To St. George Tucker
Washington June 3. 1801
Your favor of May 25. came safely to hand. I ought not to be surprised at any shape which calumny can assume. yet I confess I was at the one mentioned by you to be in circulation. I thought my age, & ordinary demeanor would have prevented any suggestions in that form, from the improbability of their obtaining belief. the persons alluded to, staid1 a few days, till they could procure & furnish a house, wherein they have now been living for some time. I believe all the persons concerned are too conscious of innocence to feel the slander.
I was in hopes that, being so near as in Alexandria, your curiosity would have brought you to this place. it is really a pleasant country residence, with an excellent society & quite enough of it. it is in the stile of a good country neighborhood. they are building very rapidly, & certain measures we have been able to adopt, are likely to give a confidence very friendly to the growth of the place.
Accept assurances of my perfect esteem & respect.
RC (Freeman/Fine Arts of Philadelphia, Inc., Philadelphia, 1993). PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Judge Tucker”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.
St. George Tucker’s favor of 25 May, recorded in SJL as received 27 May from Dumfries, has not been found.
Rumors about TJ hosting boarders at the President’s House at public expense were in circulation in newspapers. The Columbian Centinel of 23 May, in response to an announcement in the Aurora about the Madisons’ lodging with Jefferson, queried, “Does the President of the United States keep lodgers? Or is it the intention of the Secretary of State to spunge the United States out of house rent?” The Alexandria Advertiser and Commercial Intelligencer of 25 May, which Tucker may have read, also ran a piece addressed to Benjamin Russell, printer of the Columbian Centinel, indicating that “Mr. Gallatin, and Mr. Madison are going to live with the president, and give him great rent, for they say they don’t care how much they give, as long as it goes to the public; and the president will give it to the public, and all his kinglike salary, only enough to keep things decent and comfortable, and something to get a good Christmas dinner, which would not cost much.”
1. TJ here canceled “with me.”