THE SECRETARY OF STATE
IF Jefferson was strong with the people when he came so near being elected President in 1796, he was stronger in 1800, when four years of Federal rule had filled them with disgust and fear.
That the Republicans should be successful in obtaining the Government was Madison's ardent wish. He did not, therefore, object to trials under the Sedition law, for he knew that its vigourous enforcement would strengthen his party. Prudence on the part of the Republicans co"perating with the recklessness of the Federalists would drive the latter from power. When it became evident that the selection of the President would devolve upon the House of Representatives he was alarmed lest Burr might be smuggled in, but he did not believe that Adams would lend himself to so contemptible a scheme. The possibility of the House making no choice, thus involving an interregnum in the office of President, was seriously considered, and he concluded that if it occurred the best course would be for the two candidates having a majority of the votes to call Congress together by joint proclamation. While the election was still pending Jefferson urged him to come to Washington, but he thought it would be impolitic to appear on the scene until the question of the Presidency was settled; and furthermore his father died February 27, 1801, and he was detained at home by private affairs. He had agreed before the election to accept the chief post in Jefferson's cabinet, and when it became known that Jefferson had been elected it was known at the same time who was to be the Secretary of State.