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who would have been thought more likely to reach this high honour, if the federal constitution could have been anticipated. Yet he had been gradually rising in the estimation of his countrymen, until he outstripped every competitor for their favour, except two; and although one of them held that place in the hearts of his fellow citizens which it was impossible to supplant, the other, after a temporary ascendency, had finally to yield to Mr. Jefferson's happier star.
Party hopes and fears. Foreign relations of the United States. The President's Inaugural Address. Its character. Letter to John Dickinson. Removals from Office. Arguments for and against them. Messenger to France with the Treaty. Offers Thomas Paine a conveyance to America. His Justification. Letter to Dr. Priestley-to Mr. Gerry. His Cabinet. Political changes in New England. Abrogation of Forms. Remonstrance from New Haven.The President's Answer. Its effects on Public Opinion. R. Livingston sent Minister to France. Instructions to him. A Squadron sent to Tripoli. Policy on the Appointment of Ministers. Sketch of Parties. Circular to the Heads of Departments. He communicates with both Houses of Congress through the Speakers. The Message-assailed by the Federalists.
MR. Jefferson was now, after an interval of twenty-two years, again to assay the discharge of executive duties, not indeed as before, in a time of war, but on a theatre so much larger and more extended, as to make it an office of far greater difficulty and responsibility. He had however the advantage of longer experience and a wider survey of life both at home and abroad, and he seems to have assumed the reins with a confidence that he would be able to guide them with a safe and steady hand.
Though the election of Mr. Jefferson produced probably equal sensation with both parties, there was not the same degree of manifestation of it by both. The deep mortification and the fears which were undoubtedly felt by the federalists, were exhibited at first in a lowering and silent discontent, whilst their opponents gave vent to their joy in the loudest demonstrations of triumph and exultation. They saw in the clevation of their favourite, an assurance that the
schemes to undermine the constitution, and which they sincerely believed to exist, were discomfited, that the government would be now administered on its true principles, and that these principles, which, by a train of untoward circumstances, had been brought into a temporary discredit, would be soon reinstated in the affections of the people. The federalists, on the other hand, indulged in the most gloomy anticipations. They feared that Mr. Jefferson, in his devotion to France and to French principles, would use all his influence to strengthen her connexion with the United States, by which their peace would be hazarded, their morals polluted, and their religion subverted. That those parts of the national policy which had been most cherished by the federalists, as likely to give consistency and stability to the general government, would be systematically demolished-as the funding system, the bank, and the navy; and that the great mass of those who held office would be removed to make way for their opponents. It remains to be seen how far the fears of one party and the hopes of the other were realized.
The existing relations between the United States and other nations were pacific, though circumstances were even then at work to bring them into collision with the two most powerful nations of Europe, and finally to cause open hostility with one of them. The good understanding with France seemed to be the more firmly established for the recent rupture. That nation felt the higher respect for the United States for the spirit they had exhibited, and in the complacency which the consciousness of this fact on their part inspired, there was no room for any rankling resentment. The terrors which jacobinism had inspired among the federalists were now allayed by the new government, whose first consul soon let the world see that, whatever other political evils France was to experience, that of anarchy was not to be one. The good will of England was not conciliated by
our renewed amity with her enemy, and she continued to impress American seamen; but this cause of complaint, irritating as it was, hardly seemed sufficient to drive the nation into war, by which it was sure to lose the gainful privileges of neutrality. Spain was still disposed to refuse the port of New Orleans as a place of deposit; but confidence was entertained that it would be obtained by negotiation.
On the 4th of March, 1801, the President elect delivered his inaugural address in the Senate chamber. Though couched in the language of humility, and breathing the spirit of benevolence and liberality, it asserts all the cardinal principles of the republican faith, but in such general terms as not to alarm the fears or irritate the prejudices of his opponents. As it presented to the nation the state of his feelings as well as an outline of the spirit in which he proposed to administer the government, and was, moreover, as a composition, the subject of the warmest eulogy of his partisans, and of the carping criticism of his adversaries, it is here given at length :
"Friends and fellow citizens, called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow citizens which are here assembled, to express my grateful thanks for the favour with which they have been pleased to look towards me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments, which the greatness of the charge, and the weakness of my powers, so justly inspire. A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich produce of their industry; engaged in commerce with nations, who feel power and forget right; advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye; when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honour, the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved
country, committed to the issue, and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation, and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. Utterly, indeed, should I despair, did not the presence of many whom I here see, remind me, that in the other high authorities provided by our constitution, I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal, on which to rely under all difficulties. To you then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support, which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel, in which we are all embarked, amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world.
During the contest of opinion through which we have passed, the animation of discussions and exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely, and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the constitution, all will of course arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All too will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind; let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection, without which liberty, and even life itself, are but dreary things; and let us reflect, that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance, as despotic as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient