From Abel Janney
Alexandria March 14th. 1801.
Desirous to pay you every mark of respect due to the first Majestrate. of a happy free and Independant Nation, I have taken the liberty to march the Alexandria Rifle Company out to welcome you to Our Town, with a Sincere Satisfaction in the choice of our Fellow citizens. I thought it necessary to inform you of the reason of our not uniting With the Regiment on this Occasion, which will be under Arms for your Reception, it is in consequence of a Dispute of the right of Precedency which has arisen between the Compy I had the Honor to command, and on this particular Occasion take the Command of. (for the purpose above Recited) and the Light infantry. both attatched to the same Regt. I have From the little sirvice I had seen during the Revolutionary War, considered that Rifle Men were alway posted on the right And left of Regiments in Review. which post has been Denied me I have therefore considered it as an unprecedented Partiality in Our Colo. and cannot Consent To unite with the Regt., if Posted on the left. if I am under an Error of opinion of Military etiquaty You will pardon my error in Judgment and Accept These small marks of Respect we wish to make you A tender of
With due Respect I am Sir your Obedt. Hble. Sevt.
RC (DLC); at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 15 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.
Abel Janney (ca. 1755–1812) was an Alexandria merchant and member of the firm Janney & Paton, which went bankrupt in 1806. Janney was appointed tax collector by the Alexandria common council in 1808, a position he held until late 1811 when the corporation brought suit against him and his securities “for the balance due by his account” (Miller, Alexandria Artisans description begins T. Michael Miller, comp., Artisans and Merchants of Alexandria, Virginia, 1780–1820, Bowie, Md., 1991–92, 2 vols. description ends , l:xxix, 234; Alexandria Daily Gazette, Commercial & Political, 28 July, 1 Aug. 1810, 1 Mch., 7 Nov. 1811, 14 Apr. 1812).
Alexandria rifle company: when TJ and his suite journeyed to the public dinner held in his honor in Alexandria on 14 Mch., Janney’s company of riflemen met them at the northern boundary of the city. The remainder of the militia, commanded by Colonel George Deneale, and an artillery company were drawn up on King Street, where they honored the president with a 16-gun salute (Alexandria Times, 16 Mch. 1801; Alexandria Advertiser and Commercial Intelligencer, 16 Mch. 1801). Janney was dismissed from the 106th militia regiment in 1802 after a trial (Miller, Alexandria Artisans description begins T. Michael Miller, comp., Artisans and Merchants of Alexandria, Virginia, 1780–1820, Bowie, Md., 1991–92, 2 vols. description ends , 1:234).