I learn that [Lee] has thought it worth his while to try to sow tares between you and me, by representing me as still engaged in the bustle of politics & in turbulence & intrigue against the government. I never believed for a moment that this could make any impression on you, or that your knowledge of me would not overweigh the slander of an intriguer dirtily employed in sifting the conversations of my table."To this Washington replied," —
As you have mentioned the subject yourself, it would not be frank, candid or friendly to conceal, that your conduct has been represented as derogating from that opinion /had conceived you entertained of me; that, to your particular friends and connexions you have described, and they have denounced me as a person under a dangerous influence ; and that, if I would listen more to some other opinions, all would be well. My answer invariably has been, that I had never discovered any thing in the conduct of Mr. Jefferson to raise suspicions in my mind of his insincerity; that, if he would retrace my public conduct while he was in the administration, abundant proofs would occur to him, that truth and right decisions were the sole objects of my pursuit; that there was as many instances within his own knowledge of my having decided against as in favor of the opinions of the person evidently alluded to ; and, I was no believer in the infallibility of the politics or measures of any man living. In short that I was no party man myself, and the first wish of my heart was, if parties did exist, to reconcile them."As proof upon proof of Jefferson's secret enmity accumulated, Washington ceased to trust his disclaimers, and finally wrote to one of his informants, " Nothing short of the evidence you have adduced, corroborative of intimations which I had received long before through another channel, could have shaken my belief in the sincerity of a friendship, which I had conceived as possessed for me by the person to whom you allude. But attempts to injure those, who are supposed to stand well in the estimation of the people, and are stumbling blocks in the way, by misrepresenting their political tenets, thereby to destroy all confidence in them, are among the means by which the government is to be assailed, and the constitution destroyed."