Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 1.djvu/277

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Chapter 10: Legislation

Honest as Jefferson undoubtedly was in his wish to diminish executive influence, the task was beyond his powers. In ability and in energy the Executive overshadowed Congress, where the Republican party, though strong in numbers and discipline, was so weak in leadership, especially among the Northern democrats, that the weakness almost amounted to helplessness. Of one hundred and five members, thirty-six were Federalists; of the sixty-nine Republicans, sore thirty were Northern men, from whom the Administration could expect little more than votes. Boston sent Dr. Eustis; from New York came Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill,—new members both; but two physicians, or even two professors, were hardly competent to take the place of leaders in the House, or to wield much influence outside. The older Northern members were for the most part men of that respectable mediocrity which followed where others led. The typical Northern democrat of that day was a man disqualified for great distinction by his want of the habits of leadership; he was obliged, in spite of his principles, to accept the guidance of aristocrats like the Livingstons, Clintons, and Burrs, or like