Washington and His Colleagues
Henry Jones Ford

Part 3 out of 3

to cause great alarm. A Jerseyman, who had expressed a wish that the wad
of a cannon, fired as a salute to the President, had hit him on the rear
bulge of his breeches, was fined $100. Matthew Lyon of Vermont, while
canvassing for reelection to Congress, charged the President with
"unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and a selfish
avarice." This language cost him four months in jail and a fine of $1000.
But in general the law did not repress the tendencies at which it was
aimed but merely increased them.

The Republicans, too weak to make an effective stand in Congress, tried to
interpose state authority. Jefferson drafted the Kentucky Resolutions,
adopted by the state legislature in November, 1798. They hold that the
Constitution is a compact to which the States are parties, and that "each
party has an equal right to judge for itself as well of infractions as of
the mode and measure of redress." The alien and sedition laws were
denounced, and steps were proposed by which protesting States "will concur
in declaring these Acts void and of no force, and will each take measures
of its own for providing that neither these Acts, nor any others of the
general Government, not plainly and intentionally authorized by the
Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories." The
Virginia Resolutions, adopted in December, 1798, were drafted by Madison.
They view "the powers of the federal Government as resulting from the
compact to which the States are parties," and declare that, if those
powers are exceeded, the States "have the right and are in duty bound to
interpose." This doctrine was a vial of woe to American politics until it
was cast down and shattered on the battlefield of civil war. It was
invented for a partisan purpose, and yet was entirely unnecessary for that

The Federalist party as then conducted was the exponent of a theory of
government that was everywhere decaying. The alien and sedition laws were
condemned and discarded by the forces of national politics, and state
action was as futile in effect as it was mischievous in principle. It
diverted the issue in a way that might have ultimately turned to the
advantage of the Federalist party, had it possessed the usual power of
adaptation to circumstances. After all, there was no reason inherent
in the nature of that party why it should not have perpetuated its
organization and repaired its fortunes by learning how to derive authority
from public opinion. The needed transformation of character would have
been no greater than has often been accomplished in party history. Indeed,
there is something abnormal in the complete prostration and eventual
extinction of the Federalist party; and the explanation is to be found in
the extraordinary character of Adams's administration. It gave such
prominence and energy to individual aims and interests that the party was
rent to pieces by them.

In communicating the X.Y.Z. dispatches to Congress, Adams declared: "I
will never send another Minister to France without assurance that he will
be received, respected, and honored, as the representative of a great,
free, powerful, and independent nation." But on receiving an authentic
though roundabout intimation that a new mission would have a friendly
reception, he concluded to dispense with direct assurances, and, without
consulting his Cabinet, sent a message to the Senate on February 18, 1799,
nominating Murray, then American Minister to Holland, to be Minister to
France. This unexpected action stunned the Federalists and delighted the
Republicans as it endorsed the position they had always taken that war
talk was folly and that France was ready to be friendly if America would
treat her fairly. "Had the foulest heart and the ablest head in the
world," wrote Senator Sedgwick to Hamilton, "been permitted to select the
most embarrassing and ruinous measure, perhaps it would have been
precisely the one which has been adopted." Hamilton advised that
"the measure must go into effect with the additional idea of a commission
of three." The committee of the Senate to whom the nomination was referred
made a call upon Adams to inquire his reasons. According to Adams's own
account, they informed him that a commission would be more satisfactory to
the Senate and to the public. According to Secretary Pickering, Adams was
asked to withdraw the nomination and refused, but a few days later, on
hearing that the committee intended to report against confirmation, he
sent in a message nominating Chief Justice Ellsworth and Patrick Henry,
together with Murray, as envoys extraordinary. The Senate, much to Adams's
satisfaction, promptly confirmed the nominations, but this was because
Hamilton's influence had smoothed the way. Patrick Henry declined, and
Governor Davie of North Carolina was substituted. By the time this
mission reached France, Napoleon Bonaparte was in power and the envoys
were able to make an acceptable settlement of the questions at issue
between the two countries. The event came too late to be of service to
Adams in his campaign for reelection, but it was intensely gratifying to
his self-esteem.

Some feelers were put forth to ascertain whether Washington could not be
induced to be a candidate again, but the idea had hardly developed before
all hopes in that quarter were abruptly dashed by his death on December
14, 1799, from a badly treated attack of quinsy. Efforts to substitute
some other candidate for Adams proved unavailing, as New England still
clung to him on sectional grounds. News of these efforts of course reached
Adams and increased his bitterness against Hamilton, whom he regarded as
chiefly responsible for them. Adams had a deep spite against members of
his Cabinet for the way in which they had foiled him about Hamilton's
commission, but for his own convenience in routine matters he had retained
them, although debarring them from his confidence. In the spring of 1800
he decided to rid himself of men whom he regarded as "Hamilton's spies."
The first to fall was McHenry, whose resignation was demanded on May 5,
1800, after an interview in which--according to McHenry--Adams reproached
him with having "biased General Washington to place Hamilton in his list
of major-generals before Knox." Pickering refused to resign, and he was
dismissed from office on May 12. John Marshall became the Secretary of
State, and Samuel Dexter of Massachusetts, Secretary of War. Wolcott
retained the Treasury portfolio until the end of the year, when he
resigned of his own motion.

The events of the summer of 1800 completed the ruin of the Federalist
party. That Adams should have been so indifferent to the good will of his
party at a time when he was a candidate for reelection is a remarkable
circumstance. A common report among the Federalists was that he was no
longer entirely sane. A more likely supposition was that he was influenced
by some of the Republican leaders and counted on their political support.
In biographies of Gerry it is claimed that he was able to accomplish
important results through his influence with Adams. At any rate, Adams
gave unrestrained expression to his feelings against Hamilton, and finally
Hamilton was aroused to action. On August 1, 1800, he wrote to Adams
demanding whether it was true that Adams had "asserted the existence of a
British faction in this country" of which Hamilton himself was said to be
a leader. Adams did not reply. Hamilton waited until October 1, and then
wrote again, affirming "that by whomsoever a charge of the kind mentioned
in my former letter, may, at any time, have been made or insinuated
against me, it is a base, wicked, and cruel calumny; destitute even of a
plausible pretext, to excuse the folly, or mask the depravity which must
have dictated it."

Hamilton, always sensitive to imputations upon his honor, was not
satisfied to allow the matter to rest there. He wrote a detailed account
of his relations with Adams, involving an examination of Adams's public
conduct and character, which he privately circulated among leading
Federalists. It is an able paper, fully displaying Hamilton's power of
combining force of argument with dignity of language, but although
exhibiting Adams as unfit for his office it advised support of his
candidacy. Burr obtained a copy and made such use of parts of it that
Hamilton himself had to publish it in full.

In this election the candidate associated with Adams by the Federalists
was Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina. Though one Adams
elector in Rhode Island cut Pinckney, he would still have been elected had
the electoral votes of his own State been cast for him as they had been
for Thomas Pinckney, four years before; but South Carolina now voted
solidly for both Republican candidates. The result of the election
was a tie between Jefferson and Burr, each receiving 73 votes, while Adams
received 65 and Pinckney 64. The election was thus thrown into the
House, where some of the Federalists entered into an intrigue to give Burr
the Presidency instead of Jefferson, but this scheme was defeated largely
through Hamilton's influence. He wrote: "If there be a man in this
world I ought to hate, it is Jefferson. With Burr I have always been
personally well. But the public good must be paramount to every private

The result of the election was a terrible blow to Adams. His vanity was so
hurt that he could not bear to be present at the installation of his
successor, and after working almost to the stroke of midnight signing
appointments to office for the defeated Federalists, he drove away from
Washington in the early morning before the inauguration ceremonies began.
Eventually he soothed his self-esteem by associating his own trials and
misfortunes with those endured by classical heroes. He wrote that
Washington, Hamilton, and Pinckney formed a triumvirate like that of
Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus, and "that Cicero was not sacrificed to the
vengeance of Antony more egregiously than John Adams was to the unbridled
and unbounded ambition of Alexander Hamilton in the American triumvirate."


Abundant materials are available for the period covered by this work.
Chief among them are the Annals of Congress, the State Papers, and the
writings of statesmen to be found in any library index under their names.
The style maintained by Washington early became a subject of party
controversy and to this may be attributed a noticeable variation in
accounts given by different authors. For instance, Washington Irving, who
as a child witnessed the first inauguration parade, says in his _Life of
Washington_ that the President's coach "was drawn by a single pair of
horses." But the detailed account given in the _New York Packet_ of May 1,
1789, the day after the ceremony, says that "the President joined the
procession in his carriage and four." The following authorities may be
consulted on the point:

B.J. Lossing, article in _The Independent_, vol. xli, April 25, 1889.

Martha J. Lamb, article in _Magazine of American History_, vol. xx,
December, 1888.

For details of official etiquette during Washington's administration, the
following may be consulted:

GEORGE WASHINGTON, _Diary_, from 1789 to 1791. Edited by B.J. Lossing

WILLIAM MACLAY, _Journal_, 1789-1791 (1890).

GEORGE W. P. CUSTIS, _Memoirs of Washington_ (1859).

JAMES G. WILSON, _The Memorial History of New York_ (1893).

ANNE HOLLINGSWORTH WHARTON, _Martha Washington_ (1897).

Works of special importance for their documentary matter and for their
exhibition of the personal aspect of events are:

J. C. HAMILTON, _History of the Republic of the United States_, 7 vols.

H. S. RANDALL, _Life of Thomas Jefferson_, 3 vols. (1858).

GEORGE GIBBS, _Administrations of Washington and John Adams_, 2 vols.

Some economic aspects of the struggle over Hamilton's financial measures
are exhibited by:

CHARLES A. BEARD, _Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy_ (1915).

New light has been cast upon Genet's mission, causing a great change in
estimates of his character and activities, by materials drawn from the
French archives by Professor F.J. Turner, and presented in the following

"The Origin of Genet's Projected Attack on Louisiana and the Floridas,"
_American Historical Review_, vol. iii.

"The Policy of France toward the Mississippi Valley," _American Historical
Review_, vol. x.

"The Diplomatic Contest for the Mississippi Valley," _Atlantic Monthly_,
vol. xciii.

Further references will be found appended to the articles on _Washington,
Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Jay_, and _John Adams_ in _The Encyclopaedia
Britannica_, 11th Edition.


Adams, John, favors making government impressive through ceremony,
attitude toward Genet affair, reelected Vice-president, elected
President, personal characteristics, relations with Jefferson, Cabinet,
defeat at election of 1800,

Addison, Alexander, Judge,

Algiers, relations with, treaty with,

Alien and Sedition laws,

Ames, Fisher, of Massachusetts,

Bacri, the Jew,

Barclay, Thomas,

Baldwin, Abraham, of Georgia,

Barlow, Joel,

Barry, John, Captain,

Beard, C.A., _Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy_, Benson, Egbert,
of New York,

Boudinot, Elias, of New Jersey,

Bradford, William, of Rhode Island,

Burke, Edanus, of South Carolina,

Burr, Aaron,

Butler, Pierce, of South Carolina,

Cabinet, President's, a development after Washington's administration,
status of,

Campbell, William, Major,

Carmichael, William,

Church, Edward, U. S. consul at Lisbon,

Clark, Abraham, of New Jersey,

Clark, George Rogers,

Clinton, George, of New York,

_Constellation_, The, ship,

_Constitution_, The, ship,

Constitutional amendments adopted,

_Daily Advertizer_,

_Dauphin_, The, ship,

Dayton, Jonathan, of New Jersey,

Dexter, Samuel, of Massachusetts,

District of Columbia, exact site to be selected by the President,

Ellsworth, Oliver, of Connecticut,

Federal Hall,


Federalist party,

Finance, National, Tariff bill, debt of United States (1790), Assumption
bill, national bank established, mint established,

Fishbourn, Benjamin,

Fitzsimmons, Thomas, of Pennsylvania,

France, relations with United States, treaties of 1778, representation in
United States, special mission to, treaties abrogated (1798), maritime
troubles with, second mission to,

Fraunces, A.G.,

Freneau, Philip, editor of _National Gazette_,

Genet, Edmond, appointed French minister to United States; a trained
diplomatist, audacious mission, reception in United States, policy
toward Louisiana, argues for treaty rights, public opinion for, arrest
by French Government, success, United States becomes his asylum,

Germantown, Proposal to place capital at,

Gerry, Elbridge, of Massachusetts,

Giles, W.B., of Virginia,

_Grange_, The, ship,

Grayson, William, of Virginia,

Great Britain, lays down contraband regulations, retains Western posts in
America, treaty with (1795),

Greenville, Treaty of (1795),

Gwinnett, Button,

_Hail Columbia_,

Hamilton, Alexander, personal appearance, aid in finance sought by
Washington, advises Washington as to deportment, appointed Secretary of
Treasury, rivalry between Madison and, opinion as to establishment of
courts, report to Congress (1790), stand on the question of security of
transfer, interest in site for national capital, report on manufactures,
appreciation of, author of interrogatories to the cabinet (1793),
opinion on French treaty obligations; stands against Jefferson, calmness
in regard to Genet affair, "Pacificus,", "No Jacobin,", resigns as
Secretary of Treasury (1793), party warfare against, requests a Treasury
investigation, opinion as to enforcing law, remains trusted adviser,
aids Wolcott in preparing scheme of taxation, appointed major-general,
relations with Adams, bibliography,

Hammond, George, British minister to United States,

Hancock, John,

Harmar, Josiah, Lieutenant-Colonel,

Hazard, Ebenezer, Postmaster-General,

Henry, Patrick,

Humphreys, David, Colonel,

Indian troubles in the West,

Jackson, Andrew,

Jackson, James, of Georgia,

Jay, John, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, appointed envoy extraordinary to
Great Britain (1794), mission to England, elected Governor of New York,

Jay treaty, terms of, agitation over, French attitude toward,

Jefferson, Thomas, appointed Secretary of State, attitude on question of
assumption of state debts, importance of public service, report on the
Algerine question, as minister to Paris, opinion on French treaty
obligations, "The Anas," disturbs the administration, resigns as
Secretary of State (1793), for the principle "free ships, free goods,"
opponent of Hamilton, drafts Kentucky Resolutions (1798), elected
President, bibliography,

Johnson, Thomas, of Maryland,

Jones, John Paul, Admiral,

Judiciary, Establishment of the,

Kentucky Resolutions,

Knox, Henry, Secretary of War since 1785, Secretary of War and of the
Navy, submits plan for militia, supports Hamilton in question of treaty
obligations, recommended as major-general by Washington, question of
precedence of rank, declines appointment,

_La Carmagnole_, ship,

_L'Ambuscade_, ship,

_L'Ami de la Point a Petre_, ship,

_La Montagne_, ship,

_L'Amour de la Liberte_, ship,

_La Vengeance_, ship,

_Le Cassius_, ship,

_Le Citoyen Genet_, ship,

Lee, Arthur,

Lee, Charles, of Virginia,

Lee, R.H., of Virginia,

l'Enfant, P.C.,

_Le Petit Democrate_, ship,

_L'Esperance_, ship,

_Le Vainqueur de Bastille_, ship,

_Little Sarah_, ship,

Livermore, Samuel, of New Hampshire,

Livingston, Walter,

Louisiana territory,

McGillivray, Alexander, Head chief of the Creeks,

McHenry, James, of Maryland,

McIntosh, Lachlan,

Maclay, William, of Pennsylvania, Diary of,

Madison, James, cooperates with Hamilton in government organization,
personal appearance, introduces scheme for raising revenue, upholds
President's power of removal, acts as advisor to Washington, opinion
as to system of federal courts, stand on question of security of
transfer, opinion on creation of a navy, "Helvidius," attitude toward
non-intercourse, drafts Virginia Resolutions (1798),

Marshall, John, opinion on neutrality of United States (1793), appointed
commissioner to France, becomes Secretary of State,

Military preparedness, Policy of,

Monroe, James,

Morris, Gouverneur,

Morris, Robert,

Moultrie, William, General,

Murray, W.V., Minister to Holland,

Napoleon Bonaparte,

_National Gazette_,

Naval policy of the United States,

Neutrality, Question of (1793),

New York, desires to be capital of nation, Washington's home in,

Nicholas, W.C., of Virginia,

Non-intercourse bill,

North Carolina admitted to the Union (1789),

O'Brien Richard, Captain,

O'Fallon, James, Dr.,

Osgood, Samuel, Postmaster-General,

Page, John, of Virginia,

Paine, Thomas,

Paterson, William, of New Jersey,

Philadelphia club,

Pickering, Timothy of Massachusetts,

Pinckney, C.C.,

Pinckney, Thomas,

President of the United States, social position and duties, official
title, power of removal by,

Putnam, Rufus, General,

Randolph, Edmund, appointed Attorney-General, opinion on question of
French treaty obligations, divides influence between factions in
cabinet, transferred to State Department, letter to Washington,
opinion as to enforcing law, applies to French minister for funds,

Republican party,

Residence act,

Rhode Island admitted to the Union (1790),

St. Clair, Arthur, General,

_Sans Pareil_, ship,

Sedgwick, Theodore, of Massachusetts,

Senate, privy council function of,

Short, William,

Smith, Samuel, of Maryland,

Smith, William, of South Carolina,

Spain, Treaty with (1795),

Stone, M.J., of Maryland,

Story, Joseph, Justice,


Tariff, _see_ Finance.

Taylor, John,

Treasury Department, established by Congress, rights and duties of
Secretary defined, Secretary's report,

Trenton, proposal to place capital at,

Truxtun, Thomas, Captain,

_United States_, The, ship

Virginia Resolutions

Wadsworth, Jeremiah, of Connecticut

War Department, Opposition to

Washington, George, reluctant to reassume public responsibilities,
installed as President (1789), personal characteristics; his
magnificence, his levees; first message to Congress; first cabinet,
message to Senate (1789), differences with the Senate, tours,
church-going habits, receives news of St. Clair's defeat, concern about
Genet affair, opinion as to validity of French treaty, dependence upon
Hamilton, address of Dec. 3, 1793, reelected President, party spirit
against, Farewell Address (1796), death (1799), bibliography,

Washington, Martha, arrival in New York, her entertainments

Wayne, Anthony, General

West Indies, trade with

Whiskey insurrection,

White, Alexander, of Virginia

Willett, Marinus, Colonel

Wolcott, Oliver, of Connecticut

"X.Y.Z." dispatches


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