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He was

every hour.

than three electoral votes. Jefferson re- beyond the President's house lay the little ceived eight more than he; but even so village of Georgetown. Among them all Jefferson was not elected, because that the members of Congress and officers of same Aaron Burr, whom the Democratic the Government had managed to find Republicans had been supporting with an more or less uncomfortable lodging. On idea of making him Vice-President, re- this occasion every representative had been ceived exactly the same · number. This, summoned, even the ones who were ill. according to the Constitution, threw the Then the doors were closed. election into the House of Representatives. “Not an individual left that solemn asThree months must elapse before the sembly," a diary of the time tells us. “The House chose between them, for it could necessary refreshment ... was taken in not proceed to an election until after the rooms adjoining the Hall.

.. Beds as date for officially counting the electoral well as food were sent for the accommodavotes. Therefore there was plenty of time tion of those whom age or debility disfor sobering thought, and Burr was not a abled from enduring such a long-proto inspire confidence.

tracted sitting. The balloting took place talented, but unscrupulous— “Hamilton,

In the interval men ate, with Hamilton's nobility left out." It drank, slept, or pondered over the result was known that the vote in the House of of the last ballot; compared ideas and Representatives would be exceedingly

would be exceedingly persuasions to change votes.” close. Jefferson's own account asserts One woman was present. She had acthat influential Federalists, among them companied her “almost dying husband” that rock-ribbed, God-fearing man Presi- through the raw February chill from his dent Adams himself, caused it to be made lodgings two miles away, and watched plain to him that Federal opposition to his beside his bed in an anteroom, ready to election would cease if he would only as- rouse him and guide his weak fingers as sure the country he meant to do none of he wrote his ballot. Hour after hour the those radical things threatened by his party, vote was taken, counted, and the same ansuch as dismissing all Federal office-hold- nouncement made. Daylight settled into ers, abolishing the navy, or wiping out the dark; darkness dragged wearily again into public debt.

light. The invalid slept and stirred. The Jefferson refused to make any promises wife sitting beside him grew perceptibly or to disclose his plans. Anxiety in- haggard. On the faces of the members creased; and as had been apprehended, determination gave place to anger and the contest that followed the official sullen, utter weariness. counting of the electoral votes was long It became evident that Jefferson's supand close. The first votes by the House porters would not yield; but which of the resulted in a deadlock that lasted almost a opposition could bear the reproach of makweek, and the final struggle to break this ing the first move? It was managed by a deadlock occupied more than thirty hours. flutter of blank ballots and skilful beating Those near enough to follow the pro- of the devil around the stump. One memceedings watched breathlessly. The more ber from South Carolina withdrew his distant parts of the country waited impa- vote by prearrangement. The sole memtient for news. In Washington all ber from Delaware, voting blank, “gave thoughts centered on the unfinished Capi- up his party for his country,” as the diary tol crowning its hill; few had eyes for the picturesquely says; and so, to quote JefferPresident's house, equally unfinished, son, the election occurred "without a among the trees a mile away. The town single vote coming over.” was as yet scarcely begun. Scattered quickly given to those waiting outside, groups of houses were to be seen here who cheered dutifully, if not enthusiasand there, few in any one place, and most tically, and the wearied legislators hurried of those small and unimposing. A mile off to their lodgings, “the conspirators,” as

News was

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they were darkly called, pursued by fears of bodily vengeance.

It was in this unflattering manner that Jefferson's "lurching for the Presidency," of which he had long been accused, was satisfied. But the choice undoubtedly reflected the popular will. Confronted with the alternative of Jefferson or Burr, a large majority of Americans preferred Jefferson's frank theorizing to Burr's shifty politics. But to Adams's mind even the lesser of the two evils was a national calamity.

Angry and disappointed, he set about doing all that he could during the short re

mainder of his term to thwart the incoming President's plans. Two weeks before Jefferson's inauguration, Congress voted certain changes in the judiciary system which involved the appointment of new judges. As a matter of precedent and courtesy, these should have been left to the new executive. But Adams conceived it his duty to set patriotism above politeness, and signed appointments up to nine o'clock on the third of March; then early next morning he drove away from the city, too bitter to remain and take part in the ceremonies and amenities of the inauguration.


From his retirement in Massachusetts by Washington and Adams, who held he exercised his privilege of free speech to that the choice of a President was no matlavish upon the new President the wealth ter for a candidate's meddling, but one of disapproval that his failure to realize exclusively between the voters and their the cherished ambitions and a sincere ap- own consciences. prehension for the country's future caused While the country did not know what to well up in his nature.

Jefferson meant to do, it did know that Time and the logic of events softened Jefferson's election was in effect a minor his resentment. Ten years after leaving revolution, giving sanction to the trial of the White House in such unseemly haste a whole brood of new theories. It was he had come to see that the difference reserved for an American of a later day between himself and his successor was one

to call the Declaration of Independence a of method only. In 1811 he wrote to self-evident lie, but many looked upon its Dr. Rush:

broad assertions as dangerous and its auIn point of Republicanism, all the differ

thor as a dangerous man.

Politics was a ence I ever could discover between you and

vital matter, so vital that statesmen whose me, or Jefferson and me, consisted:

interest wandered were regarded with 1. In the difference between speeches and

suspicion, and Jefferson was known to messages.

I was
a monarchist because I

have explored in many fields of thought. thought a speech more respectful to Con

He was suspected of holding lamentably gress and the nation. Jefferson and Rush

lax views upon religion. He enjoyed conpreferred messages.

verse with men of lawless minds under 2. I held levees once a week that all my

the guise of research in philosophy and time might not be wasted by the visits. Jef

science. He had even entertained such ferson's whole eight years was a levee.

men as Priestley and Tom Paine in his 3. I dined a large company once or twice

own home. a week. Jefferson dined a dozen every day.

His service as minister to France had 4. Jefferson and Liberty were for straight given him a large acquaintance and exhair. I thought curled hair was as repub

perience. Less erudite than Adams, his lican as straight.

knowledge was wide rather than deep,

but it was ample to afford him a grasp of Further lapse of time completely healed many practical things, and ready sympathe breach between them. It is agreeable thy in realms of thought to which his to remember that the tact of Mrs. Adams countrymen gave little heed. The sum revived their old friendship, that they ex- of this knowledge was to make him an changed long and cordial letters during all-around, wide-awake man, given to thethe latter years of their lives; and on the orizing, but with enough common sense memorable fiftieth anniversary of the in the long run to ballast his theories, a Declaration of Independence, when the mental equipment providential in a Presispirits of both these brave men passed on, dent at that moment, but one to fill coneach died thinking of the other, comforted servatives with deep foreboding. in the belief that the other still lived.

The campaign had reeked with person

alities. Social and political sins had been CHAPTER II

piled before Jefferson's door in unreason

ing profusion, and the aims of his party DEMOCRAT OR IMPERIALIST

had been denounced in no measured The country waited in anxiety to see terms. "In plain language,” one good what the political reformer would do. and earnest Federalist mourned, “the He had refused to bind himself by greatest villain in the community is the promises, and had remained withdrawn fittest person to make and execute the upon his estate during the entire cam- laws. ... Can imagination paint anypaign summer, following the precedent set thing more dreadful this side Hell?"

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From the portrait by Gilbert Stuart, in the possession of Edward Coles, Esq. Engraved by T. Johnson

Thomas Jefferson
Secretary of state in Washington's first cabinet.

While all this was unpleasant, it was far less irritating to Jefferson than it

would have been to one of Adams's intensely morbid egotism. "Whig and Tory

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belong to natural history,” was his more he believed ought to be, which caught popgenial way of echoing Adams's crabbed ular sentiment and focused it to power, as "parties begin in human nature." He rays of light are focused in a burningserenely refused to recognize the Jefferson glass. The purchase of Louisiana was they abused as anything more than a man quite beyond reason or even theory. He of straw, made up of all his supposed knew it by inspiration to be the will of vices.

destiny in regard to his country. His There were of course some politically democracy was always a matter of the opposed to him who saw no reason to be- head rather than of the heart; and to his lieve the country in extreme peril. “So, honor be it said that whenever his carethe anti-Federals are now to take a turn fully cultivated principles bumped in painat rolling stones uphill,” Chief Justice ful collision against his sense of what was Ellsworth wrote to Rufus King. “Good fitting for a great nation, he threw theory men will get a breathing-spell, and the to the winds and followed instinct rather credulous will learn to understand the than be hampered by the kind of consisgame of out and in.”

tency that Emerson called the hobgoblin This was the first exchange of places of little minds. in the political game of out and in, and Jefferson's first acts as President were both sides had yet to learn how astonish- not at all alarming. Far from turning out ingly pliable new theories become in bend- all Federal office-holders, he "proceeded ing to hard conditions of fact. The op- with moderation," appointing party timists were justified. Responsibility had friends only as the terms of Federals exits usual sobering effect, the liberals be- pired; and he returned to the rule coming more conservative, just as conser- observed by Washington, which Adams vatives had already been more liberal than was inclined to violate, of refusing to aptheir creed. It is always so; hence the point his own relatives, no matter what paradox that human fallibility (another their politics. Justly enough, he resented name for abstract sin) in the long run Adams's “midnight” appointment of new brings about an approach toward perfec- judges. “So far as they are during pleastion.

ure,” Jefferson wrote, “I shall not conOf the fourteen points emphasized in sider the persons named as candidates," Jefferson's inaugural address there was "nor pay the respect of notifying them scarcely one over which honest Federals that I consider what is done a nullity." and honest Republicans could not indulge Adams had tried in this way to safean honest handshake, and it is hard to see guard the reorganized judiciary. It was wherein his treatment of large questions an act justifiable only on the plea of differed greatly from that which the Fed- extreme necessity, as was the beguiling eralists might have given them under like offer made to Jefferson when his election conditions. Indeed, in the crowning act hung in doubt in the House of Represenof his administration, the purchase of tatives. But, after all, morality is not a Louisiana, he was more imperialistic than fixed quantity: had Jefferson been the unAdams could have been, for Adams's safe man Adams feared, the country near-sighted New England vision was in- would have been in danger, and Adams capable of reaching beyond the Alle- justified in any measure he could take to ghanies.

lessen it. Actuated by the highest moThe two great achievements of Jeffer- tives, but without the excuse of necessity, son's life, for which all his mistakes must these acts degenerate into stupid political be forgiven and his whimsicalities con- blunders that the white intensity of doned, stand at the two extremes of his Adams's patriotism is enough to burn wide political range. The writing of the from the record. Declaration of Independence was an ex

Adams's hasty departure had already ercise of his intellect, a statement of what shorn inauguration day of half its cere

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