President Jefferson was at Washington June 25, the day when news of the outrage arrived; but his
where the town government was wholly Federalist, a moment of hesitation occurred. The principal Federalists consulted with each other, and decided not to call a town-meeting. July 10 an informal meeting was called by the Republicans, over which Elbridge Gerry presided, and which Senator J. Q. Adams alone among the prominent Federalists attended. There also a resolution was adopted, pledging cheerful co-operation "in any measures, however serious," which the Administration might deem necessary for the safety and honor of the country. In a few days public opinion compelled the Federalists to change their tone. A town-meeting was held at Faneuil Hall July 16, and Senator Adams again reported resolutions, which were unanimously adopted, pledging effectual support to the government. Yet the Essex Junto held aloof; neither George Cabot, Theophilus Parsons, nor Timothy Pickering would take part in such proceedings, and the Federalist newspaper which was supposed to represent their opinions went so far as to assert that Admiral Berkeley's doctrine was correct, and that British men-of-war had a right to take deserters from the national vessels of the United States. In private, this opinion was hotly maintained; in public, its expression was generally thought unwise in face of popular excitement.
- New England Federalism, p. 182.