Memoirs of the Administrations of Washington and John Adams: Edited from the Papers of Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury - Vol. 2

By George Gibbs | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER II.
SUMMER AND FALL OF 1798.

Immediately following the adjournment of Congress, a circumstance occurred with regard to the appointment of officers, which must be mentioned as one among the number of events which alienated the confidence and esteem of Mr. Adams' friends, and finally led to the dissolution of the party itself.a

Anterior to the nomination of General Washington, both the President and the Secretary of War had written to him, requesting his advice on the formation of the army, and intimating a wish that he should accept its command. After mature deliberation, he determined not to decline the service if tendered to him, and so expressed himself in his replies. Thinking it expedient, however, before the matter went further, to be candid and explicit as to his views, he again wrote to Mr. McHenry, who had more openly broached the subject, stating distinctly the conditions upon which alone he could accept the appointment. Before the receipt of any of these letters, President Adams had made, and the Senate confirmed his nomination. This step, taken without his concurrence, was deeply regretted by Washington, and proved the origin of difficulty, and the source of much personal feeling. However good the intention, and however wise the nomi

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a
For the facts stated in this narrative, a general reference may be given to Sparks' Writings of Washington, XI. and Pickering Review, Sections V. and VI.

-86-

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