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Who the channel was by which this gross calumny passed to Callender cannot be doubted. Jefferson alludes to this matter in his unpublished writings, and it appears from his own friendly letters to the dismissed clerk, Fraunces, published by Hamilton, that he was applied to by him for pecuniary aid and for a certificate of character, that were declined in terms, which, when the previous course of Congress in reference to this clerk is adverted to, must be deemed not a little remarkable, the more so, as these letters were written to him by Jefferson a short time before the publication of Callender appeared.
Resolved to expose what he pronounced "the most vile of the vile attempts" to injure him, and immeasurably jealous of the unsullied purity of his official character, Hamilton forthwith published the papers which he had submitted to the three members of Congress, and the correspondence with Monroe. The effect of this manly procedure was to silence the foul calumny on his official purity, to elevate him the more with those who regarded his probity as a part of this nation's honor, and to fix lasting opprobrium upon the craven baseness to which party and personal malignity had stooped. Nor was retribution long withheld. It was dealt, as will appear, by the hand of the very instrument employed to publish this flagitious defamation.
As soon as Hamilton's comment on this nefarious attack came to Washington's knowledge, recalling previous intimations darkly given to him to Hamilton's prejudice, he wrote to him on the twenty-first of August this significant note:-"My dear Sir: Not for any intrinsic value the thing possesses, but as a token of my sincere
The affair known to J. M. (James Madison,) E. R. (Edmund Randolph,) Beckley and Webb."
regard and friendship for you, and as a remembrance of me, I pray you to accept a wine-cooler for four bottles, which Colonel Biddle is directed to forward from Philadelphia, (where with other articles it was left,) together with this letter, to your address. It is one of four which I imported in the early part of my late administration of the government; two only of which were ever used.
"I pray you to present my best wishes, in which Mrs. Washington joins me, to Mrs. Hamilton and the family; and that you would be persuaded, that, with every sentiment of the highest regard, I remain, your sincere friend and affectionate humble servant."
The enemies of Hamilton were the enemies of Washington. The same motives which had prompted this attack on the one, suggested an attack upon the other. Both were in their way.
Deeply as they felt themselves committed to France, the Democratic leaders saw that some explanation of the recall of Monroe was demanded by public opinion. The attempt of Edmund Randolph to relieve himself from disgrace by imputations upon Washington, had so signally failed, that instead of a precedent, it ought to have been a warning. Passion prevailed over policy, and an attack upon Washington, some time in contemplation, it was thought must be ventured; but what form it should assume, and what ground should be taken, was of difficult decision.
Monroe repaired to the residence* of Jefferson in Virginia, and here commenced his labored "vindication."
* Jefferson to John F. Mercer, Sept. 5, 1797. "We have now with us our friend Monroe. He is engaged in stating his conduct for the information of the public; as yet, however, he has done little."
Jefferson took great interest in this production, advised as to the title of the work, offered him suggestions as to parts, and intimated the policy of "keeping out direct censures of the President."* It was entitled "A View of the conduct of the Executive," the title of the previous attack upon Hamilton by Gallatin, at his instance. The character of this feeble production, may be judged by the previous narrative of his mission to France, the materials whereof it chiefly gives. It is sufficient to observe, that it divulges the confidential correspondence of the government with France, and this at a moment of imminent peril.
"As to the propriety," Washington remarked, "of exposing to public view the private instructions and correspondence of his own government, nothing need be said; for I should suppose that the measure must be reprobated by the well informed and intelligent of all nations, and not less by his abettors in this country, if they were not blinded by party views, and determined at all hazards to catch at any thing, that in their opinion will promote them. The mischievous and dangerous tendency of such a practice is too glaring to require a comment.”
The dangers of foreign influence are seen to have weighed upon the mind of Washington during the latter years of his life. He felt it a duty to himself and to his country to leave behind him, for after times, recorded evidence of his convictions of the conduct of the recalled envoy. These strictures were, after his decease, made public.
"As to the recall of Monroe," he remarks, "if an agent of his appointment is found incompetent, remiss in his duty, or pursuing wrong courses, it becomes the indis
* Jefferson to Monroe, Oct. 25, 1797.
pensable duty" of the President "to remove him from office; otherwise he would be responsible for the consequences. Such was Mr. Monroe in the estimation of the President upon trial of him." "None but a party man, lost to all sense of propriety, could have asked "a disclosure to him of the contents of the treaty with Great Britain previous to its ratification," and no other would have "brought himself into such a predicament."—"There is abundant evidence of his being a mere tool in the hands of the French government, cajoled and led away always by unmeaning assurances of friendship." *†
*Washington's Writings, vol. xi. Appendix, No. x.
Monroe to Madison, Nov. 15, 1796. "Notwithstanding this unprecedented outrage," (his removal,) "I have still some tenderness towards General Washington."
Jefferson to Monroe, Dec. 27, 1797. "Your book was later coming out than was wished, however, it works irresistibly; it would be very gratifying to you to hear the unqualified eulogies, both on the matter and manner, by all who are not hostile to it from principle. A pamphlet, written by Fauchet (now reprinting here) reinforces the views you have presented of the duplicity of the administration here."
Jefferson to Monroe, Feb. 7, 1798. "I understand, that the opposite party admit that there is nothing in your conduct which can be blamed, except the divulging secrets; and this, I think, might be answered by a few sentences, discussing the question, whether an ambassador is the representative of the country or of the President? "
Jefferson to Monroe, April 5, 1798. "Your narrative and letters, wherever they are read, produce irresistible conviction, and cannot be attacked, but by a contradiction of facts on which they do not venture."
THE capture of Mantua consummated the fate of Italy and the fortunes of France.
Having levied a contribution on the Papal dominions, Bonaparte, with a boldness only sanctioned by his immense genius, leaving behind him his recent conquests, resolved to dictate at Vienna the terms of peace to the Germanic Empire.
While one division of his forces traversed the defiles of the Tyrol, he, at the head of the main body, penetrated, amidst clouds, and snows, and ice, the mountains which overlook at a distance the valley of the Danube.
There, from the last summit of the Noric Alps, his ardent soldiers, enriched with spoils, united with the hardy army of the Rhine, emulous of each other's fame, menaced the hereditary States of Austria. The patriotism of the mountain peasants, and the obstinate courage of the choicest troops of the Empire, offered a vain resistance to their impetuosity. Trieste was occupied, Carinthia overrun,—Vienna trembled at her approaching doom; and, after six years of desolating warfare, the Emperor rescued the fanes of his ancient capital from sacrilege, by the preliminary treaty of Leoben.
Having extended the dominions of France to the borders of the Rhine, and indemnified Austria for the loss of