The Presidential Election of 1800

"Thomas Jefferson, who began so many things in the early career of the United States, was the first object upon whom the Campaign Liar tried his unpracticed talents."

That product of the human intelligence which we denominate the Campaign Lie, though it did not originate in the United States, has here attained a development unknown in other lands. It is the destiny of America to try all experiments and exhaust all follies. In the short space of seventy-seven years, we have exhausted the efficiency of falsehood uttered to keep a man out of office. The fact is not to our credit, indeed; for we must have lied to an immeasurable extent before the printed word of man, during six whole months of every fourth year, could have lost so much of its natural power to effect human belief. Still less is it for our good; since Campaign Truths, however important they may be, are equally ineffectual. Soon after the publication of a certain ponderous work, called the Life of Andrew Jackson, one of the original Jackson men of Pennsylvania met the author in the street, and said in substance, "I am astonished to find how little I knew of a man whose battles I fought for twelve years. I heard all those stories of his quarrels and violence; but I supposed, OF COURSE, they were Campaign Lies!"

Thomas Jefferson, who began so many things in the early career of the United States, was the first object upon whom the Campaign Liar tried his unpracticed talents. The art, indeed, may be said to have been introduced in 1796 to prevent his election to the Presidency; but it was in 1800 that it was clearly developed into a distinct species of falsehood. And, it must be confessed, that, even amid the heat of the election of 1800, the Campaign Liar was hard put to it, and did not succeed in originating that variety and reckless extravagance of calumny which has crowned his efforts since. Jefferson's life presented to his view a most discouraging monotony of innocent and beneficial actions,—twenty-five years of laborious and unrecompensed public service, relieved by the violin, science, agriculture, the education of his nephews, and the love of his daughters. A life so exceptionally blameless did not give fair scope to talent; since a falsehood, to have its full and lasting effect, must contain a fraction of a grain of truth. Still, the Campaign Liar of 1800 did very well for a beginner.

He was able, of course, to prove that Mr. Jefferson "hated the Constitution," had hated it from the beginning, and was "pledged to subvert it." The noble of New York (Hamilton, apparently) writing in Noah Webster's new paper, the Commercial Advertiser, soared into prophecy, and was thus enabled to describe with precision the methods which Jefferson would employ in effecting his fell purpose. He would begin by turning every Federalist out of office, down to the remotest postmaster. Then, he would "tumble the financial system of the country into ruin at one stroke"; which would of necessity stop all payments of interest on the public debt, and bring on "universal bankruptcy and beggary." Next, he would dismantle the navy, and thus give such free course to privateering, that "every vessel which floated from our shores would be plundered or captured." And, since every source of revenue would be dried up, the government would no longer be able to pay the pensions of the scarred veterans of the Revolution, who would be seen "starving in the streets, or living on the cold and precarious supplies of charity." Soon, the unpaid officers of the government would resign, and "counterfeiting would be practiced with impunity." In short, good people, the election of Jefferson will be the signal for Pandora to open her box, and *empty* it upon your heads.

The Campaign Liar mounted the pulpit. In the guise of the Reverend Cotton Mather Smith, of Connecticut, he stated that Mr. Jefferson had gained his estate by robbery and fraud; yea, even by robbing a widow and fatherless children of ten thousand pounds, entrusted to him by the dead father's will. "All of this can be proved," said the Reverend Campaigner. Some of the falsehoods were curiously remote form the truth. "He despises mechanics," said a Philadelphia paragraphist of a man who doted on a well-skilled, conscientious workman. "He despises mechanics, and owns two hundred and fifty of them," remarked this writer. That Monticello swarmed with yellow Jeffersons was the natural conjecture of a party who recognized as their chief the paramour of a Reynolds. "Mr. Jefferson's Congo Harem" was a party cry. There were allusions to a certain "Dusky Sally," otherwise Sally Henings, whose children were said to resemble the master of Monticello in their features and the color of their hair. In this particular Campaign Lie there was just that fractional portion of truth which was necessary to preserve it fresh and vigorous to this day. There is even a respectable Madison Henings now living in Ohio who supposes that Thomas Jefferson was his father. Mr. Henings has been misinformed. The record of Mr. Jefferson's every day and hour, contained in his pocket memorandum books, compared with the record of his slave's birth, proves the impossibility of his having been the father of Madison Henings. So I am informed by Mr. Randall, who examined the records in the possession of the family. The father of those children was a near relation of the Jeffersons, who need not be named.

Perhaps I may, in view of recent threatened publications, copy a few words from Mr. Randall's interesting letter on this subject. They will be valued by those who believe that chastity in man is as precious a treasure as chastity in woman, and not less essential to the happiness, independence, and dignity of his existence:—

"Colonel Randolph (grandson of Mr. Jefferson) informed me (at Monticello) that there was not a shadow of suspicion that Mr. Jefferson, in this or any other instance, had any such intimacy with his female slaves. At the period when these children were born, Colonel Randolph had charge of Monticello. He gave all the general directions, and gave out all their clothes to the slaves. He said Sally Henings was treated and dressed just like the rest. He said Mr. Jefferson never locked the door of his room by day, and that he, Colonel Randolph slept within sound of his breathing at night. He said he had never seen a motion or a look or a circumstance which led him to suspect, for an instant, that there was a particle more of familiarity between Mr. Jefferson and Sally Henings than between him and the most repulsive servant in the establishment, and that no person living at Monticello ever dreamed of such a thing. Colonel Randolph said that he had spent a good share of his life closely about Mr. Jefferson,—at home and on his journeys, in all sorts of circumstances,—and he believed him to be as chaste and pure, "as immaculate a man as ever God created." Mr. Jefferson's eldest daughter, Mrs. Governor Randolph, took the Dusky Sally stories much to heart. But she spoke to her sons only once on the subject. Not long before her death, she called two of them to her,—the Colonel, and George Wythe Randolph. She asked the Colonel if he remembered when the Henings (the slave who most resembled Mr. Jefferson) was born. He turned to the book containing the list of slaves, and found that he was born at the time supposed by Mrs. Randolph. She then directed her son's attention to the fact that Mr. Jefferson and Sally Henings could not have met, were far distant from each other, for fifteen months prior to the birth. She bade her sons remember this fact, and always defend the character of their grandfather. It so happened, when I was examining an old account-book of Mr. Jefferson's, I came *pop* on the original entry of this slave's birth; and I was then able, from well-known circumstances, to prove the fifteen months' separation....I could give fifty more facts, if there were any need of it, to show Mr. Jefferson's innocence of this and all similar offences against propriety."

So much for this poor Campaign Lie, which has been current in the world for seventy-three years, and will, doubtless, walk the earth as long as weak mortals need high examples of folly to keep them on endurable terms with themselves.

Religion, for the first and last time, was an important element in the political strife of 1800. There was not a pin to choose between the heterodoxy of the two candidates; and, indeed, Mr. Adams was sometimes, in his familiar letters, more pronounced in his dissent from established beliefs than Jefferson. Neither of these Christians perceived, as clearly as we not do, the absolute necessity to unreasoning men of that husk of fiction in which vital truth is usually enclosed; not what a vast, indispensable service the Past renders the ignorant man in supplying fictions for his acceptance less degrading than those which he could invent for himself. Mr. Adams, however, was by far the more impatient of the two with popular creeds, as he shows in many a comic outburst of robust and boisterous contempt. He protested his utter inability to comprehend that side of human nature which made people object to paying a pittance for his new navy-yards, and eager to throw away their money upon such structures as St. Paul's in London and St. Peter's at Rome. As for the doctrine of the Trinity, he greatly surpassed Jefferson in his aversion to it. He scolded Jefferson for bringing over European professors, because they were "all infected with Episcopal and Presbyterian creeds," and "all believed that great Principle, which has produced this boundless universe, Newton's universe and Herschel's universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews." Mr. Adams's opinion was, that "until this awful blasphemy was got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in this world."

And yet he escaped anathema. Mr. Jefferson, on the contrary, was denounced by the pious and moral Hamilton as "an atheist." The great preacher of that day in New York was Dr. John Mason, an ardent politician, as patriotic and well-intentioned a gentleman as then lived. He evolved from Jefferson's Notes on Virginia the appalling truth, that the Republican candidate for the Presidency did not believe in the universal deluge! He sounded the alarm. A few weeks before the election, he published a pamphlet entitled The Voice of Warning to Christians on the ensuing Election; in which he reviewed the Notes, and inferred, from passages quoted, that the author was "a profane philosopher and an infidel." "Christians!" he exclaimed, "it is thus that a man, whom you are expected to elevate to the chief magistracy, insults yourselves and your Bible!" An interesting character was this Dr. Mason, if we may believe the anecdotes still told of him by old inhabitants of New York. What a scene must that have been when he paused, in the midst of one of his rousing Fast Day sermons, and, raising his eyes and hands to Heaven, burst into impassioned supplication: "Send us, if Thou wilt, murrain upon our cattle, a famine upon our land, cleanness of teeth in our borders; send us pestilence to waste our cities; send us, if it please Thee, the sword to bath itself in the blood of our sons; but spare us, Lord God Most Merciful, spare us that curse,—most dreadful of all curses,—an alliance with Napoleon Bonaparte!" An eye-witness reports that, as the preacher uttered these words, with all the energy of frantic apprehension, the blood gushed from this nostrils. He put his handkerchief to his face without knowing what he did, and, instantly resuming his gesture, held the bloody handkerchief aloft, as if it were the symbol of the horrors he foretold. To such a point, in those simple old days, could campaign falsehood madden able and good men!

The orthodox clergy were not averse, then, it appears, to "politics in the pulpit." Our historical collections yield many proofs of it in the form of pamphlets and sermons of the year 1800. It cheers the mind of the inquirer, in his dusty rummaging, to measure the stride the public mind has taken in less than three quarters of a century. "Hold!" cries one vigorous lay sermonizer (Claims of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency examined at the Bar of Christianity),—"hold! The blameless deportment of this man has been the theme of encomium. He is chaste, temperate, hospitable, affectionate, and frank." But, he is no Christian! He does not believe in the deluge. He does not go to church. "Shall Thomas Jefferson," asks this writer, "who denies the truth of Christianity, and avows the pernicious folly of all religion, be your governor?"

One writer proves his case thus: 1. The French Revolution was a conspiracy to overthrow the Christian religion; 2. Thomas Jefferson avowed a cordial sympathy with the French Revolution; 3. Therefore, Thomas Jefferson aims at the destruction of the Christian religion. To this reasoning facts were added. Mr. Jefferson, fearing to trust the post-office, had written a letter in Latin to an infidel author, approving his work and urging him to print it. Then look at his friends! Are they not "deists, atheists, and infidels"? Did not General Dearborn one of his active supporters, while traveling to Washington in a public stage, say, that "so long as our temples stood, we could not hope for good order or good government"? The same Dearborn, passing a church in Connecticut, pointed at it, and scornfully exclaimed, "Look at that painted nuisance!" But the most popular and often-repeated anecdote of this nature, which the contest elicited, was the following: "When the late Rev. Dr. John B. Smith resided in Virginia, the famous Mazzei happened one night to be his guest. Dr. Smith having, as usual, assembled his family for their evening devotions, the circumstance in which the Italian made no secret of his infidel principles. In the course of conversation, he remarked to Dr. Smith, 'Why, your great philosopher and statesman, Mr. Jefferson, is rather further gone in infidelity that I am'; and related, in confirmation, the following anecdote. That as he was once riding with Mr. Jefferson, he expressed his 'surprise that the people of this country take no better care of their public buildings.' 'What buildings?' exclaimed Mr. Jefferson. 'Is not that a church?' replied he, pointing to a decayed edifice. 'Yes,' answered Mr. Jefferson. 'I am astonished,' said the other, 'that they permit it to be in so ruinous a condition.' 'It is good enough,' rejoined Mr. Jefferson, 'for him that was born in a manger!' Such a contemptuous fling at the blessed Jesus could issue from the lips of no other than a deadly foe to his name and his cause."

This story had the greater effect from the constant repetition of the unlucky passage of Jefferson's letter to Mazzei upon the Samsons and Solomons who had gone over to the English side of American politics. Fifty versions of it could easily be collected even at this late day, but the one just given appears to be the original. It is startling to discover, while turning over the campaign litter of 1800, that, in the height and hurly-burly of the strife, there was spread abroad, all over the land, a report of Mr. Jefferson's sudden death, which it required several days to correct, even in the Atlantic cities. It was first printed in the Baltimore American. "I discharge my duty," said the gentleman who brought the news from Virginia, "in giving this information as I received it; but may that God, who directed the pen and inspired the heart of the author of the Declaration of American Independence, procrastinate, if but for a short time, so severe a punishment from a land which heretofore has received more that a common share of his blessings!"

It is not clear, upon the first view of this subject, why Jefferson should have been singled out for reprobation on account of a heterodoxy in which so many of the great among his compeers shared. He attributed it himself to the conspicuous part he had taken in the separation of Church and State in Virginia; a policy which the clergy opposed with vehemence, in each State, until, in 1834, the divorce was complete and universal by the act of Massachusetts. Readers of Dr. Lyman Beecher's Autobiography remember how earnestly that genial hunter before the Lord fought the severance in Connecticut. Some of the clergy, Jefferson thought, cherished hopes of undoing the work done in Virginia and other States through Madison, Wythe, and himself. But, said he, "the returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, and they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

He avoided, on principle, that line of conduct, so familiar to public men of the fourth, fifth, and sixth rank, which Mark Twain has recently called "currying favor with the religious element." While he was most careful not to utter a word, in the hearing of young or unformed persons, even in his own family, calculated to disturb their faith, he was equally strenuous in maintaining his right to liberty both of thought and utterance. Thus, at a time when the word "Unitarian" was only less opprobrious than infidel, and he was a candidate for the Presidency, he went to a church of that denomination, at Philadelphia, in which, as he says, "Dr. Priestley officiated to numerous audiences." "I never will," he once wrote, "by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others. On the contrary, we are bound, you, I, and every one, to make common right of freedom of conscience. We ought, with one heart and one hand, to hew down the daring and dangerous efforts of those who would seduce the public opinion to substitute itself into that tyranny over religious faith which the laws have so justly abdicated. For this reason, were my opinions up to the standard of those who arrogate the right of questioning them, I would not countenance that arrogance by descending to an explanation."

It strengthened Jefferson's faith in republican institutions, that his countrymen rose superior to religious prejudices in 1800, and gave their votes very nearly as they would if the religious question had not been raised. Tradition reports, that when the news of his election reached New England, some old ladies, in wild consternation, hung their Bibles down the well in the butter-cooler. But, in truth, the creed of Jefferson is, and long has been, the real creed of the people of the United States. They know, in their hearts, whatever form of words they may habitually use, that Christianity is a life, not a belief; a principle of conduct, not a theory of the universe. "I am a Christian," wrote Jefferson, "in the only sense in which Jesus wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others." One evening, in Washington, having, for a wonder, a little leisure, he took two cheap copies of the New Testament, procured for the purpose, and cut from them the words of Jesus, and such other passages of the evangelists as are in closest accord with them. These he pasted in a little book, and entitled it, The Philosophy of Jesus extracted from the Text of the Evangelists. Two evenings were employed in this interesting work; and when it was done he contemplated it with rapturous satisfaction. The words of Jesus, he thought, were "as distinguishable from the matter in which they are embedded as diamonds in dunghills. A more precious morsel of ethics was never seen."

The peculiar result of the election of 1800 is familiar to most readers: Jefferson, 73; Burr, 73; Adams, 65; C. C. Pinckney, 64; Jay, 1. Again Hamilton's preposterous device of the electoral college brought trouble and peril upon the country; for the Federalists, as soon as the tie was known, made haste to fill up the measure of their errors by intriguing to defeat the will of the people, and make Burr President instead of Jefferson. I need not repeat the shameful story. For many days, during which the House of Representatives balloted twenty-nine times, the country was excited and alarmed; and nothing averted civil commotion but the wise and resolute conduct of the Republican candidates. At Albany, where Burr's duties as a member of the Legislature of New York detained him during the crisis, an affair more interesting to him even than the Presidential election was transpiring. Theodosia, his only daughter, the idol of his life, was married at Albany, February 2, 1800 (a week before the balloting began), to Joseph Alston of South Carolina. He performed but one act in connection with the struggle in the wilderness of Washington. He wrote a short, decisive note to a member of the House, repudiating the unworthy attempt about to be made to elevate him. His friends, he truly said, "would dishonor his views and insult his feelings by a suspicion that he would submit to be instrumental in counteracting the wishes and the expectations of the United States"; and he constituted the friend to whom he wrote his proxy to declare these sentiments if the occasion should require. Having despatched this letter, and being then at a distance of eight days' travel from the seat of government, he did nothing, and could do nothing, further.

Jefferson's part was much more difficult. Besides that a great party looked to him as the repository of their rights, his own pride was interested in his not being made the victim of a corrupt intrigue. As the President of the Senate, he was in the nearest proximity to the scene of strife, liable to take fire from the passions that raged there. Seldom has a fallible man been placed in circumstances more trying to mind and nerve.

There were four evil courses possible to the Federalists; each of which Jefferson had considered, and was prepared for, before the balloting began.

1. They might elect Aaron Burr President and himself Vice-President. In that case, because the election would have been "agreeable to the Constitution," though "variant from the intentions of the people," his purpose was to submit without a word. "No man," he wrote a few weeks later, "would have submitted more cheerfully than myself, because I am sure the administration would have been Republican."

2. The Federalists could offer terms to Jefferson, and endeavor to extort valuable concessions from him. Upon this point, too, his mind was made up; and he met every approach of this nature by a declaration, in some form, that "he would not come into the Presidency by capitulation." He has himself recorded several of these attempts at negotiation. "Coming out of the Senate, one day," he writes, "I found Gouverneur Morris on the steps. He stopped me, and began a conversation on the strange and portentous state of things then existing, and went on to observe, that the reasons why the minority of States was so opposed to my being elected were, that they apprehended that, 1. I would turn all Federalists out of office; 2. Put down the navy; 3. Wipe off the public debt. That I need only to declare, or authorize my friends to declare, that I would not take these steps, and instantly the event of the election would be fixed. I told him that I should leave the world to judge of the course I meant to pursue, by that which I had pursued hitherto, believing it to be my duty to be passive and silent during the present scene; that I should certainly make no terms; should never go into the office of President by capitulation, nor with my hands tied by any conditions which should hinder me from pursuing the measures which I should deem for the public good." Other interviewers, some of whom held the election in their hands, had no better success.

3. The balloting could have been continued day after day, until the end of Mr. Adams's term, two weeks distant; when, there being no President and no Vice-President, anarchy and chaos might have been expected. For this emergency, also, Jefferson had provided a plan which, he always thought would have prevented serious trouble. The Republican members of Congress, in conjunction with the President and Vice-President elect, intended to meet, and issue a call to the whole country for a convention to revise the Constitution, and provide a suitable, orderly remedy for the lapse of government. This convention, as Jefferson remarked to Dr. Priestley, "would have been on the ground in eight weeks, would have repaired the Constitution where it was defective, and wound it up again."

4. But unhappily there was a fourth expedient contemplated, which was fraught with peril to the country's peace. It was proposed to pass a law devolving the government upon the chairman of the Senate (to be elected by the Senate), in case the office of President should become vacant. At once he declared, in conversations meant to be reported, that such an attempt would be resisted by force. The very day, said he, that such an act is passed, the Middle States (i. e. Virginia and Pennsylvania) will arm. And when we know that James Monroe was the governor of Virginia, and Thomas McKean governor of Pennsylvania, we may be sure that this was no empty threat. Not for a day, he added, will such a usurpation be submitted to. "I was decidedly with those," he explained a few weeks after, "who were determined not to permit it. Because, that precedent once set, it would be artificially reproduced, and would soon end in a dictator."

But he was not wanting in efforts to prevent a calamity so dire. There was one man who could have instantly frustrated the scheme by his veto,—Mr. Adams, the President, with whom Jefferson, with that indomitable good-nature and inexhaustible tolerance of his, had maintained friendly relations through all the mad strife of the last years. Upon reaching the seat of government at the beginning of this session, he had hesitated before calling at the Presidential mansion. Knowing the sensitive self-love of his old friend, he was afraid that if he called too soon Mr. Adams would think he meant to exult over him, and that if he delayed his visit beyond the usual period it would be regarded as a slight. He called, however, at length, and found the defeated man alone. One glance at the President satisfied him that he had come too soon. Mr. Adams, evidently unreconciled to the issue of the election, hurried forward in manner which betrayed extreme agitation; and, without sitting down or asking his visitor to sit, said, in a tremulous voice, "You have turned me out; you have turned me out." Mr. Jefferson, in that suave and gentle tone which fell like balm upon the sore and troubled minds of men, said, "I have not turned you out, Mr. Adams, and I am glad to avail myself of this occasion to show that I have not, and to explain my views on this subject. In consequence of a division of opinion existing among our fellow-citizens, as to the proper constitution of our political institutions, and of the wisdom and propriety of certain measures which had been adopted by our government, that portion of our citizens who approved and advocated one class of these opinions and measures selected you as their candidate for the Presidency, and their opponents selected me. If you or myself had not been in existence, or for any other cause had not been selected, other persons would have been selected in our places, and thus the contest would have been carried on, and with the same result, except that the party which supported you would have been defeated by a greater majority, as it was known that, but for you, your party would have carried their unpopular measures much further than they did. You will see from this that the late contest was not one of a personal character, between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, but between the advocates and opponents of certain political opinions and measures, and, therefore, should produce no unkind feelings between the two men who happened to be placed at the head of the two parties."

These words did much to restore Mr. Adams to composure for the moment. Both gentlemen took seats, when they conversed in their usual friendly way upon the topics of the hour. We have the testimony of both of them to correctness of this report. Mr. Jefferson has recorded the interview; and, once, when his friend, Edward Coles, repeated to Mr. Adams the story as he had heard it at Monticello, Mr. Adams said to him, "If you had been present and witnessed the scene, you could not have given a more accurate account of what passed." The fiery ex-President added, "Mr. Jefferson said I was sensitive, did he? Well, I was sensitive. But I never before heard that Mr. Jefferson had given a second thought as to the proper time for making the visit."

Being thus on the old terms with his old friend, Jefferson visited him at this threatening crisis to call his attention to the most obvious means of averting the danger. He has recorded the failure of his attempt: "We conversed on the state of things. I observed to him, that a very dangerous experiment was then in contemplation, to defeat the Presidential election by an act of Congress declaring the right of the Senate to name a President of Senate, to devolve on him the government during any interregnum; that such a measure would probably produce resistance by force, and incalculable consequences, which it would not turn out the Federal officers, nor put down the navy, nor sponge out the national debt. Finding his mind made up as to the usurpation of the government by the President of the Senate, I urged it no further, and observed the world must judge as to myself of the future by the past, and turned the conversation to something else."

Happily the Federalists, admonished by their fears, recovered in time the use of their reason. Hamilton, from the first opposed the attempt to give the first place to his vigilant New York rival; but this he did merely on the ground that Burr was, if possible, a more terrific being even than Jefferson. Gouverneur Morris, who was a gentleman, as well as a man of real ability, placed his own opposition to the nefarious scheme on the right basis: "Since it was evidently the intention of our fellow-citizens to make Mr. Jefferson their President, it seems proper to fulfill that intention." After seven days of balloting, the House of Representatives elected Thomas Jefferson president, and Aaron Burr Vice-President.

Thus ended the rule of the Federalists, the first party that ever governed the United States. Never was the downfall of a party more just, more necessary. Its entire policy was tainted by the unbelief of its leaders in the central principle of the republican system. Nearly every important thing they did was either wrong in itself, or done for a wrong reason. The only President they ever elected, Mr. Adams, was as interesting and picturesque a character as Dr. Samuel Johnson, and nearly as unfit as Johnson for an executive post; while Hamilton, in whom they put their chief trust, can be acquitted of depravity only by conceding his ignorance and incapacity. Alexander Hamilton had no message for the people of the United States. His "mission," if he had one, was not here. His mind was not continental. He did not know his ground. And, like many otherwise unwise, well-intentioned men, he brought opprobrium even upon that portion of truth which he had been able to grasp. Probably there is an ingredient of truth in every heartfelt conviction of an honest mind; and no one can read Hamilton's confidential letters without feeling his sincerity and devotion.

The basis of truth in the convictions of Hamilton and his circle was, that the Intelligence and Virtue of a country must, in some way, be got to the top of things, and govern. Jefferson heartily agreed with them in this opinion; and felt it the more deeply, from having discovered that the political system of the Old World had placed a fool on every throne, and hedged him about with a dissolute and ignorant class. Hamilton always assumed that Intelligence and Virtue of the requisite degree are only to be found among people who possess a certain amount of property; equivalent, say, to a thousand Spanish dollars. Jefferson was for bringing the whole of the Intelligence and Virtue of a community into play by the subsoil plough of general suffrage; recognizing the natural right of every mature Person to a voice in the government of his country. If Hamilton had been a wise and able man, he would have had an important part to play in anticipating and warding off the only real danger that has ever menaced republican institutions in America,—ignorant suffrage. Upon him would have devolved the congenial task of convincing the American people, seventy years before Tweed and the Carpet-Bagger convinced them, that a man of this age who cannot read is not a mature person, but is a child, who cannot perform the act of the mind called voting. His had been the task of establishing the truth, that a system of suffrage which admits the most benighted men and excludes the most enlightened women, is one which will not conduct this Republic honorably or safely down the centuries. He might have helped us in this direction. His "thousand Spanish dollars" belonged to another system, utterly unsuited to this hemisphere; and he did nothing for the United States which time has not undone, or is not about to undo.

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