Chapter 8: Organization
In 1801, and throughout Jefferson's Administration, the Cabinet consisted of five heads of department,—the Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, of the Army, and of the Navy, with the Attorney-General. The law business of the government being light, the Attorney-General was frequently absent, and, indeed, was not required to reside permanently at Washington. Rather the official counsel of government than a head of department, he had no clerks or office-room, and his salary was lower than that of his colleagues. The true Cabinet consisted of the four secretaries; and the true government rested in still fewer hands, for it naturally fell within the control of the officers whose responsibility was greatest,—the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of the Treasury.
Simple as such a system was, Jefferson found that months elapsed before his new Cabinet could be organized and set at work. Although Madison was instantly nominated and confirmed as Secretary of State, some weeks passed before he arrived in Washington and assumed his duties. Gallatin was supposed to be in danger of rejection by the Senate, and