Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Moody, 13 June 1797

To John Moody

Philadelphia June 13 97


I might sooner have acknoleged the receipt of your favor of May 15. but I could not sooner have done it with any thing satisfactory on the subject it concerned. The first [offering?] of the session of Congress was rather [inau]spicious to those who consider war as among the greatest calamities to our country. Private conversation, public discussion, and thorough calculation, aided by the events of Europe, have nearly brought every one to the same sentiment, not only to wish for a continuance of peace, but to let no false sense of honor lead us to take a threatening attitude, which to a nation prompt in it’s passions [and] flushed with victory might produce a blow from them. I rather believe that Congress will think it best to do little or nothing for the present to give fair play to the negociation proposed, and in the mean time lie on their oars till their next meeting in November. Still however both English and French spoliations continue in a high degree. Perhaps the prospects in Europe may deaden the [activity] of the former, and call home all their resources, but I see nothing to check the depredations of the French but the natural effect they begin to produce of starving themselves by deterring us from venturing to sea with provisions. This is the best general view I am able to give you of the probable course of things for the summer so far as they may be interesting to commerce.—The liberties which the presses take in mutilating whatever they can get hold of, obliges me to request every gentleman to whom I write to take care that nothing from me may be put within their power. I am Sir Your very humble servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); badly faded; at foot of text: “Mr. John Moody Richmd.”

John Moody (1746–1826), a Richmond merchant with the firm of Moody & Price in the late 1790s, was a Revolutionary War veteran with Republican sympathies. He unsuccessfully sought several patronage positions including that of Richmond postmaster in 1802 and a diplomatic post during the last months of the Monroe administration (Moody to TJ, 1 Dec. 1824 and 31 Jan. 1825; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , ii, 989; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962– , 26 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 4 vols. description ends , xvii, 198–9n; Madison, Papers: Sec. of State Ser., ii, 450; VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893- description ends , xxxv [1927], 448; Richmond Enquirer, 3 Oct. 1826).

Moody’s favor of 15 May 1797, recorded in SJL as received five days later, has not been found. Letters from Moody to TJ of 31 Aug. 1796, 31 Dec. 1797, and 26 Jan. 1799, recorded in SJL as received 3 Sep. 1796, 9 Jan. 1798, and 3 Feb. 1799, respectively, are also missing. SJL also records a letter from TJ to Moody & Price, 21 Jan. 1797, which has not been found.

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