Jonathan Spence on the Ming-Qing Transition

George Washington's Conviction That Thomas Jefferson Was a French Puppet...


Note to Self: I have been looking for this for a while: Washington's judgment that Jefferson was, at best, not an American patriot but rather an agent of influence for the corrupt French Republic.

It is thought that "John Langhorne" was not Thomas Jefferson, but rather Jefferson's favored nephew Peter Carr. The extent to which Carr was acting on his own rather than for Jefferson is not clear to me. Carr was certainly a "Jeffersonian"—and thus distance between him and Jefferson (like distance between Freneau and Jefferson) seems to me much more like plausible deniability than true divergence: George Washington: To John Nicholas, 8 March 1798: "Nothing short of the Evidence you have adduced, corroborative of intimations which I had received long before, through another channel...

...could have shaken my belief in the sincerity of a friendship, which I had conceived was possessed for me, by the person to whom you allude. But attempts to injure those who are supposed to stand well in the estimation of the People, and are stumbling blocks in their way (by misrepresenting their political tenets) thereby to destroy all confidence in them, is one of the means by which the Government is to be assailed, and the Constitution destroyed. The conduct of this Party is systematized, and every thing that is opposed to its execution, will be sacrificed, without hesitation, or remorse; if the end can be answered by it.

If the person whom you suspect, was really the Author of the letter under the signature of John Langhorne, it is not at all surprising, to me, that the correspondence should have ended where it did; for the penetration of that man would have perceived at the first glance of the answer, that nothing was to be drawn from that mode of attack; In what form, the next insidious attempt may appear, remains to be discovered. But as the attempts to explain away the Constitution, & weaken the Government are now become so open; and the desire of placing the Affairs of this Country under the influence & controul of a foreign Nation is so apparant, & strong, it is hardly to be expected that a resort to covert means to effect these objects, will be longer regarded...