BECK index

GEORGE WASHINGTON
A Second Term

by Sanderson Beck

This screenplay has been published in the book GEORGE WASHINGTON: A Dramatic Series. For ordering information, please click here.

EXTERIOR SENATE CHAMBER IN PHILADELPHIA - NOON

Super:

PHILADELPHIA, March 4, 1793

A coach drawn by four matching horses pulls up in front of the building. GEORGE WASHINGTON unattended gets out of the carriage. As ushers with white wands clear a path for him, he walks up the steps into the building, pausing to survey the assemblage of ladies among the orderly crowd.

INTERIOR SENATE CHAMBER IN PHILADELPHIA - NOON

Washington walks to the elegant chair in the front and sits down between JOHN ADAMS and JUSTICE WILLIAM CUSHING. The chamber is crowded with public officials, foreign diplomats and distinguished Philadelphians. John Adams stands up to speak to Washington.

ADAMS
Sir: One of the judges of the Supreme Court
of the United States is now present
and ready to administer to you
the oath required by the Constitution
to be taken by the President of the United States.

Washington stands and reads the following address:

WASHINGTON (Reading)
"Fellow Citizens:
I am again called upon
by the voice of my Country
to execute the functions of its Chief Magistrate.
When the occasion proper for it shall arrive,
I shall endeavor to express the high sense
I entertain of this distinguished honor
and of the confidence which has been reposed in me
by the people of United America.
Previous to the execution
of any official act of the President,
the Constitution requires an Oath of Office.
This Oath I am now about to take,
and in your presence, that if it shall be found
during my administration of the Government
I have in any instance violated willingly
or knowingly the injunction thereof,
I may (besides incurring Constitutional punishment)
be subject to the upbraidings of all
who are now witnesses
of the present solemn Ceremony."

Justice Cushing stands up to administer the oath.

CUSHING
Do you solemnly swear
that you will faithfully execute
the office of President of the United States,
and will, to the best of your ability,
preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States?

WASHINGTON
I solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute
the office of President of the United States,
and will, to the best of my ability,
preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States.
So help me God!

Washington walks out of the room, led by the FEDERAL MARSHALL and the HIGH SHERIFF, as the spectators applaud and cheer.

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is conferring with his cabinet of THOMAS JEFFERSON, EDMUND RANDOLPH, HENRY KNOX, and ALEXANDER HAMILTON.

WASHINGTON
The thirteen questions I have given you in writing
are all concerned with what position
the United States is to take in regard to
the war that has been declared
between Great Britain and France.
The first question is:
Should a proclamation be issued,
and should it embody a declaration of neutrality?

HAMILTON
I think the need for a proclamation
is as immediate as it is obvious
in order to prevent unneutral acts by Americans.

JEFFERSON
Although I believe
we should be neutral in our policy,
a declaration of neutrality is nothing less
than a declaration that there will be no war.
According to the Constitution
only Congress has the power
to decide on war and peace.
There is also a practical reason.
It might be better to hold back
the declaration of neutrality
as a thing worth something to the powers at war.
Then both nations might bid for it,
and we might reasonably ask as a price
the broadest privileges of a neutral nation.
Thus we could use the exigencies of this conflict
to gain from Great Britain the concessions
which London is still withholding from us
in violation of the Treaty of 1783.

HAMILTON
But those violations involve holding forts
that England has failed to evacuate in the Northwest.
Do you really think they are likely
to withdraw from them during a war?
Attempting such extortion against England
is outweighed by multiplying the risks
of breaking the neutrality
and so becoming involved in the war.
A proclamation of neutrality is imperative.
Silence is fraught with too many perils.

KNOX
Yes, I agree strongly
we must have a proclamation.

RANDOLPH
A public statement would make our policy clear.
As to its constitutionality,
since a state of peace already now exists,
the President would only be
promulgating its continuance
until the Senate should change the policy.

HAMILTON
Surely if the executive and commander-in-chief
is to be strong enough to govern effectively,
foreign policy must be his necessary prerogative.

JEFFERSON
I will agree to a proclamation
if the Congress is not bound in the next session
by the President's action,
and if the word "neutrality" is not used.

WASHINGTON
If this is acceptable to everyone ...

HAMILTON
Yes, but it should forbid American citizens
from taking part in hostilities on the seas
and warn them against carrying any of those articles
deemed contraband by the modern usage of nations
and also enjoin them from all acts and proceedings
inconsistent with the duties
of a friendly nation toward those at war.

WASHINGTON
If we all agree that
such a statement should be issued,
then I would ask the Secretary of State
to write up a draft for us.

JEFFERSON
Mr. President,
I would rather not be the author of this.

WASHINGTON
Then will the Attorney General
be so kind as to oblige?

RANDOLPH
Of course.
But I would ask the Secretary of State
to caution all belligerents
from using the proclamation
as conclusive evidence in contraband cases
involving Americans in foreign courts of admiralty.
The powers at war must understand
that this action is only an Executive warning
to the citizens of the United States.

JEFFERSON
I could, although that is an indifferent thing.

KNOX
That is fine.

HAMILTON
I think it is unnecessary.

WASHINGTON
Although I tend to agree with Mr. Hamilton
that it is superfluous,
as there are three for it, it shall stand.
The second question is whether we should receive
a minister of the French Republic.
As you know, Citizen Genet,
as these republicans like to be called,
has arrived at the port of Charleston.

JEFFERSON
There has never been any doubt
that Citizen Genet's credentials would be accepted,
and there can be no question of it now.
More than a month has passed
since we instructed Gouverneur Morris
to extend formal recognition
to the French National Assembly.
Any hesitancy on our part now
to receive Citizen Genet
would be a notorious breach of the neutrality
which is to be so solemnly proclaimed.

HAMILTON
Yes, I suppose we must receive him,
but I regret greatly
that any incident has happened
which should oblige us
to recognize this government.

WASHINGTON
Then we unanimously agree to receive him,
but the next question is whether
it should be absolutely or with some qualification.

HAMILTON
Even Americans who do not agree with me
that the present French government is illegal,
bloodthirsty, and a menace to order everywhere
must realize things are very unsettled in France.
Are we obligated to adhere to the Treaty
we made with France in 1778
when it was a monarchy?
As it may issue in a republic
or a military despotism or in something else
which may possibly render
our alliance with it dangerous to ourselves,
we have a right of election to renounce it altogether
or to declare it suspended till the government
is settled in the form it is ultimately to take.
To receive the French minister without qualification
would amount to electing to continue the treaties,
including the clause which obligates
the United States to defend the French West Indies.
For us to make such a territorial guarantee
would obviously be a departure from neutrality,
for it would make the guarantor
an associate in the war.
Thus, renunciation or at least suspension
of the treaties of 1778 with France
is essential to preserving American neutrality.

KNOX
I am not an expert on international law,
but I agree with the Treasury Secretary
that the Treaty of Alliance must be declared void.

JEFFERSON
Mr. Hamilton's argument may be ingenious,
but it is not sound.
The Treaty of Alliance remains perfectly valid,
because treaties bind nations, not governments.

RANDOLPH
Yes, that is the correct interpretation.
I agree with the Secretary of State.

HAMILTON
I have here a quotation to back up my argument
from the greatest authority on international law,
Emerich de Vattel, who wrote in his famous book
on the law of nations
that treaties do not necessarily continue
when governments change.

WASHINGTON
Mr. Randolph,
what is your legal opinion of this?

RANDOLPH
Sir, in regard to so great a question
I should choose to make a written opinion.

WASHINGTON
Very well,
everyone is to submit a written opinion.
Let us skip over the other questions now,
but I think we should address the last question
whether Congress should be
called into a special session.

HAMILTON
That is not necessary.

KNOX
We are at peace and staying that way.

RANDOLPH
A special session is not required.

WASHINGTON
Mr. Jefferson?

JEFFERSON
I yield to the practicality;
there is no need for haste or the added expense.

WASHINGTON
Then it is unanimous,
and this meeting is adjourned.

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is opening the door to let in Jefferson, who is carrying some papers.

WASHINGTON
Yes, Mr. Jefferson, what is it?

JEFFERSON
I have received a written protest
from the British ambassador, George Hammond.
He claims
the French Captain Bompard of the Embuscade
captured the British vessel Grange
within Delaware Bay,
while the Grange was bound for Liverpool
with an American pilot still on board.
He asks if this is not an infringement
on the neutrality of the United States
and an aggression on its jurisdiction.
He demands the ship be returned
to her British owners.

WASHINGTON
Is this true?

JEFFERSON
I must confess, sir,
that I did see the Embuscade myself
escorting captured ships
with the British flag reversed.
Thousands and thousands of people in Philadelphia
flocked to the wharf in prodigious joy,
renting the air with peals of exultation.
Nonetheless the French have violated our neutrality.

WASHINGTON
Ask Ambassador Ternant for an explanation
and assure Mr. Hammond that our Government
will certainly not see with indifference
our territory or jurisdiction violated,
and we will immediately inquire into the facts.

JEFFERSON
Certainly.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is conferring with his cabinet.

HAMILTON
The prizes taken by the French
must be returned to the British,
and the French privateers should be ordered away.

KNOX
Yes, we cannot allow the French
to get away with this,
even if done
before our neutrality was proclaimed.

JEFFERSON
I disagree.
Why not allow the French
to sell the prizes on American soil?
Also I don't see why the pre-Proclamation privateers
should not be allowed to operate from American bases.
If we allow the British to win this war,
our reward is likely to be Cyclops' boon to Ulysses:
we shall be the last one to be devoured.

HAMILTON
That is outrageous and far from neutrality!

RANDOLPH
Mr. President,
may I offer a compromise solution?

WASHINGTON
Please.

RANDOLPH
I suggest that we not return
the prizes to the British,
and avoid future trouble
by ordering the privateers away.

WASHINGTON
That sounds reasonable to me.
Any objections?
Then that shall be our policy.

HAMILTON
Sir, what about my plan
to enforce the Proclamation
by instructing custom-house officials
to report any evidence of violation
to the Collector of the Revenue?
Then the Department of the Treasury
would inform the Attorney General.

JEFFERSON
What?!
Why is the Treasury Department
being called in to enforce foreign policy?

RANDOLPH
Perhaps the reports could be made directly
to the Federal Attorneys in the Districts
rather than to the Treasury Department.

WASHINGTON
Yes, that would be better.

HAMILTON
That is acceptable, I suppose.
All I can say is that Mr. Genet
had better not outfit privateers
as he has been announcing he intends to do.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Jefferson is presenting EDMOND GENET to Washington.

JEFFERSON
Mr. President,
it is my honor to introduce
the envoy from France, Citizen Genet.

GENET
Monsieur le President,
I am proud to present to you
and the American people my credentials
and a memorial
from the National Convention of France.

Genet hands some papers to Washington.

WASHINGTON
Thank you.

GENET
We know that under present circumstances
we have a right to call upon you
for the guarantee of our islands.
But we do not desire it.
We wish you to do nothing
but what is for your own good,
and we will do all in our power to promote it.
Cherish your own peace and prosperity!
You have expressed a willingness to enter into
a more liberal treaty of commerce with us.
I bring full powers to form such a treaty,
and a preliminary decree of the National Convention
to lay open our country and its colonies
to you for every purpose of utility,
without your participating in the burdens
of maintaining and defending them.
We see in you the only person on earth
who can love us sincerely and merit to be so loved.

WASHINGTON
Thank you for your generous sentiments.
On behalf of the United States
may I express our desire
to live in peace and harmony with all nations
and particularly with our dear friend, France.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Jefferson is conferring with Washington.

WASHINGTON
After talking with the Attorney General
I have decided that
the prize captured by the French,
the Little Sarah,
is not to be restored to the British,
but the privateer which captured her
and the French corsairs outfitted in Charleston
are to be denied the sanctuary of American ports.

JEFFERSON
That seems reasonable to me.
Have you signed the draft I gave you
formally acknowledging
Ambassador Ternant's recall?

WASHINGTON
I have one question about it first.
In the first sentence of this letter to the French
you refer to the United States as "our republic."
I wonder if that is the proper usage.
Certainly the United States
is a republican government,
but this expression has not been used heretofore
in any of our diplomatic correspondence, has it?

JEFFERSON
No, but there must be a first time.
A republican form of government draws its power
from the election of its officials by the people,
whereas a monarchy attempts to impose
the will of one man onto the people.

WASHINGTON (Angrily)
Mr. Jefferson, no man in America
could oppose monarchical innovations
more than myself.
My fear is not monarchy, but anarchy.
Look at this National Gazette of Freneau's!
For more than a year now
this employee of your department
has ridiculed every act of this Administration.
This article dares to suggest
that American Anglophiles
extorted the Proclamation of Neutrality
by threatening to behead the President!

JEFFERSON
Sir, I will insert the words "United States"
in place of the phrase "our republic."

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is conferring with his cabinet.

WASHINGTON
Now that our notices to Genet and Hammond
may have silenced them for a time,
we can turn to the proposed loan from Holland.

HAMILTON
There are three reasons why we need this loan:
first, the negotiations with the Northern Indian tribes
and the British at Sandusky are very uncertain;
second, there is also the possibility of a war
with the Creeks and perhaps the Spanish in Georgia;
and third, of course, is the great danger facing us
regarding the European war
between France and England.
Once we become involved in a war,
loans are much more difficult to arrange.

WASHINGTON
These reasons seem cogent to me.

JEFFERSON
Mr. President, I disagree.
It seems to me that
the Treasury Secretary simply wants to stock
the National Bank with idle money
for the corruption of the next legislature,
in the same way
the previous legislatures were corrupted.

WASHINGTON
I cannot sustain that objection.
Negotiation for two million florins is approved.

INT. GENET'S QUARTERS IN PHILADELPHIA - DAY

Jefferson is waiting impatiently in the anteroom when Genet comes in.

GENET
My apologies, Citizen Secretary,
for keeping you waiting.

JEFFERSON
Citizen Genet, I need assurances from you
that the Little Sarah will be kept in port
until the facts are ascertained,
and the President can render a decision.
He is expected back in Philadelphia in three days.

GENET
But the United States is violating
her treaty obligations to France.
You have allowed your flag
to be insulted by the British,
who stopped your ships and removed provisions
bound for the French West Indies.
If the United States does not have the spirit
to protect her own vessels,
then she should allow the French to do so.
I have been thwarted and opposed in everything
I have had to do with your Government.
Since the President has illegally shunned
the friendly propositions I brought him from France,
on the return of the President,
I will certainly press him to convene the Congress.

JEFFERSON
Citizen Genet,
it is my diplomatic function
to abide by the decisions of my Government,
although I may report
my disagreements with our action.
What do you plan to do about the Little Sarah?

GENET
I should not be justified in detaining her.

JEFFERSON
It would be a very serious offense if she should go.
Our Government is determined on this point,
and, thinking it is right, will go through with it.

GENET
The boat is not yet ready to sail.
I doubt it would leave before Washington returns.
She may drop down the Delaware
to another anchorage.
Let me beseech you,
not to permit any attempt
to put men on board her;
for she is filled with high-spirited patriots,
and they will unquestionably resist.

JEFFERSON
I assume then that the Little Sarah will not sail
before President Washington
returns to Philadelphia.

Genet nods his head but says nothing.

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is conferring with his cabinet.

HAMILTON
It is an outrage that the Little Sarah has moved
beyond Mud Island and possible detention by us!
From there she can slip into the sea instantly
at a moment's notice from Ambassador Genet,
whom I believe is attempting
to provoke Great Britain
into a declaration of war against us.

WASHINGTON
I am upset that Governor Mifflin
failed to detect the project in embryo
when no force was requisite,
or a very small party of militia would suffice.

KNOX
At Governor Mifflin's request
I have put federal cannon on Mud Island
in preparation for future emergencies.

WASHINGTON
Yes, now that it is too late.
By committing federal cannon to that fortification
the result will be that every port in the United States
will want to raid the federal arsenal,
which, as you know, is quite limited.

HAMILTON
I still say the French minister
has become unendurable,
and the sovereign dignity of the United States
has been insulted by an accredited diplomat.
Our honor demands a formal recall.

KNOX
Why not immediately suspend
the minister's functions?

JEFFERSON
Let us not be too precipitous.
The entire correspondence of this minister
ought to be sent
with friendly observations to Paris for review.

WASHINGTON
I think it best that we apply
to the Supreme Court for their opinions
on these questions of neutrality.

INT. WASHINGTON'S DRAWING ROOM IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is chatting with Martha and ROBERT MORRIS, when a SERVANT comes in.

SERVANT
Sir, the French minister Genet
is here to see you.

WASHINGTON
Genet? What is he doing here?
You may show him in.

The servant exits and returns immediately with Genet, who bows to the three. Washington and Morris stand briefly and then sit down again.

WASHINGTON
Please sit down, Monsieur Genet.

MARTHA
How kind of you to call on us, sir.

GENET
My pleasure.

An awkward silence ensues.

GENET (Continued.)
Mr. President,
may I request a private interview?

WASHINGTON
Communications of diplomats should come to me
through the Secretary of State.

GENET
Yes, I know;
I have talked to your fine Secretary,
but this is a matter of the highest importance.

Washington gets up and leads Genet out of the room.

WASHINGTON
Come with me.

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is conferring with Genet.

GENET
Mr. President,
I am not responsible
for the protests of the American people
which appear to alarm your Government.
I have received, not produced this movement
which comes from, you must not forget,
the honesty and integrity of the people.
My correspondence with your Government
has been lively.
But if you put yourself in my place
and consider that the Neutrality Proclamation
annulled the most sacred treaties,
I think you would agree with me
that unless I was a traitor,
I could not act otherwise.
France is now emerging from this struggle in glory.
Thus as France's representative I will be generous.
If the United States wishes to destroy
at the feet of liberty treaties made with Louis XVI,
I am ready to consider with magnanimity
concluding new ones with you
on whatever terms you may wish to request.

WASHINGTON
I must apologize for my ignorance,
but I do not read the gazettes,
and it is indifferent to me
whether my Administration is talked about or not.

Washington walks over to the door and shows Genet out.

INT. JEFFERSON'S OFFICE - MORNING

Genet is conferring with Jefferson.

GENET
He did received me yesterday,
and I told him that I would consider---

When Washington suddenly walks in, Genet notices that the expression on Washington's face is not one of welcome. He then looks at Jefferson's face, and is mortified to discover that Jefferson likewise has become cool to him. Jefferson makes a gesture with his hand, and Genet goes out.

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is conferring with his cabinet.

HAMILTON
Genet has made disgraceful threats to Mr. Dallas;
he is notorious for founding
the Society of Friends of Liberty and Equality,
and the Pennsylvania Democratic Society
has been spreading sedition all across the country.
Publishing his correspondence
will enable our citizens
to see for themselves
the outrageousness of his conduct.

JEFFERSON
This is surely calculated to make the President
assume the station of the head of a party
instead of the head of a nation.
Would not Genet respond to this
with his own rhetoric?
The President would be inevitably pushed
into a competition with this French diplomat
for the favor of the American people.

WASHINGTON
I am inclined to put all this out in the open.
Senator Robert Morris has pledged
his support if I do.

KNOX
I heard a rumor the democrats are plotting
to put an end to the President's tyranny
by expelling him from the capital.
Look at this newspaper headline:
"The Funeral Dirge of George Washington
and James Wilson, King and Judge."
How dare Freneau propose the guillotine
for the President and a Supreme Court Justice?!

WASHINGTON (Angrily)
For months I have been subjected
to this personal abuse.
I defy any man on earth to produce
a single act of mine since I became President
which was not done on the purest motives.
I have never repented but once
having missed the moment of resigning my office.
By God I would rather be in my grave than here,
rather be on a farm
than be made emperor of the world,
and yet they are charging me
with wanting to be a king.
That rascal Freneau sends me
three of his papers every day,
as if he thinks I would distribute his papers.
I can see nothing in this attack
but an impudent design to insult me.

Pause as Washington calms down, and the others in embarrassment do not know what to do or say.

WASHINGTON (Cont'd.)
I see no reason to decide today
whether or not to publish the Genet record.
Put what we have agreed to
into a train of execution.
Perhaps events will show whether the appeal
will be necessary or not.

EXT. JEFFERSON'S COUNTRY HOUSE IN GRAY'S FERRY - MORNING

Washington rides up to the house and dismounts.

INT. JEFFERSON'S COUNTRY HOUSE - MORNING

Washington is conferring with Jefferson.

WASHINGTON
Now I have received a letter from Mr. Hamilton,
stating his desire to retire also
at the close of the next Congressional session.
He has often intimated dispositions to resign,
but never as decisively before.
Could you not postpone your resignation until then?
Then I could fill both vacancies at the same time,
and it would be easier to maintain regional balance.
I am very apprehensive of the fermentation
that is working in the public's mind.
Diverse persons of different causes are uniting.
Where it will end, I know not.
The recent census will cause there to be
more Representatives in the new House.
They may have a different spirit;
the first expression of their sentiments
will be important.
If you would only stay to the end of that session,
it would relieve me considerably.

JEFFERSON
Public life and the society of Philadelphia
I find really quite repugnant.
Without knowing the views of
what is called the Republican party here
or having any communication with them,
I can nevertheless assure you
from my intimacy with that party
in the last Congress
that they are not opposed to the Government.
The Republicans merely wish
to reestablish the independence of Congress.
Genet will be abandoned by the Republicans
the moment they know the nature of his conduct.
On the whole,
no crisis exists to threaten anything.

WASHINGTON
I believe the views of the Republican party are pure,
but when men put a machine into motion,
it is impossible for them to stop it
exactly where they would choose.

JEFFERSON
I am more concerned about the monarchist party,
which I like to call the monocrats.

WASHINGTON
There is no such party.

JEFFERSON
I have heard of dark plottings.

WASHINGTON
If that is the case, it is proof of their insanity,
for the Republican spirit of the Union is solid.
Who could I get to replace you and Hamilton?
I have thought of Madison
and Jay for your position,
but Madison is averse to administration,
and Jay prefers to remain Chief Justice.

JEFFERSON
I recommend
Governor Johnson of Maryland for Treasury.

WASHINGTON
He is a man of good sense, honest,
and, I believe, clear of speculations.
But filling your position is even more difficult.
What do you think of the Attorney General
or the Comptroller, Oliver Wolcott.

JEFFERSON
I believe that Wolcott is possibly a cunning man,
and I refuse to comment
on Mr. Randolph's character
except to say that he seems to be suffering
serious financial embarrassments
in his private affairs.

WASHINGTON
Please, I beseech you, Mr. Jefferson,
to stay on at least until December
to get us through the difficulties of the year.
I am satisfied that the affairs of Europe
will be settled with this campaign;
for either France will be overwhelmed by it,
or the Confederacy will give up the contest.
By that time Congress
will have manifested its view.

JEFFERSON
But if I do not return to Monticello at once,
the loss to me will be prejudicial beyond measure.
Perhaps if I could have
a few weeks off to visit there,
then I could oblige you until the end of the year.

WASHINGTON
That would be permissible.
Please do not make your final decision now.
Take two or three days to think about it.
Like a man going to the gallows,
I am willing to put if off as long as I can.

JEFFERSON
All right.

INT. A SMALL ROOM IN GERMANTOWN - DAY

Washington is conferring with his cabinet in a temporary office.

WASHINGTON
Because of the yellow fever in Philadelphia,
it is prudent that we meet here in Germantown.
The question is whether Congress
should be directed by us
to meet at an alternative site as well.

RANDOLPH
Let Congress decide for themselves where to meet,
even if they have to meet first in a field to decide.

JEFFERSON
Yes, we should not interfere in their decision.

WASHINGTON
Then we can turn to Genet's latest presumptions.
I think we should cancel the minister's prerogative,
and he should be ordered to leave the United States.
Not only has he embarrassed the Executive,
but he has been meddling in Kentucky,
and surely his next target will be Congress itself.

HAMILTON
By all means, remove the man immediately.

KNOX
Yes, I agree.

RANDOLPH
Diplomatic propriety makes it necessary
to allow France to recall him in due course.

WASHINGTON
I suppose the Attorney General is right.
We must be patient, howsoever it galls us.
Any views on my upcoming address to Congress?

JEFFERSON
I don't think the President should declare
anything further regarding war or peace.

RANDOLPH
Yes, that is Congress's constitutional prerogative.

HAMILTON
I disagree most vehemently.
The President must not compromise
any part of his power
to make declarations regarding foreign policy.

WASHINGTON
Mr. Knox,
I assume that you agree with Mr. Hamilton.

KNOX
Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON
Then once again we are divided.

INT. PRESIDENT'S PARLOR IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - NOON

Randolph is conferring with Washington.

RANDOLPH
My best wishes
on your sixty-second birthday, sir!

WASHINGTON
Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.

RANDOLPH
The new French minister is waiting to see you,
but before I introduce him to you,
I wanted to tell you that he is asking for
the arrest and return of Monsieur Genet to France.

WASHINGTON
What would happen to him there if we complied?

RANDOLPH
As a discredited envoy
of the fallen Gironde faction,
I am afraid that he would be taken to the guillotine.

WASHINGTON
As much as I dislike the rascal Genet,
I will not turn him over to executioners.
If Monsieur Genet requests it,
we will grant him political asylum here.

RANDOLPH
I think minister Fauchet will accept that.

WASHINGTON
Good; bring him in.

Randolph goes out and comes back with JOSEPH FAUCHET and an INTERPRETER to introduce them to Washington.

RANDOLPH
Minister Fauchet,
the President of the United States.

Fauchet bows and shakes hands with Washington.

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

OLIVER ELLSWORTH is conferring with Washington.

ELLSWORTH
As you know, Mr. President,
the Congress is moving
closer and closer to war with Great Britain.
Have you thought of sending
a special envoy to England
equipped with extraordinary powers
to negotiate a general settlement
of the Anglo-American quarrels?

WASHINGTON
Yes, as a matter of fact,
Secretary of State Randolph
mentioned that idea just recently.

ELLSWORTH
We have seen the citizens who favor the French
rioting in the streets of Philadelphia.
Even Federalists now are willing to support
an embargo on all trade with England
in order to stop British cruisers
from molesting our ships in the Caribbean.
An effective envoy sent by you could also
bring up their violations of the old peace treaty.

WASHINGTON
Who would you suggest that I send?

ELLSWORTH
Having discussed this with other Federalists,
we could find no one more qualified
than your Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton.

WASHINGTON
I personally have great confidence
in the abilities and character of Mr. Hamilton,
but I do not believe that that confidence
is shared by the American people.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Robert Morris is conferring with Washington.

ROBERT MORRIS
If you don't think
Hamilton is the man for the job,
who else is qualified for this important assignment?

WASHINGTON
I know of three men with great diplomatic experience.

ROBERT MORRIS
Who are they?

WASHINGTON
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and John Jay.

ROBERT MORRIS
Certainly Vice President Adams has the experience
from negotiating the peace treaty in 1783
and having been minister to England after that,
but I don't think he has the temperament for this.
Jefferson also has the experience,
but surely his adoration
of France and their revolution
disqualifies him from a mission
to their enemy, Britain.
That leaves the Chief Justice, John Jay.
I think the Federalists would accept him,
but others remember his past failures
as Secretary of Foreign Affairs
during the Confederation.
Yet the Republicans would prefer him to Hamilton.

WASHINGTON
Perhaps Mr. Jay could be the man.
I will invite him to come for dinner.

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is conferring with his cabinet. WILLIAM BRADFORD is the new Attorney General; Randolph is now Secretary of State.

RANDOLPH
It is clear the excise tax on whisky
is not being obeyed in western Pennsylvania.
Yet Governor Mifflin does not yet believe
that it is necessary to call in the state militia,
though he does defer to the Federal Government
regarding laws of the Union.
Let us see what our commissioners can accomplish.

HAMILTON
I recommend the prompt recruiting of militia
to put down what already
has become an insurrection.
The Democratic Societies have been fostering
combinations subversive to the Government,
encouraging opposition by irregular meetings,
employing fear and violent threats,
injuring persons, destroying property,
abusing public officials,
and employing armed and disguised banditti,
which amounts to treason.
Clearly the President has the authority
to summon the state militias
in order enforce the laws of the land.

KNOX
There can be no question of that.

BRADFORD
We must enforce the laws.

WASHINGTON
Yes, I agree;
Governor Mifflin is denying the facts.
Let us issue a proclamation stating the reasons
for taking the action we believe is necessary.

KNOX
Sir, begging your pardon,
it really is imperative that
I travel to Maine immediately on personal business.
I realize that this crisis affects the War Department,
but if there is any way I could be excused,
I would be very grateful.

WASHINGTON
With Mr. Hamilton's military background,
I suppose he could also be
Secretary of War temporarily.

KNOX
Thank you, sir.

EXT. FRONT OF THE MORRIS HOUSE - MORNING

Washington and Hamilton, dressed in military uniforms with swords, come out of the front door with Washington's private secretary, BARTHOLOMEW DANDRIDGE, and get in the waiting carriage.

WASHINGTON
We should be able to reach Carlisle
for the meeting in four days' time.

EXT. ROAD OUTSIDE OF CARLISLE - AFTERNOON

Washington and Hamilton ride on horseback accompanied by GOVERNOR MIFFLIN of Pennsylvania and GOVERNOR HOWELL of New Jersey. Troops form a long line of passage for the President and cheer as he passes by them. Washington takes off his hat and bows to the soldiers.

WASHINGTON
Thank you,
Governor Mifflin and Governor Howell
for this very warm welcome!

INT. A PRIVATE ROOM IN CARLISLE - DAY

Washington, Hamilton, Governor Howell, and Dandridge are meeting with WILLIAM FINDLEY and WILLIAM REDICK, whose clothes indicate that they have come from over the western mountains.

WASHINGTON
I am here because of the graveness
of this insurrection
and will listen patiently to what you have to say.
Please speak with candor about what you know.

FINDLEY
Mr. Redick and I have prospered in these parts
and managed to join the radical movement.
The people of consequence, like ourselves,
now favor submission, but not the simpler people.
The views on the frontier have changed greatly,
but I still would not try to re-establish tax offices
unless I could be assured of military protection.
The ignorance and general want of information
among the people far exceeds anything I ever knew.
Their opposition aims not merely at the excise law
but at all laws and government.
I'd rather quit the scene than lead that life anymore.
People changed
after the Government commissioners left.
The failure to get all the signatures on the submission
is due to lack of time rather than unwillingness.
Also the innocent are reluctant to expose themselves
to suspicion by signing the commissioners' papers.

REDICK
Before the people were believing
that the opposition to the tax was so general
that no troops could march against them,
but now they are really alarmed.
The rebels of little or no property
who care but little where they reside
are now in flight to the hills
without the least intention of opposing the army.
Though if an invading army raised resentments,
they might change their minds to fight.
Force might be necessary in the end,
but I hope the army will not at this time
risk a battle by crossing the mountains.

WASHINGTON
I consider the support of the laws
an object of the highest magnitude;
and as the greatest part of the expense
has already been incurred,
nothing short of the most unequivocal proofs
of absolute submission will retard the march.
If our soldiers do enter the western counties,
no band of men should approach them armed,
for were a single shot to be directed at them,
there would be no answering for the consequences.
The army, unless opposed,
does not mean to be executioners
nor bring offenders to a military tribunal,
but merely is to aid the civil magistrates,
with whom the offenses lie.

FINDLEY
I have seen the licentious and inflammatory spirit
among your troops here at Carlisle, sir,
and I beg you to accompany any advance.
If you are not present to curb the troops,
many would likely make
common cause with the guilty;
for there is no law, divine or human,
to oblige people tamely to submit
to being skewered, hanged, or shot in cold blood;
and for some time this has been the declared object
of such as have made the most noise.

WASHINGTON
Such behavior will not be tolerated,
and the corps is being reorganized
and made orderly.
Any soldier who refuses to obey will be discharged.

REDICK
We beg you for more time
to enable people to submit.

WASHINGTON
I am afraid that winter is approaching,
and I cannot vacillate on a military expedition---
a matter not less painful than expensive.
You have yourselves admitted that the taxes
still cannot be collected without force.

INT. ROOM AT BEDFORD - DAY

Washington is conferring with the military staff of Governors Mifflin, Howell, and the commanding general, GOVERNOR HENRY LEE of Virginia.

WASHINGTON
I am confident that with the number of troops here
Governor Lee will be able to enforce the laws,
as I take my leave to return to Philadelphia
in order to be there for the legislative session.
I wish to read the close
of my message to the militia,
addressed to Governor Lee in the General Orders.

"The essential principles of a free government
confine the provinces of the military
to these two objects:
first, to combat and subdue
all who may be found in arms
in opposition to the national will and authority;
secondly, to aid and support the civil magistrate
in bringing offenders to justice.
The dispensation of this justice
belongs to the civil magistrate,
and let it ever be our pride and our glory
to leave the sacred deposit there unviolated."

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Randolph is conferring with Washington.

RANDOLPH
These are third copies of the treaty with England.
Apparently the originals were lost at sea.

WASHINGTON
That explains why it took so long to get here.

RANDOLPH
The seal was unbroken;
so I am sure they are authentic.

WASHINGTON
Have you read them over?

RANDOLPH
Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON
What is your opinion?

RANDOLPH
The terms seem to me to be much more advantageous
to Great Britain than to the United States.
Jay did manage to get the British
to commit to evacuating the western posts
they agreed to leave after the War for Independence,
but their withdrawal is not effective until June, 1796.
The Canadian trappers, traders, and Indians
are given free access to our Northwest Territory
and the rivers including the Mississippi.
Americans get the same privileges in Canada.

WASHINGTON
That's hardly equal.

RANDOLPH
Anglo-American commissions are to be established
to settle questions of borders and private debts.

WASHINGTON
That could be good.

RANDOLPH
I think Article Twelve could be a problem.
It forbids American ships
stopping at the West Indies
from carrying molasses, sugar,
coffee, cocoa, and cotton
to France or any neutral place.

WASHINGTON
But France pays the most for those items,
don't they?

RANDOLPH
Yes, and the English reserve the right to seize
foodstuffs and provisions as contraband of war.

WASHINGTON
Let me read it over carefully.
We'll submit it to the Senate
for advice and consent.
When does the Senate meet again?

RANDOLPH
They just adjourned and will not be back until June.

WASHINGTON
That is three months from now.
I think we should keep
the terms of the Treaty secret
or else opposition in the newspapers
could destroy it.
Then we'll let the Senate decide
if they want to reveal the terms during their debate.
Also I see no need to show this
to our new Secretaries of War and Treasury,
Mr. Pickering and Mr. Wolcott.

RANDOLPH
Very good, sir.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is conferring with his cabinet of Randolph, Bradford, TIMOTHY PICKERING, and OLIVER WOLCOTT.

WASHINGTON
The Senate has ratified the Treaty,
making an exception of Article Twelve.
Taking Mr. Randolph's advice I decided so far
not to submit a revised article to the Senate.
The question is:
should I submit such a revision to the Senate
before the Treaty can be signed,
or does the Constitution allow me to negotiate
the needed adjustments and consider it ratified?
I request your comments in writing
but would like to hear your preliminary feelings.

PICKERING
I don't think you need to resubmit it,
because the Senate has ratified it,
assuming Article Twelve will be revised.

WOLCOTT
I tend to agree with Mr. Pickering.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Randolph is conferring with Washington.

RANDOLPH
British cruisers are again
seizing contraband cargoes
from American grain ships bound for France.

WASHINGTON
Is this true?
What is the evidence?

RANDOLPH
Letters from both Hamilton and Jay confirm it, sir.

WASHINGTON
What should we do now?

RANDOLPH
I don't think you should sign the Treaty
while this Provision Order is in effect.
Let me go to the British ambassador, Hammond,
and see if he will give me a memorial
with the condition that the Treaty can be ratified
if this Order is withdrawn
and Article 12 is revised.

WASHINGTON
Yes, go and talk to him.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Randolph is conferring with Washington.

RANDOLPH
Minister Hammond asked
if he could lift the Order temporarily
and then reinstate it after ratification!

WASHINGTON
The gall of the British never ceases to astound me!

RANDOLPH
He also asked me
if you are irrevocably determined
not to ratify the Treaty
while the Order for seizing contraband is in effect.
I told him I didn't know.

WASHINGTON
You could have told him that
I will never sign a pact with Great Britain
as long as her warships seize American cargoes
and insult our flag on the high seas!
If Pitt and Grenville return to common sense,
then we will ratify, but not until then.
Draft a memorial and revision of Article Twelve
so that our Government
will be ready for ratification.

RANDOLPH
Yes, sir.

INT. WASHINGTON'S DINING ROOM IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Randolph is dining with Washington when Pickering is introduced by a servant.

SERVANT
Sir, the Secretary of War is here to see you.

WASHINGTON
Mr. Pickering,
please step into the next room with me.
Excuse me for a moment, Mr. Randolph.

Washington picks up a glass of wine and leads Pickering out of the room.

INT. ADJACENT ROOM IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington leads Pickering into the room, and without sitting down begins the conversation.

WASHINGTON
What is the cause of your writing me that letter?

PICKERING (Pointing to the door)
That man in the other room is a traitor.

WASHINGTON
What?!
You had better explain yourself.

PICKERING
After you had gone to Mount Vernon, sir,
the British minister received from London
some dispatches which had been intercepted
while being sent from the French envoy Fauchet
to his government in Paris.
Mr. Hammond then invited
Secretary Wolcott to his house
and read some of these to him in translation.

WASHINGTON
What did they say?

PICKERING
They imply that Mr. Randolph
asked Fauchet for money,
that he has given the French secret information,
and that American policy may have been influenced.
Mr. Wolcott will bring you
Fauchet's dispatch tonight.
Then judge for yourself if this is treason or not.

WASHINGTON
Yes, of course, but until then
let us return to the other room
to prevent any suspicion
of the cause of our withdrawing.

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is reading the Fauchet papers and their translations. We hear Washington's thoughts as he is reading the documents.

WASHINGTON (voice over)
This is very suspicious:
"The precious confessions of Mr. Randolph alone
throws a satisfactory light
upon everything that comes to pass."
Could my dear friend Randolph
have been intending this?
"Under pretext of giving energy to the government,
it was intended to introduce absolute power
and to mislead the President in paths
which would conduct him to unpopularity."
This passage here is very incriminating:
"Before the Cabinet had resolved on its measures,
Mr. Randolph came to see me
with a countenance expressive of much anxiety,
and made to me the overtures
of which I have given you an account in my No. 6.
Thus with some thousands of dollars
the Republic would have decided
on civil war or on peace!
Thus the consciences
of the pretended patriots of America
have already their scale of prices!"
I wish we had No. 6 here.
What could those overtures have been?!

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is conferring with his cabinet.

WASHINGTON
I am asking you today if you believe
that we should immediately ratify the Treaty.

PICKERING
Yes, sir, I definitely think so.
It seems to me that any delay of this Treaty
is the result of a detestable and nefarious conspiracy.
I think you should sign the treaty at once
in the form that the Senate has advised.

WOLCOTT
I agree that we should not delay any longer.

RANDOLPH
But the President is determined not to ratify it
until Great Britain abandons the Provision Order.
This Order violates a spirit of diplomatic accord,
the American principle of freedom of the seas,
and our assurances to France in regard to contraband.
Sir, you would run the hazard of a war with France
by combining with Britain to starve her.

BRADFORD
Nonetheless the Treaty should be ratified.

WASHINGTON
I agree with the majority.
I will ratify the Treaty.

Randolph appears quite surprised, even shocked by the change in Washington.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Pickering and Wolcott are meeting with Washington.

WASHINGTON
With the Treaty ratified and so controversial
as to be causing riots in the major cities,
I want to avoid any damaging publicity
regarding the Secretary of State's possible treason.
Thus we cannot ask the French
for the missing dispatches,
but must rely on observing Mr. Randolph
when we confront him with the incriminating papers.
Please watch him carefully as he reads them.
I sent a messenger telling him not to come at nine,
but at half past ten instead.

A knock on the door is heard, and Randolph comes in.

WASHINGTON (Cont'd.)
Here he is, punctual as usual.
Good morning, Mr. Secretary.
Please sit down.

RANDOLPH
I see you are in conference already.
I am sorry that I was not here sooner,
but a messenger told me not to come at nine.

Washington takes out the Fauchet dispatches in the original French in order to hand them to Randolph.

WASHINGTON
Mr. Randolph, here is a letter
which I desire you to read
and make such explanation as you choose.

Randolph takes the letter and begins to read it. Washington, Pickering and Wolcott watch him carefully. Randolph maintains his composure, except for a slight blush near the beginning.

DISSOLVE TO:

Randolph finishes reading the letter.

RANDOLPH
This letter must have been intercepted.

Washington nods his head.

RANDOLPH (Cont'd.)
I will explain what I know,
but my memory may not be
accurate so spontaneously.
I do not recall saying or doing anything improper
in communicating with the French minister.
When Fauchet refers to an "overture" or "prices"
I cannot be sure of what he means
without seeing Dispatches Number 3 and Number 6.
I know I never received any money from him.
I do recall that he once complained
that George Hammond, the English envoy,
was conspiring with certain New Yorkers
to destroy him, Governor Clinton,
and other Republicans, including myself.
I should be glad to throw my ideas on paper,
if I may be permitted to retain this letter.

WASHINGTON
Very well, retain it.
Mr. Pickering or Mr. Wolcott,
would either of you
care to interrogate the Secretary?

WOLCOTT
Yes, what do you mean by the statement
that Hammond sought to destroy
Fauchet, Clinton, and you?

RANDOLPH
Obviously he meant our influence and popularity.
Don't you recall, Mr. President,
there was a rumor last year
that Hammond was involved in this?

WASHINGTON
No, I don't remember that;
but I am certainly not trying to conceal anything!

A servant opens the door to make an announcement.

SERVANT
Sir, Mr. Willing is here to see you
with the speech of the Philadelphia merchants.

WASHINGTON
Gentlemen, please excuse me for a moment.

Washington goes out.

RANDOLPH
How did this intercepted letter
come to the attention of the President?

WOLCOTT
The President will, I presume, explain that to you.

Washington comes back in.

WASHINGTON
Mr. Randolph,
I desire you to step into another room
so that I may confer with these two gentlemen.

RANDOLPH
As you wish.

Randolph goes out.

WASHINGTON
Well, gentlemen, what did you observe?

PICKERING
It seemed to me he blushed near the beginning
when he read the part
about the "precious confessions."

WOLCOTT
Only slightly;
for the most part
I think he kept his composure rather well.

WASHINGTON
Yes, I agree, but I want you to tell me in detail
every little thing you observed about him.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington, having talked with Pickering and Wolcott, goes to the door and invites Randolph to return.

WASHINGTON
Mr. Randolph,
would you come back in now, please?

Randolph, much more upset now, comes back in and sits down.

WASHINGTON
Since you desire to put your ideas down on paper,
I ask that you do so.

RANDOLPH
I will prepare a written statement,
but without the missing dispatches
I don't see how I can dispel the false impression
that I encouraged the Pennsylvania insurrection.

WASHINGTON
How soon could you finish your written reply?

RANDOLPH
As soon as possible,
but I could not continue in this office
one second after such treatment as this!

Randolph goes out very abruptly.

PICKERING
Now that is the behavior of a guilty man.

WOLCOTT
There can be no doubt about it now.

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Washington is meeting with his cabinet: Secretary of State Pickering, Treasury Secretary Wolcott, War Secretary JAMES MCHENRY, and Attorney General CHARLES LEE.

WASHINGTON
After we finally got Britain
to accept the changes in Article Twelve
and the Senate ratified the Treaty,
now the House of Representatives
is trying to interfere
by asking for our records in negotiating this Treaty
with a view toward refusing to appropriate the funds
needed to implement several of its articles.
The questions we must decide are:
Does the House have the Constitutional right
to see the documents of our diplomatic negotiations?
Or would it be expedient under the circumstances
of this particular case to furnish them?
Mr. Pickering, you are Secretary of State now.
What is your opinion?

PICKERING
Mr. President, I definitely advise against
turning over to the House Executive documents
the Senate did not even see in order to ratify.
The Constitution expressly declares that
the Senate is to advise and consent on treaties,
but it gives no such authority to the House.
Diplomatic negotiation is very sensitive
and often requires secrecy and consistency,
which could be lost when opened up
to the democratic branch of the Congress.

WOLCOTT
I agree,
you are not bound by the Constitution
to give such documents to the House.

WASHINGTON
What does our new Secretary of War say?

MCHENRY
I don't see how we could
control our own foreign policy
if we had to answer in that way to the House.

WASHINGTON
And what about our new Attorney General?

CHARLES LEE
I agree that the Constitution does not require you
to give them the diplomatic documents,
but I would suggest that you accommodate the House
as much as possible by cooperating in this case.

WASHINGTON.
I agree with the majority.
I think it would be a very dangerous precedent
for the Executive to grant the House this request.
Mr. Lee and Mr. Pickering, I want you
to search the Journal of the House to see
if we have overlooked any precedents
by which our Administration
may have inadvertently conceded
a role to Representatives in treaty-making.
Then draw up a statement I can send to them.
Also begin the search to find the commissioners
we need to appoint to implement the Treaty
so that their nominations may be sent
over to the Congress as soon as possible.

PICKERING
Yes, sir.

INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE IN THE MORRIS HOUSE - DAY

Pickering is conferring with Washington.

WASHINGTON
The French Ambassador Adet in this letter,
which was also published in the Aurora newspaper,
states that the French Republic will treat
the flag of neutrals in the same manner
as they shall suffer it to be treated by the English.

PICKERING
Yes, they are saying they cannot adhere any longer
to the compact of 1778 with the United States.

WASHINGTON
Their privateers capturing the ship Mount Vernon
demonstrated that with a vengeance.

PICKERING
They believe the Jay Treaty contradicts our old treaty.

WASHINGTON
I have written to Hamilton,
asking him to consult with Jay about this
and write back as soon as possible.

PICKERING
I think we should reply immediately
and in the same medium, the public press.

WASHINGTON
What would you say?

PICKERING
An article in our pact with France
declares that "free ships make free goods,"
that reciprocity at different times may advantage
one or the other of the contracting parties.
Great Britain under the law of nations
can apply the definition of contraband.
But the United States, being at peace,
still has the right of
carrying foods to France's enemies
without subjecting them to capture.

WASHINGTON
And now France is expecting us
to give up that right?

PICKERING
Precisely, because now it is to their disadvantage.
Adet also complains that we have not responded
to certain of their remonstrances;
but some have been officially discussed already,
and others are too offensive
to deserve acknowledging.

WASHINGTON
Draft a letter and then let me see it.

PICKERING
Very good, sir.

INT. MORRIS HOUSE DRAWING ROOM - DAY

Washington is talking with MRS. POWEL, while other guests chat at the weekly levee.

MRS. POWEL
So Mr. Hamilton did not like seeing the letter
of your Secretary of State in the gazettes?

WASHINGTON
He thinks Congress is a fitter channel.

MRS. POWEL
I suppose he has a point.
How did he advise you to receive the envoy Adet?

WASHINGTON
With a dignified reserve holding an exact medium
between an offensive coldness and cordiality.

MRS. POWEL
I am sure you could manage that well, Mr. President.

WASHINGTON
That's what he wrote---
that no one could do it better.
It was also a great disappointment
to see the letter to me from Thomas Paine
printed widely in the newspapers.

MRS. POWEL
Yes, I saw that just recently.
He really felt betrayed by you and Robert Morris,
since you were not able to get him out of prison.

WASHINGTON
He had joined the Girondist Government in France
but was still trying to claim
United States citizenship.
I could not even help
my dearest friend Lafayette then.

MRS. POWEL
But Ambassador Monroe was able to get him out
and let him live in his house for several months.

WASHINGTON
Don't talk to me about Mr. Monroe.
He has been relieved for being too pro-French.
The man was making his own foreign policy.

MRS. POWEL
You have had a difficult time the last few years
balancing the French and English factions,
but you have kept us out of their war.

WASHINGTON.
I thank providence
that peace has been maintained.
I am so looking forward
to retiring to Mount Vernon.

MRS. POWEL
What they are now calling your Farewell Address,
which has been published in many newspapers,
will be long remembered for its sound advice.
You have shown the value of neutrality
and of avoiding entangling alliances
that could draw us into European wars.
I agree with you that we need
friendship and commerce with all nations.
I especially like your ideas on the importance of
virtue and morality in government, national unity,
following the Constitution and the rule of law.
I think that your retiring from office before dying
will set a good example that this is not a monarchy
but a republic in which we elect our leaders.

INT. CHAMBER OF THE HOUSE - NOON

Washington, dressed in a black suit and a military hat with a black cockade, enters the chamber filled with both Representatives and Senators, who stand up to applaud him. He is followed by Jefferson and John Adams, dressed in a pearl-colored suit with a sword and cockade; they are also warmly applauded. Adams sits in the Speaker's chair on the dais with Jefferson and Washington on his right.

DISSOLVE TO:

President Adams is making his inaugural address.

ADAMS
Such is the amiable and interesting
system of government
which the people of America have exhibited
to the admiration and anxiety
of the wise and virtuous
of all nations for eight years
under the administration of a citizen who,
by a long course of great actions,
regulated by prudence, justice,
temperance, and fortitude,
conducting a people inspired with the same virtues
and animated with the same ardent patriotism
and love of liberty to independence and peace,
to increasing wealth and unexampled prosperity,
has merited the gratitude of his fellow-citizens,
commanded the highest praises of foreign nations,
and secured immortal glory with posterity.

In that retirement which is his voluntary choice
may he long live to enjoy
the delicious recollection of his services,
the gratitude of mankind,
the happy fruits of them to himself and the world,
which are daily increasing,
and that splendid respect of the future fortunes
of this country which is opening from year to year.
His name may be still a rampart,
and the knowledge that he lives a bulwark,
against all open or secret enemies
of his country's peace.
This example has been recommended
to the imitation of his successors
by both Houses of Congress
and by the voice of the legislatures
and the people throughout the nation.

DISSOLVE TO:

President Adams is concluding his inaugural address.

ADAMS (Cont'd.)
With this great example before me,
with the sense and spirit,
the faith and honor,
the duty and interest,
of the same American people
pledged to support
the Constitution of the United States,
I entertain no doubt of its continuance
in all its energy,
and my mind is prepared without hesitation
to lay myself under the most solemn obligations
to support it to the utmost of my power.

And may that Being who is supreme over all,
the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice,
and the Protector in all ages of virtuous liberty,
continue His blessing upon this nation
and its Government
and give it all possible success and duration
consistent with the ends of His providence.

Adams steps forward, and the Chief Justice, Oliver Ellsworth, stands up to administer the oath of office.

ELLSWORTH
Do you solemnly swear
that you will faithfully execute
the office of President of the United States,
and will, to the best of your ability,
preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States?

ADAMS
I solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute
the office of President of the United States,
and will, to the best of my ability,
preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States.
So help me God!

Adams bows and walks out, as the audience applauds. Washington nods to Jefferson, indicating that he should follow next, but Jefferson declines. Washington motions again with his arm, and this time Jefferson reluctantly obeys and is followed by Washington. As Washington is walking out, the crowd rushes about him.

EXT. MOUNT VERNON - DAY

Secretary of War James McHenry gets out of Washington's carriage and approaches the front door.

INT. MOUNT VERNON DRAWING ROOM - DAY

Washington is looking over two letters, as he confers with McHenry.

MCHENRY
As you know,
the danger of war with France
has increased to the point
where President Adams
must take certain steps
toward military preparation.

WASHINGTON
Yes, given the circumstances
and the national emergency
I would be willing to serve again as General.
I see in this letter that Alexander Hamilton
is urging me to accept this appointment.

MCHENRY
We are all counting on you, sir.

WASHINGTON
You can say yes,
as long as the President understands
that I am not to be called to active duty
until the Army requires my presence in the field.
Of course I will be working on organizing the forces,
and I need the prerogative of appointing
the principle officers in the line
and a staff that I can place confidence in.

MCHENRY
Who do you have in mind, sir?

WASHINGTON
I believe Hamilton is the best man I can find;
but since the war could begin in the South
I think General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
should perhaps have the top position.
Henry Knox could also be a Major General.

MCHENRY
We will have to consult with the President on these.

WASHINGTON
This is a condition of my serving.

MCHENRY
Yes, sir.

EXT. MOUNT VERNON STABLES - SNOWY DAY

Washington returns from his daily ride amid the snow and rain.

INT. MOUNT VERNON OFFICE - SNOWY DAY

Tobias Lear comes in to greet Washington with some letters to be franked.

LEAR
Sir, these letters are ready to be franked and sent.

WASHINGTON
Thank you, Tobias;
but the weather is too miserable
to send a servant
to the post office with them today.

LEAR
General, there is snow on your hair,
and you are wet.
Are you sure that you are warm enough?

WASHINGTON
Yes, my greatcoat kept me dry.
I will go into dinner now.

INT. MOUNT VERNON DRAWING ROOM - NIGHT

Washington and Martha are saying goodnight to Tobias Lear.

MARTHA
Goodnight, Tobias.

LEAR
Goodnight, Martha.
I'll see you in the morning.
Sir, perhaps you should take something
for that cold and sore throat.

WASHINGTON (Coughing)
No.
You know I never take anything for a cold.
Let it go as it came.

INT. MOUNT VERNON BEDROOM - NIGHT

Washington is coughing and feverish, as he wakes up Martha in bed. He can hardly speak.

WASHINGTON
Martha, dear, wake up.
I am suffering an ague and feel very bad.

MARTHA
Dear, you can hardly talk or breathe.
I will summon a servant.

She begins to get out of bed, but Washington stops her.

WASHINGTON
No, you might catch cold yourself.

Martha reluctantly stays in bed, but tries to comfort her husband.

INT. MOUNT VERNON BEDROOM - DAWN

The housemaid CAROLINE comes in to light the fire. Martha is already awake and greatly worried.

MARTHA
Caroline, call Tobias at once
to send for a doctor.
Also get the overseer Rawlins here right away.
The General wants to be bled
before the doctor gets here.

CAROLINE
Yes, ma'am.

DISSOLVE TO:

RAWLINS is cutting an incision in Washington's arm over a bowl to catch the blood, as Martha and Lear watch.

WASHINGTON
Don't be afraid.
The orifice is not large enough.

MARTHA
Dear, I think this may be
more harmful than beneficial.
Can't we stop the bleeding now?

Lear starts to put a cloth on the bleeding arm, but Washington prevents him and then barely manages to say one word.

WASHINGTON
More.

DISSOLVE TO:

Washington is being bled again, this time by DOCTOR JAMES CRAIK.

INT. MOUNT VERNON DRAWING ROOM - DAY

Dr. Craik is consulting with DOCTOR DICK and DOCTOR BROWN.

DICK
Bleeding may help patients sometimes,
but with the elderly I question it.
He needs all his strength.
Bleeding will diminish it.

CRAIK
He is not getting faint.

BROWN
Let us do one more bleeding.
His throat is blocked up.

CRAIK
So be it, one more time.

INT. MOUNT VERNON BEDROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

Laying in bed, Washington hands two wills to Martha.

WASHINGTON
Dear, this will is outdated by this one.
Please burn it at once.

MARTHA
Yes, dear.

Martha goes out.

WASHINGTON
Tobias, come here.

LEAR
Yes, General.

Lear is holding the hand of Washington at his bedside.

WASHINGTON
I find I am going;
my breath cannot continue long.
I believed from the first attack it would be fatal.
Do you arrange and record
all my late military letters and papers.
Arrange my accounts and settle my books,
as you know more about them than anyone else,
and let Mr. Rawlins finish recording my other letters.

LEAR
I will see to it.

DISSOLVE TO:

Doctors Craik, Dick and Brown are looking in on Washington.

CRAIK
Sir, would you like to sit up in bed?

Washington holds out his hand to Lear, and they help to raise him up into a sitting position in his bed.

WASHINGTON
I feel myself going.
I thank you for your attention.
You had better not take
any more trouble about me;
but let me go off quietly;
I cannot last long.

DISSOLVE TO:

Washington is once again laying flat in bed. Lear is standing next to him, and Martha is at the foot of the bed. Dr. Craik is sitting by the fire, and some servants are gathered at the door. With great difficulty Washington speaks to Lear and Martha.

WASHINGTON (Cont'd.)
I am just going.
Have me decently buried,
and do not let my body be put into the vault
in less than two days after I am dead.

Lear nods, but cannot speak.

WASHINGTON (Cont'd.)
Do you understand me?

LEAR
Yes, sir.

WASHINGTON
'Tis well.

Washington takes his hand out of Lear's in order to feel his own pulse. After a moment his hand slips away from his other wrist.

LEAR
Doctor!

Craik quickly steps to the beside, then gently lays his hand over Washington's eyes to close them. For a moment all are silent.

MARTHA
Is he gone?

Lear is too choked to speak, but he gestures that it is so.

MARTHA (Cont'd.)
'Tis well.
All is over now.
I have no more trials to pass through.
I shall soon follow him.

Lear kisses Washington's hand and then lays it down.

INT. CHAMBER OF THE HOUSE - DAY

A joint session of Congress is meeting in mourning, as Richard Henry Lee gives a eulogy.

HENRY LEE
And so we mourn the man who was
first in war, first in peace,
and first in the hearts of his fellow citizens.


--end of the tenth episode in a series on GEORGE WASHINGTON--

Copyright 1996, 2008 by Sanderson Beck

This screenplay has been published in the book GEORGE WASHINGTON: A Dramatic Series. For ordering information, please click here.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

Wilderness Diplomacy
A War Breaks Out
General Braddock's Defeat
Virginia Patriot
Fight for Independence
Maintaining an Army
On to Victory
The Constitution
First President
Second Term

BECK index