Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Columbia, South Carolina, Citizens, 6 March 1801

From Columbia, South Carolina, Citizens

Columbia South Carolina 6th. March 1801


We rejoice in common, with the rest of our republican fellow Citizens, that the Clouds which lately overshadowed our Country, are happily dispelled, and our political horison again exhibits a serene aspect, in consequence of your accession to the Presidential Chair—It is with difficulty that we can refrain from expressing our indignation, at the nefarious efforts, which have been made, to defeat your election, and destroy the ardent hopes of a free and enlightned People.

Never was there a more alarming and dangrous combination concerted to subvert a Constitution dictated by the Wisdom and resting on the will of the people, and to involve a beloved Country in all the horrors of civil discord;—but thanks to the Almighty disposer of events, the Scene is changed, and our Prospects are brightned

Relying Sir, on the wisdom, virtue and disinterestedness, which have invariably characterized your public conduct, we now look forward, with the pleasing expectation that the national Constitution, the boast of our Country, will be preserved inviolate—that the malignant spirit of faction, which has long convulsed the United States, will be completely extinguished and that peace safety and concord, will revisit our native Land, and be long enjoyed by a people zealously engaged, in the Pursuit of blessings so essential to the happiness of mankind—

That the Supreme Ruler of the Universe may long preserve you as a blessing to our Country, and direct you in the discharge of the momentous duties of your office, is Sir, our unfeigned and unanimous wish—

Signed by Order of the Meeting

Bn: Waring Chairman
C. Clarke
Secretary to the Meeting

RC (DLC); in an unidentified hand, signed by Waring and Clarke; at foot of text: “To Thomas Jefferson President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as a letter from Waring received 20 Mch. and so recorded in SJL with notation “for a no. of cit. of Columbia & it’s vicinity S.C.” Enclosure: Minutes of a 4 Mch. meeting of citizens of Columbia and its vicinity, which chose committees to prepare congratulatory addresses to TJ and Aaron Burr and reconvened the following day at the State House to report and direct Waring as chairman to sign and forward the addresses on behalf of the meeting (MS in same; in Clarke’s hand, signed by Waring and Clarke; endorsed by TJ).


Benjamin Waring (1741–1811), a leading citizen of Columbia, was a planter who also operated a cottonseed oil mill, tanyard, and paper mill. During the Revolutionary War he served as a captain in Francis Marion’s brigade. He also sat in the state senate from 1787 to 1788 (S. C. Biographical Directory, Senate, 3:1677–8; John Hammond Moore, Columbia and Richland County: A South Carolina Community, 1740–1990 [Columbia, 1993], 72). Caleb Clarke (1777–1849) was a native of Maryland who came to South Carolina around 1800. He studied law in Charleston and Columbia, was admitted to the bar in 1805, and then practiced law in the town of Winnsboro and Lancaster and Chester districts. He represented Fairfield District in the General Assembly from 1810 to 1813 and served as a solicitor of the Court of General Sessions and Common Pleas from 1815 to 1824 (S.C. Biographical Directory, House of Representatives description begins J. S. R Faunt, Walter B. Edgar, N. Louise Bailey, and others, eds., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, Columbia, S.C., 1974–92 , 5 vols. description ends , 4:116–17).

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