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" of the human mind, who have seen the false colours “under which passion sometimes dresses the actions “ and motives of others, have seen also those passions, “ in subsiding with time and reflection, dissipating like 5 mists before the rising sun, and restoring to us the “ sight of all things in their true shape and colours.” Very handsomely spoken indeed. But will Mr. Jefferson say that the opinion he now entertains of Mr. Adams materially differs from that he entertained from the year 1796 to 1801 ? If, during that period, dark mists were thrown around Mr. Adams, did not Mr. Jefferson contribute to raise them? If they were malignant vapours, were they not generated by the men whom he patronized, and at least one of whom he paid (as we have seen) for that very purpose ? Were those men some of the mischievous go-betweens, whose “whispers” made two old friends “ forget what they “ had known of each other for so many years ?? Mr. Adams, however, during that period, seems not to have supposed, that those libellers were the agents of Mr. Jefferson. His constant professions of friendship had laid Mr. Adams's suspicions asleep. The discovery of the truth justified his branding Mr. Jefferson with “ a want of sincerity.'
To use such means to outstrip his competitor, and rise to the supreme power, was to the last degree dishonourable; and, joined to his affectation of distinguished love for the people, (to be manifested by a repeal of the internal taxes, in order to ease their burthens) or, to use his own cant—"not to take from the mouth of labour the bread it has earned”—the practice of such means, and of such artifices, justly subjected Mr. Jefferson to another of Mr. Adams's charges “a mean thirst of popularity.” And the evidences of these two, support the third charge—“ his inordinate ambition."
Mr. Adams will not thank me for the pains I have here taken to justify him before the public for uttering those reproachful charges against Mr. Jefferson : for, ih his letter of apology, he may have taken them all back, together with every thing else in the “ Correspondence” which could give offence to his half century friend, the “patriarch” of republicans—lest they should have an inauspicious influence on the fortunes of his son.
After all, what is there in Mr. Jefferson's letter, of October 12th, to entitle him to the honour of a triumph—by some few so liberally decreed? Suppose Mr. Adams's accusations well-founded—as every intelligent reader, and all others acquainted with the affairs of the United States during the last twenty four years, may justly be inclined to believe—and suppose Mr. Jefferson to be conscious of their truth ; did it require any great stretch of charity to forgive his friend and fellow.“ patriarch
“Now at his feet submissive in distress," and suing for pardon ? and when freely to grant it would
present the idea of his own innocence and of Mr. Adams's guilt ? for if not guilty, why make apologies, or sue for pardon ? And while Mr. Adams's situation bears not the most honourable aspect, that of his friend is singularly happy; it exhibits the loveliness of innocence, the calmness of philosophy, and the meek, forgiving temper of Christianity.
But in what originated Mr. Adams's solicitude so promptly to apologize, in order to prevent, or soften, the displeasure of his old friend ? Certainly not the belief that all his reproaches were unfounded. It was, as above suggested, the apprehension of the effect of the “Correspondence,” made public prematurely-before the time which he had himself assigned for its publication and when he had not contemplated a crisis like the present. It was a moment of high family con
His son, who, by deserting his and his father's former friends, and joining their enemies, had risen anew to place and power-a boon which he saw was no longer attainable if he continued in their ranks, and persevered in their principles-was now a candidate for the highest object of republican ambition—the presidency of the United States. This elevation would
depend on his standing well with the great dominant party, of which Mr. Jefferson, originally the leader, was still, though not officially, yet in public estimation, the political head. Under these circumstances, Mr. Adams hastens to make apologies and atonement to Mr. Jefferson, for the just reproaches, or the foul slanders-they must be one or the other—which he had uttered against him. Mr. Adams may avow either, as will best comport with his knowledge, his conscience, or his family interest. His choice will not change my opinion, nor the opinions of the distinguished citizens still living, who have observed the course of public affairs, and of those who have conducted them, for the last three or four and twenty years.
In letter No. IV, January 10, 1804, Cunningham (as before observed) requests information concerning Mr. Jefferson, supposing “no man living had so thorough a knowledge of his transactions as Mr. Adams.” In his answer of the 16th of the same month, Mr. Adams says, “ You are mistaken when you say that no man
living has so much knowledge of Mr. Jefferson's “ transactions as myself.' In truth I know but little con“ cerning him.” Then, giving some details, showing how small had been the intercourse between them, he adds, “Although we agreed always very well, there was no
very close intimacy between us." Now observe the contrast. A little more than five years afterwardswhen his son John Quincy Adams (having before devoted himself to Mr. Jefferson, and continuing in full favour with his successor, Mr. Madison) had been nominated minister plenipotentiary to Russia-Mr. Adams was capable of making the following declaration : “ I sought and obtained an interview with Mr. Jeffer
With this gentleman I had lived on terms of INTIMATE FRIENDSHIP for five and twenty years, had " acted with him in dangerous times and arduous con• flicts, and always found him assiduous, laborious, and as far as I could judge, upright and faithful.”+ And * This refers to affairs of 1797; Mr. Jefferson being then Vice-President. † Mr. Adams's letter No. xii, dated May 29, 1809, in the Boston Patriot.
farther on, Mr. Adams says, “I will not take leave of “ Mr. Jefferson in this place, without declaring my s opinion, that the accusations against him, of blind de“votion to France, of hostility to England, of hatred “ to commerce, of partiality and duplicity in his late “ negotiations with the belligerent powers, are without “ foundation.” In the progress of this Review, the reader will learn how to estimate any of Mr. Adams's opinions, in cases where the interests of himself or of his son may be affected. I accord with Mr. Adams thus far—that Mr. Jefferson's devotion to France was not a blind devotion. The elucidation of this remark will appear, when I describe his Embargo, and the support of it by John Q. Adams.
So anxious has been Mr. Adams, to conciliate the good will of Mr. Jefferson (for the persuasive reason I have mentioned) that he perverts the use of as plain words as any in our language. He has said in one of his late published letters) that Mr. Jefferson and he were never rivals ; but that Jefferson and Hamilton were rivals! Surely, every reader of English knows, that they who contend for one common object are rivals. The common object, for which Adams and Jefferson contended, was the Presidency. But Jefferson and Hamilton aimed to effect different measures in the administration of the government—and therefore were not rivals, but antagonists.
In noticing the extraordinary ascendency acquired by Mr. Jefferson over the minds of his partisans and admirers, I remarked, that it would puzzle any one to account for it. And I ask, What evidences has he given to the world, of his being, what he seems generally reputed to be, a profound philosopher, and a great statesman ? The former part of his character (which, by the way, has little to do with government) I leave with philosophers and men of science.* Of the latter, every man of common sense is qualified to judge, from its practical effects. For the rule, “ by their fruits ye shall know them,” is alike applicable in politics as in
* See Appendix, B.
morals. A list of the beneficent acts of his eight years administration of the government of the United States is a desideratum. Those of a contrary character would rise to a large amount. But let us look back to earlier and more virtuous times. In the war of words with the mother country, antecedent to the war of arms, when every American, who could hold a pen, employed it in defending American Rights, it is natural to suppose that Mr. Jefferson's was not idle'; and then, probably (though his political lucubrations may not have passed the bounds of Virginia) he gained the reputation of holding a good pen; to which Mr. Adams alludes in a letter to me, extracts from which will appear in the Appendix.* But the performance for which Mr. Jefferson has been most distinguished, is the Declaration of Independence. This has been extravagantly eulogized, as if rising to a degree of excellence that not one of his cotemporaries had the power to reach. In my humble opinion, however, much of its merit is owing to the amendments made when reported to Congress, where one fourth of the whole was struck out, and some things (not many indeed) were introduced. In my letter to Mr. Adams, on this subject, I remarked, that the Declaration contained few new ideas. Mr. Adams, in his answer, says, not one ; but he thinks the best parts were struck out. I shall give, in the Appendix,t a copy of Mr. Jefferson's draught of the Declaration, which I took some years ago from one in his own hand-writing ; by the comparing of which with the Declaration as voted and proclaimed by Congress, every reader will be enabled to judge for himself.
But Mr. Jefferson added to the United States the rich and immense territory of Louisiana ; thus extending their dominions from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean! Yes—the acquisition was effected in his presidency; and his merit in the case shall now be exhibited.
* See. Appendix, C.
† Appendix, D.