of the country, threatened to lead to a great abuse of such unlimited power in the hands of one man; and the second, which punished with imprisonment and fine the freedom of speech of the press, savored of despotism, and caused the administration to become very unpopular; so that in the following election party spirit ran very high. Adams and Pinckney were nominated by the Federals, and Jefferson and Aaron Burr, Freneau's old classmate, by the Republicans.
The election being thrown on the House of Representatives, the choice fell upon Jefferson. Upon assuming his position the President sent for Freneau to come to the capital on "important business," and like the philosopher of old the latter sent the verbal reply: "Tell Thomas Jefferson that he knows where Philip Freneau lives, and if he has important business with him, let him come to Philip Freneau's house and transact it." Jefferson then tendered him an office, but Freneau declined. He had no ambition for offices, his work was done; he asked for no recompense, and he cared not for thanks; he had done what he thought was his duty to his country, and all he asked of it was to allow him to live and die in peace.
In studying the character of Thomas Jefferson, it would seem to be composed of two elements continually opposed to each other, and rather unpleasant ones to be united in the same person. By birth and education he was certainly fitted to enjoy the first society in America; endowed with tastes excessively refined for those days, and with the instincts of a European nobleman, he nevertheless discarded every advantage his birthright gave, for the sake of his conviction that no man was better than his neighbor; and he mingled with common people as their equal. At an early age the head of a large family, the ruling mind of all he came in contact with, ceded the highest place in school, college, home, and society, he was, notwithstanding, an ardent lover of solitude. The cherished member of a large circle of friends, welcomed from his youth at the tables of the great, considered an ornament to the exceptionally brilliant society of Williamsburg (Virginia), cultivated and shrinking from all that savored of roughness, he nevertheless shocked the sensibility of others by his ultra simplicity. Never allowing himself to deal with
the imagination, entering into the minutest detail of domestic life, calculating to a brick the amount needed for a building, yet a poetic and artistic temperament dominated his life. Popular with companions, courteous, cheerful, and of a sanguine temperament, his society said to have been delightful to all classes, yet, in spite of himself, making many enemies. Hating visitors and letter-writing, he had an almost feminine yearning for sympathy. Strong in physical vitality, yet of a feminine mould of character. Sensitive and peculiarly vulnerable, yet sharp and caustic in disposition. Limiting the individual powers of others, and believing sincerely in the opinion of the multitude, yet given to stretch his own powers whenever vested with authority. Without reverence, and even lacking in respect for authority, he resented it extremely when others resisted him. Never at ease in the atmosphere that surrounded him in his political life, and tortured by its manners, he was constantly immured in it. As a leader of democracy he appeared singularly out of place, resembling in many things the Duc de Liancourt, and building for himself a château at Monticello to be above the contact with men; yet his fears of a monarchy and aristocracy reached almost to fanaticism; with popular manners he never showed himself in a crowd. In the midst of the world he led a life
entirely his own.
Why such a man should have entered the arena of political life was as much of a puzzle as was his entire character. He is said to have been no orator, and owed nothing to personal magnetism. According to the received standard of greatness he certainly ranked among the great men. He is said to have had a penetrating mind, looking deeply into events, and a clear judgment; he was well read in books, but better in mankind; master over his passions, a philosopher, experienced in diplomacy, a master in intrigue. He is
said to have been double and vindictive, and insincerity is said to have been his predominant trait. It may have been these latter characteristics that caused Freneau, while upholding him politically, to avoid him when the political strife was over.
OWARDS the close of this stormy year, Jef-
cal life; the one returning to his home at
He now became a contributor to the "Freeman's
Journal," published in Philadelphia; and in 1793 pub- 1783
This year an almanac was ushered into existence, a