“What infuriated Hamilton about Jefferson was not his political principles but the real or perceived personal injuries Jefferson had inflicted on Hamilton’s career and reputation; and his judgment that Jefferson was a ‘contemptible hypocrite’ who disguised his own great, though legitimate, political ambitions. Furthermore, the rhythm and timing of the conflicts between the two men was not synchronized. For Jefferson, the greater the issue at stake, the more he feared and suspected Hamilton; Hamilton’s central public policies (funding, assumption, the Bank) were, from Jefferson’s perspective, the proof of his subversive intent. In contrast, Hamilton’s view of Jefferson was most balance and detached when great public issues were at stake, such as policy toward France in 1793 and the 1801 crisis over the Jefferson-Burr election standoff; it was most jaundiced and vitriolic when there was least at stake publicly (e.g., Jefferson’s employment of Philip Freneau as a translator for the State Department).
Hamilton had strong principled disagreements with Jefferson - over constitutional interpretation, international law and treaty obligations, the proper role of government, to name a few. But at least from Hamilton’s side, it was not these marked differences of political outlook that drove the battle with Jefferson. It was rather Hamilton’s perception of Jefferson’s devious and mischievous character and what he had done to harm Hamilton personally, that got Hamilton’s blood boiling. But because Jefferson’s chief offenses (in Hamilton’s view) were personal, Hamilton could play the part of the man who magnanimously puts aside personal considerations in the interest of the public, as in the 1801 election crisis.”
- James Read, 'Alexander Hamilton’s View of Thomas Jefferson’s Ideology and Character’
This goes back to the difference in how TJ and Hammie in general viewed each other: Jefferson thought Hamilton was evil; Hamilton thought Jefferson was a jerk.
-Do you think… do you think they will recognize me… after all these years? -Who, my dearest dear? -Up there… little Johnny. And little Jane. And little Lucy… will they? -Of course they will. And even if they don’t, you will recognize them.
. this is what i do at work instead of doing my job. and i don’t want to add colors, too lazy ;D so i post the skecth | DevARt
Mrs. Washington appears much older than when I saw her last at Philadelphia, but her countenance very little wrinkled and remarkably fair for a person of her years. She conversed with great ease and familiarity, and appeared as much rejoiced at receiving our visit as if we had been of her nearest connections….We were all Federalists, which evidently gave her particular pleasure. Her remarks were frequently pointed, and sometimes very sarcastic, on the new order of things and the present administration. She spoke of the election of Mr. Jefferson, whom she considered as one of the most detestable of mankind, as the greatest misfortune our country had ever experienced. Her unfriendly feelings toward him were naturally to be expected, from the abuse he has offered to General Washington, while living, and to his memory since his decease.
Manessah Cutler, Life, Journals and Correspondence
Apparently TJ for political reasons had also visited Mount Vernon in 1802, which Martha, according to John Cotton Smith, described as “next to the loss of her husband, it was the most painful occurrence of her life.”
“It was crucial for Jefferson’s conspiratorial version of history to claim that Washington himself was oblivious to the plot. This was not easy to do, since Washington was the unquestioned leader of the Federalists and the alleged candidate for coronation by all the other members of the cabinet. Jefferson’s solution was to suggest that Washington was unaware of much that was going on around him. His image of Washington had never been all reverence and flattery. ‘His mind was great and power,’ Jefferson observed, 'without being of the very first order.’; his conversational talents 'were not above mediocrity,’ and in many public situations, 'when called for a sudden opinion, he was unready, short, and embarrassed.’ He was, in effect, more a man of action than deep understanding; that made him susceptible to clever and crafty intriguers like Hamilton.
Jefferson also devoted a substantial portion of his secret history to providing an account of his many private meetings with Washington, in all of which the latter showed himself to be in complete agreement with Jefferson about the need to establish 'pure republicanism.’ Even those infamous presidential levees, where Washington supposedly held court like an American king, were misleading. Washington’s private secretary had told the attorney general, who had told Madison, who then told Jefferson, that Washington despised the royal trappings of these occasions. No matter what Marshall’s official and officious biography said, Washington’s deepest sentiments agreed completely with Jefferson’s.”
Joseph Ellis, American Sphinx
Jefferson wasn’t the first one to basically call Washington a senile old man being led around by the nose by Hamilton (ignoring that Washington was an adult who can make his own decisions), but his revisionist interpretation is by far the most entertaining.
“Virginians owed at least £2.3 million to British merchants, nearly half the total owed by all the American colonies. In May 1774, Jefferson and Patrick Henry had proposed suspending payments of such debts….For the colonists, the decision to revolt was not solely economic, but it was surely informed by concerns over money. In Virginia the impetus to rebel came from the propertied elements of society; the middle and lower classes were slower to follow the lead of men such as Jefferson. It was a rich man’s revolution, and Jefferson was a rich man. It was a philosophical revolution, and Jefferson was a philosophical man.
The intersection of economic and ideological forces created a climate in which well-off, educated Virginians saw a clearer, more compelling, and more attractive future if they could successfully separate themselves from London.”
The background to this is that in 1819, a document surfaced in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, claiming to have been written in 1775 that contained language very similar to the Declaration of Independence. It caused people to question whether Jefferson had actually written the Declaration of whether he had copied what he read from the Mecklenburg Resolves. It’s almost universally agreed upon today that the documents from Mecklenburg are a forgery, and at the time Jefferson tried to reassure Adams.
“But who can be the Demon to invent such a machine after five and forty years, and what could be his motive? Was it to bring a charge of Plagiarism against the Congress in 76, or against you, the undoubted, acknowledged draughtsman of the Declaration of Independence? Or could it be the mere vanity of producing a jeu d'esprit, to set the world a gasp and afford a topic of Conversation in this piping time of Peace?”
- John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, July 21, 1819
“Either these resolutions are a plagiarism from Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, or Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence is a plagiarism from those resolutions. I could as soon believe that the dozen flowers of the Hydrangea, now before my eyes, were the work of chance, as that the Mecklenburg resolutions and Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration were not derived the one from the other.”
- John Adams to William Bentley, August 21, 1819
To be fair, though he was certainly motivated by vanity, Adams was less insistent on believing Jefferson was a plagiarist than he was disturbed that people connected the whole Revolution to Jefferson and his Declaration, at the expense of everyone else.