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CHAPTER hurricane. The executive will either find a strong and

X. steady gale from one point, or be assailed with a tornado 1797. which will throw every thing into confusion. I predict that no treaty, no compromise, no concession will afford security Revenue is essential, and there will, I fear, be insuperable objections started by the friends and enemies of government. Credit has been abused and exhausted in senseless speculations.

"You know that I am accustomed to respect your opinions, and, at any rate, I am not so ignorant of the extent of your influence with the friends of government as not to be sensible that if you are known to favor the sending of a commission, either nothing will be done, or your opinion will prevail. In this case, what will be the objection of sending Mr. Ingersoll of this city, or some such character, to be united with General Pinckney and John Quincy Adams, or with Mr. Murray, to ren dezvous at Amsterdam until the consent of France to renew negotiations can be obtained? Is a direct mission. to France, of which Madison is to be a member, in your view indispensable?

"I should be sorry if the friends of government should consider me, or any of the public officers, as desirous of producing a war with France, because I should consider this as evidence that our affairs are desperate. If the public pulse does not beat higher than that of government, all is over. So far as individual characters are affected, public opinion is of no consequence; but the public opinion in regard to measures is of the utinost consequence. There ought to be a zeal for strenuous measures, and this zeal ought to be an engine in the hands of the executive for preserving peace. I think I can assure you that the movements of our political ma chine can not be adjusted to a minute scale, and that if




the direction is attempted to be varied, its future course CHAPTER will be nearly opposite to the present." This last paragraph is well worthy of notice as a remarkable specimen 1797. of political sagacity.

"I hope nothing in my last letter," wrote Hamilton April 5. in reply, "was misunderstood. Could it be necessary, I would assure you that no one has a stronger conviction than myself of the purity of the motives which direct your public conduct, or of the good sense and judgment by which it is guided. If I have a fear (you will excuse my frankness), it is lest the strength of your feelings, the companion of energy of character, should prevent that pliancy to circumstances which is sometimes indispens able.

"The situation of our country is singularly critical. There is too much reason to apprehend that the Emperor of Germany, in danger from Russia and Prussia, and perhaps from the Porte, may be compelled to yield to the views of France. England, standing alone, may be compelled to yield also. It is certain that great consternation in court and country attends the intelligence of Bonaparte's last victories. To be in rupture with France, united with England alone, or singly as is pos sible, would be a most unwelcome situation. Divided as we are, who can say what would be hazarded by it? In such a situation, it appears to me, we should rather err on the side of condescension than on the opposite side. We ought to do every thing to avoid rupture without unworthy sacrifices, and to keep in view, as a primary object, union at home. No measure can tend more to this than an extraordinary mission. To fulfill the ends proposed, it is certain that it ought to embrace a character in whom France and the opposition have full reliance. What risk car attend sending Madison, if


CHAPTER Combined, as I propose, with Pinckney, or Cabot, or such a man? Pinckney is a man of honor, and loves his country. Cabot we both know. Besides, there ought to be certain leading instructions from which they may not deviate. I agree with you that we have nothing to retract; that we ought to risk every thing before we submit to dishonorable terms. But we may remold our treaties. We may agree to put France on the same footing with Great Britain by our treaty with her. We may also liquidate, with a view to future wars, the import of the mutual guarantee in the treaty of alliance, substituting specific succors, and defining the casus fœderis. This last may or may not be done, though, with me, it is a favorite object. Ingersoll will not answer the purpose; but I had rather have him than do nothing. If Madison is well coupled, I do not think his intrigues can operate as you imagine. Should he advocate dishonorable con cessions to France, the public opinion will not support him. His colleagues, by address, and showing a disposition to do enough, may easily defeat his policy and maintain the public confidence. Besides, it is possible that too much may be taken for granted with regard to Mr. Madison."


While the sending of a new mission to France was thus zealously urged in his private correspondence by Hamilton, a similar course was warmly recommended by the leaders of the opposition, to whom the news of Pinckney's expulsion from France had given a certain March 30. shock. An article in the Aurora, very different from the usual ribald style of that journal, and which, from internal evidence, was ascribed to Madison, apologized for the refusal to receive Pinckney on the ground that, as the Directory had suspended their ordinary minister here, they could not receive an ordinary minister from




the United States. It was therefore urged that what CHAPTER was done in the case of Great Britain should be imitated now, and that, "suitably to the solemnity of the occa- 1797. sion," an envoy extraordinary should be appointed, to carry with him the "temper and sensibilities of the country."

Though the president had already made up his mind. to send an extraordinary mission, he still conformed to the practice of Washington in taking the written opinions of his cabinet. Wolcott retained his original opinion as to the expediency of a new mission, and Pickering coincided with him. Pickering, indeed, from his naturally inflexible temper, was liable, even more than Wolcott, to the danger suggested by Hamilton, that the strength of his feelings might prevent that pliability to circumstances which is sometimes indispensable in politics. They consented, indeed, to the appointment of ministers, but were of opinion that they should not enter France without a passport previously obtained, and a formal agreement of the French government to a renewal of negotiations.

On the day fixed by the president's proclamation, a May 13 full quorum of both houses of Congress assembled at Philadelphia. The Senate, which, during the greater part of Washington's administration, had been so equally divided that many important measures had been carried by the casting vote of the vice-president, had now a decided Federal majority. What would be the character of the House was considered uncertain. That body had undergone considerable changes. Ames had retired on account of his health. Madison, also, had declined a reelection, but his retirement was the less felt by his party, inasmuch as the superior promptitude and audacity of Gallatin had completely taken the leadership out of his

CHAPTER hands-a circumstance, possibly, which had contributed X. to his retirement. Page, also, had ceased to be a mem 1797. ber. Among the old members on the Federal side were Goodrich and Griswold, of Connecticut; Dayton, of New Jersey; Hartley, Kittera, and Sitgreaves, of Pennsylva nia; and Harper and Smith, of South Carolina. Among the new members on this side were Harrison Gray Otis, the successor of Ames, and Isaac Parker and Samue! Sewall, both afterwards chief justices of Massachusetts, of whom the former had superseded Dearborn; James A. Bayard, of Delaware, and John Rutledge, Jr., of South Carolina. That Rutledge should vote with the Federalists, and thus make an equal division of the delegation from South Carolina, was very disagreeable to Jefferson. General Morgan, distinguished in the Revolutionary war, one of the new members from Virginia, after a little wavering finally joined the Federalists.

The opposition could count of old members, Varnum, of Massachusetts; Livingston, of New York; Gallatin, Findley, and Swanwick, of Pennsylvania; Samuel Smith, of Maryland, who had now finally settled down on the Republican side; Giles, Nicholas, Parker, and Venable, of Virginia; Macon, of North Carolina; and Baldwin, of Georgia. Sumter, of South Carolina, who had been a member of the first and second Congress, now also again reappeared in the ranks of the opposition. Among the new opposition members were Matthew Lyon, of Vermont, and Blair M'Clenachan, of Pennsylvania. Neither party could be said to have a majority. Every thing depended upon a few wavering individuals, to gain over whom both sides made every exertion. Dayton, a very ambitious man, who strove as far as possible to please both sides, was re-elected speaker. The old clerk Bexley, a warm partisan of the opposition, and

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