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applied to a Nero—to a notorious defaulter—or even to a common pickpocket. But enough of this—I have already gone further in- the expression of my feelings, than I intended."
Among the infamous libels of the day, were hunted up, and republished as genuine, a series of feigned and forged letters, which were written during the war, published in 1777, and ascribed to Washington, for the purpose of destroying public confidence in his patriotism, and fidelity to the United States; for which they were calculated, had they been his production; but they then detected themselves, by statements, at the time notoriously false: for which they had been consigned to a merited execration, and oblivion. But now, published to a new generation, they had a considerable effect; especially as the president made no public denial of them, until about the time he went out of office.
But one of the most insolent and atrocious things which were attempted to influence the approaching election, was the interference of Adet, the French minister. He chose this time, to make a communication of the complaints, whether imaginary or real, that France had against the United States; and to conclude it by recurring to the war, in which he said, "Frenchmen mingling with Americans, shed their blood, to establish the independence of the latter in a ferocious war, against those same Englishmen, who had sworn the destruction of France, now engaged in a similar contest for liberty and independence." With much more, pathetically written, and connected with other representations, calculated to shew that from the present administration of the government of the United States, and its supporters, France had nothing to expect, or to hope: that indeed his powers as minister were ordered to be suspended; but that it was not to be considered as a rupture between the two nations, but as a mark of just discontent, which was to last until the government of the United States returned to sentiments, and to measures, more conformable to the interests of the alliance, and to the sworn friendship between the two nations. An abstract intended to produce the strongest possible effect on public feeling, was made from this letter, before it was sent to the secretary, and published immediately after. The design was too obvious to be mistaken—it was to affect the ensuing election.
The contest, in which Kentucky deeply sympathized, as "republicans," with all other republicans, whether French or Americans, terminated in due time, in favour of Mr. Adams for president, and Mr. Jefferson for vice president.
But this was a sore defeat to the rulers of France, and their partisans. There was, nevertheless, created for them, a new focal point. Mr. Jefferson was again brought to the capital of the United States, and once more placed in a prominent situation in the government. In the mean time, however, he wrote his letter to his friend Mazzei. And as it is deemed peculiarly characteristic of the author, who can but be interesting, it will be inserted here:
"Our political situation is prodigiously changed since you left us. Instead of that noble love of liberty, and that republican government which carried us through the war, An AngloMonarchio-aristocratic Party has arisen. Their avowed object is to impose on us the substance, as they have already given us the form of the British government. Nevertheless the principal body of our citizens remain faithful to republican principles. All our proprietors of lands are friendly to those principles; as also the men of talents.
"We have against us, the executive power—the judiciary power, two out of three branches of our government—all the officers of our government—all who are seeking office—all timid men, who prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty—the British merchants, and the Americans who trade on British capitals—the speculators—persons interested in the public funds—establishments invented with views of corruption, and to assimilate us to the British model in its corrupt parts.
"I should give you a fever, were I to name the apostates who have embraced these heresies. Men who were Solomons In Council, And Sampson's In Combat, But Whose Hair Has Been Cut Off By The Whore Of England.
"They would wrest from us that liberty which we have obtained by so much labour and peril; but we shall preserve it. Our mass of weight and riches is so powerful, that we have nothing to fear from any attempt against us by force. It is sufficient that we guard ourselves, and that we break the Lilliputian tics-by which they bound us in the first slumbers which succeeded our labours. It suffices that we arrest the progress of that system of ingratitude and injustice towards France, from which they would alienate us to bring us under British influence. (Signed) "THO: JEFFERSON."
This letter was published in the Paris Moniteur, of the 25th of January, 1797: of course, written the year preceding—that is, while Mr. Jefferson was professing an abstraction from all political questions, and making to President Washington, professions of his respect and esteem. Cullender's libels against that great and good man, since known to have been approved, and paid for, by Mr. Jefferson; might have been more gross upon the president, and the federalists, -who supported him, but they could not have been more complete, or comprehensive. Thus, and by other means no less obvious and flagrant, was the animosity of France against the United States kept up, encouraged, and fomented, by prominent and influential citizens of the United States. While for this, and other evidence no less conclusive, or that Mr. Jefferson was the enemy of England, and of his own government, in.favour of France, did the latter adopt him, of which demonstrations were given, as her candidate for the presidency of the United States. So far from this interference of a powerful foreign nation giving alarm to the party here, and inducing it to withdraw, it felt itself strengthened by it, and pleased with it; notwithstanding that the rulers of France still continued the door shut against the American minister, General Pinkney; who had been sent to them in the true spirit of amity and peace: and as a confirmation of their French feeling, the whole anti-federal phalanx throughout the United States, Kentucky included, gave its vote to Mr. Jefferson for president: at the very time, too,
the commerce of the United States was suffering severe injo* ries, from the depredations of French cruisers, in the West Indies. But this history is compelled to forbear details on these subjects.
[1797.] Mr. Adams, having become the president of the United States on the 4th of March, 1797, could not withhold his attention from the relative conditions of France, and the United States; and feeling as a true American executive, on the receipt of General Pinkney's despatches, issued his proclamation soon after, for congress to meet on the 15th of June.
At the meeting of Congress, the president pursuing the example set him by his immediate predecessor, made his communications in person. Adverting to the speech of the president of the French Directory, delivered to Colonel Monroe, in his last audience; he said, that it "disclosed sentiments more alarming than the refusal of a minister; because more dangerous to our independence and union; and, at the same time, studiously marked with indignities towards the government of the United States. It evinces a disposition to separate the people from their government; to persuade them that they have different affections, principles, and interests, from those of their fellow citizens, whom they themselves, have chosen to manage their common concerns; and thus to produce divisions fatal to our peace. Such attempts ought to be repelled with a decision which shall convince France, and the" world, that we are not a degraded people, humiliated under a colonial spirit of fear, and sense of inferiority, fitted to be the miserable instruments of foreign influence, and regardless of national honour, charactjr, and interest."
The president further avowing, the friendly and pacific dispositions of the government towards France, declared his intended attempt at further negotiation: pursuing this idea in good faith, he instituted the commission of Pinkney, Marshall, and Gerry; to whom he gave instructions to endeavour to effect reconciliation, and preserve peace, by all means compatible with the honour, and the faith, of the United States; but no national engagements were to be impaired; no innovations to be made upon any internal regulations which had peace for their object; nor were any rights of the government to be surerendered.
Accordingly, the attempfat reconciliation was renewed— the envoys presented themselves in Paris, and were haughtily refused to be received.
In the mean time, insults on them were multiplied; and depredations on the commerce of the United States increased to a degree of open hostility. So firmly fixed, nevertheless, were the anti-federal party, in their principles, and their policy, that but few defalcations took place in it: while it regularly opposed the measures offered, to place the country in a state of defence: exclaiming equally against a navy, and an army. These men called themselves "republicans"—the French called themselves "republicans"—and although the latter had proved themselves, to be ferocious, ambitious, and depredating, even as to, the former; yet they could not raise their.hands, nor voices either, "against their brethren, of the same principle." Such is the infatuation of faction, and party spirit, when it takes a foreign direction, and yields itself to the influence of sinister politicians: who, conscious of their own want of merit, and yet goaded by their ambition, to aspire to primary, or other high offices; which they cannot expect to attain by direct and honest means, resort to arts calculated to impose upon and delude the most ignorant, and always the most numerous portion of the popular .mass; and who, in republics, have but too often the preponderance in the affairs of government; though beyond their understanding, as they are out of the range of their information and reflection. It being taken as an admitted postulatum, that no man can decide correctly, nor should he be railed on to decide at all, that which, he does not, and has not capacity, to understand.
The legislature of Kentucky assembled in the month of February of this year, and resumed the business of law making, and mending. Like those of the last session, many of them are collecting and reducing acts. The titles of some of them will here be inserted: