Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/356

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Chapter 15: Session of 1806-1807

Jefferson's effort to suppress the scandal of Burr's disunion scheme had its source in motives both pure and generous. Distressed by the factiousness of the last session, he could feel no wish more ardent than to restore harmony to his party: The struggle for the succession threatened to tear from his brows the hard-won laurels which were his only pleasure, and the reward for infinite labors and mortifications. So far as he could, he stifled discussion in regard to the coming change.

"The question," he wrote to Leiper of Pennsylvania,[1] "cannot be touched without endangering the harmony of the present session of Congress, and disturbing the tranquillity of the nation itself prematurely and injuriously. . . . The present session is important as having new and great questions to decide, in the decision of which no schismatic views should take any part."

In this spirit the President shaped his acts. Reunion in a common policy, a controlling impulse, was the motive of his gentleness toward Randolph and the Virginia schismatics, as it was that of his blindness to the doings of Burr.

  1. Jefferson's Writings (Ford), viii. 502.