Thomas Jefferson Papers

Address of Welcome from the Mayor of Alexandria, [11] March 1790

Address of Welcome from the Mayor of Alexandria

Alexandria the March 1790


You have returned to your native Country. Permit us the inhabitants of Alexandria to join with the rest of our fellow citizens in the warmest congratulations to you on that happy event. As a commercial town, we feel ourselves particularly indebted to you for the indulgencies which your enlightened representations to the Court of France have secured to our trade. You have freed commerce from its shackles, and destroyed the first essay made in this Country towards establishing a Monopoly. But we assure you that these events, though more recent, are not more deeply impressed on our minds, than the whole tenor of your conduct when we were struggling in the sacred cause of freedom. A sense of the benefits we have already derived from your talents and virtue, in the various offices you have filled, induces us to entertain the most auspicious hopes from your arrival at this crisis; when a constitution newly adopted, and which is to decide the fate of republican forms of Government, is commencing its operations; and when subjects of the highest importance to the Union must necessarily be discussed. That you, Sir, in every walk of life may meet with the reward of your meritorious services and fulfill the high expectations of a free and republican people is our sincere wish.

In behalf of the Citizens of Alexandria Will. Hunter, Jr. Mayor

RC (MHi); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Hunter; endorsed by TJ: “Hunter Will. Mayor of Alexandria Mar. 11” recorded in SJL under that date. Text printed in Gazette of the United States, 27 Mch. 1790.

The significant reference to TJ’s having destroyed the first essay … towards … a monopoly is an allusion to his attack on the contract awarded Robert Morris by the farmers-general for supplying tobacco (see, for example, TJ to Jay, 27 May 1786; Calonne to TJ, 22 Oct. 1786; TJ to Jay, 23 Oct. 1786). Among the subjects of the highest importance to the union for which the citizens of Alexandria entertained the most auspicious hopes was that of having the national capital located on the Potomac, a question in which TJ would soon become deeply involved. No text of the patriotic toasts that were given on this occasion has been found, but it is plausible to assume that either in the list or in the conversations of this “day … spent in the most agreeable manner” (see TJ’s response, note) some allusion to the Residence Question was made.

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