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tions view our course with respect and friendly anxiety.” It would have been impossible for a deceptive optimism to pack more errors of fact and judgment into a single paragraph. The "bickerings" with Spain were the only true prophecy-a prophecy which needed the touch of no very live coal from the political altars. Jefferson had spoken of the presidency when he was elected to the second place in 1797, in terms perhaps of self-solacing depreciation, as a “splendid misery." He was now to have full experience of the misery of the office whose splendor he had always spurned.
First of all came schism within the Republican ranks. We have already touched on the bitter strife of the Clinton and Livingston factions in New York, with Aaron Burr, the “arch opportunist in conspiracy,” first coquetting with the Federalists in plans of disunion, then slaying their leader in a duel. Faction raised its ugly head in Pennsylvania, too, the charter State of Republicanism north of the Potomac. Massachusetts, over whose “conversion” Jefferson exulted in December, 1804, elected a Federalist governor and legislature the following April. "I see with infinite pain the bloody schism which has lately taken place among our friends in Pennsylvania and New York,” wrote Jefferson only two months after his second inauguration, “and which will probably take place in the other States.” This time his prophecy was correct. His own State of Virginia was ready for partial revolt, and the leader of the disaffection was Jefferson's distant kinsman, John Randolph, of Roanoke.
"Eccentric," "vituperative," "sarcastic,” "uncontrollable," "venomous" are the adjectives which precede Randolph's name with Homeric constancy, and a Homeric phrase, too, fitly describes his mental superiority of his fellow members of Congress. In a House of mediocrities he alone, like Tiresias in the underworld in the Odyssey "was wise, and the others fitted as shadows." He might have broken the administration's control of Congress, had not his excess of zeal and temper delivered him into the hands of the patient, wary President. As it was, he led a schism, and gave the Federalists the immense satisfaction of seeing disunion among the “Virginia lordlings.” Randolph prided himself on being a Simon-pure Republican of the “old school,” with no apologies to make for the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, whose authors had gone far on the path of reconciliation with Federalist doctrines. Why should Thomas Jefferson seek the Lincolns and Dearborns and Crowninshields of Massachusetts for his advisers, drawing only a single member of his cabinet from the States south of the Potomac, and that one a man still "tainted” with the old heresy of Federalism? Where were the representatives of the Southern planters' interests ?
1 Randolph with his inimitable genius for barbed epigram, likened the second administration of Jefferson to the seven lean kine of Pharaoh's dream who rose up and devoured the seven fat kine of the first administration.
Randolph's break with the administration came in the winter session of 1805–6, but he was already estranged at the opening of the new presidential term. Both the estrangement and the rupture were provoked by measures which Jefferson insisted on with a tenaciousness which contrasted strangely with his general pliability in matters of practical government. We have already seen with what jealousy Jefferson regarded the life-tenure and the practical immunity from popular control of the federal judiciary. While in many of the colonies the judges had been responsible to the legislatures, while even in England itself they were removable on address by the Houses of Parliament, our republican Constitution had out-monarchied monarchical Britain by placing the judges beyond popular, legislative, or executive control except by the cumbrous process of impeachment "for high crimes and misdemeanors," initiated by the House and sustained by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. The Federalists, defeated at the polls in the election of 1800, had "taken refuge in the judiciary,” as Jefferson complained. Commissions had been withheld, to be sure, from the new batch of superfluous judges created by John Adams in the "midnight hours” of his term, and the act creating the new positions had been repealed. But still there remained the supreme court, inviolate because created by the Constitution. And at its head was a man appointed by Adams after the victory of the JeffersonBurr ticket, John Marshall, who began his long career of thirty-four years of fortification of the power of the central government by ruling in the case of Marbury vs. Madison that the supreme court could declare laws of Congress null and void if they conflicted with the court's interpretation of the Constitution.
Jefferson ordered the attack on this stronghold of Federalism, the national judiciary. The first victim was John Pickering, a district judge of New Hampshire, who was impeached early in 1804 on the charge of habitual drunkenness, profanity, and gross language of abuse on the bench, and, in spite of a touching petition from his son, alleging insanity as the cause of the old judge's deplorable behavior, was voted guilty by the Senate and removed. After this "experiment in corpore vili," the administration sought higher game. Samuel Chase, of Maryland, a veteran of the Revolution and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, had been appointed to the supreme court by Washington in 1796. He had been particularly fierce against the Republicans in his conduct of trials under the Alien and Sedition Acts, overstepping the line of impartial instruction in the points of the law by converting his charges to the jury into political harangues. In addressing a
grand jury in Baltimore on May 2, 1803, he had attacked the Jeffersonian doctrine of popular government as “fatal to all security for property and personal liberty” and a harbinger of "mobocracy, the worst of all possible governments." Jefferson was stirred to revenge. “Ought this seditious" (note the adjective from the author of the Kentucky Resolutions !) “and official attack on the principles of our Constitution ... to go unpunished ?” he wrote to Nicholson; adding with characteristic caution: “for myself, it is better that I should not interfere.” The "hint” was taken. The same day that Judge Pickering's sentence was pronounced the House voted to impeach Samuel Chase of high crimes and misdemeanors.
John Randolph undertook the management of the case and expected to make it the grand event of the administration. The Senate chamber was hung with crimson, blue, and green. The temporary galleries were crowded with fashionable spectators. The gala scene recalled the impeachment of Warren Hastings in Westminster Hall twenty years before. But John Randolph was not Edmund Burke. His sarcastic jibes and vitriolic ravings, so effective in the running fire of debate in the House, were out of place in the solemn court. On some of the charges Chase was unanimously acquitted, and in none could a vote of more than nineteen senators (four less than the necessary two-thirds) be marshalled against him.