Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 20 March 1801

To Albert Gallatin

Mar. 20. 1801.

The inclosed, tho’ false and frivolous, yet requires to be answered with care. the other side of the medal requires to be shewn. we may safely admit there are talents of a certain kind on the other side; because all the talents which were venal have been bought up by the administration. Smith has refused. an offer is made to Jones. Duval has also refused & an offer is made to Kelty. health, respect & sincere attachment. I add no signature because unnecessary.

RC (NHi: Gallatin Papers); addressed: “Albert Gallatin esquire New Geneva”; franked; postmarked 21 Mch. Not recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Robert G. Harper to Constituents, 5 Mch. 1801 (printed on four folio pages in same; at foot of text in Harper’s hand: “NB. I have omitted to mention that the federalists begat all the Children!”).


Requires to be answered: the circular by Robert G. Harper was a farewell address to his constituents. It was widely reprinted in pamphlet form (see A Letter from Robert Goodloe Harper, of South Carolina, to His Constituents [Providence, 1801]; Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819, New York, 1958–63, 22 vols. description ends , No. 614). Harper reviewed the accomplishments of the Federalists in foreign and domestic policy from the establishment of the federal government in 1789 to the transfer of power in 1801, at which time the Republicans inherited “peace abroad; order and a well established government at home; a national character exalted; public credit firmly established; a respectable and increasing navy; a decreasing debt; a prosperous agriculture; a flourishing commerce; an augmenting revenue not felt by the people; and a balance in the treasury to the amount of two millions and a half of dollars.” All the Republicans had to do was “preserve things in their present state” (Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., ed., Circular Letters of Congressmen to Their Constituents, 1789–1829, 3 vols. [Chapel Hill, 1978], 1:247–65).

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