Chapter 8: Madison's Enemies
The President's triumph was decided as early as March 17, for on that day General Smith's assault upon Armstrong was defeated in the Senate by Vice-President Clinton's casting vote; and in the House, Randolph's resistance to the non-importation policy against England ended in his discomfiture and withdrawal; but although even at that early moment no one could doubt Jefferson's irresistible strength, yet no one who knew John Randolph could suppose that either the President or his Secretary of State was in future to sleep on roses.
The session ended April 21; and during the few weeks that intervened between Randolph's defeat, March 17, and the adjournment, the exasperated Virginian developed a strange and unequalled genius. His position was new. The alternation of threat and entreaty, of lofty menace and reluctant obedience, which marked the conduct of the State Department in its dealings with France and England, had no real admirer in the United States. When Randolph denounced the change in Spanish policy, not a voice was raised in its defence, and the public wondered that so powerful a President should be left an unprotected