To William C. C. Claiborne
Washington Mar. 7. 1802.
I ask the favor of you to deliver the inclosed letters to the President of the Council & Speaker of the H. of Representatives of the Missisipi territory. they contain answers to the resolutions they were pleased to forward to me. I am gratified by their testimony to the world that I have done right in refusing to continue Governor Sargeant. as to his statement of the conversation between him and myself, the advantage is entirely on his side, because I cannot enter into controversy with an individual. it is certainly very different from what I should have given as the sum of what passed between us. certainly he has1 made me tell him falsehoods which were useless & without an object. the world must judge between us. the error into which I ran was not the saying any thing untrue to him, but the avoiding to speak truths which would have hurt his feelings, which I wished to spare. for this tenderness I have my reward. Accept assurances of my high esteem & consideration.
PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Governor Claiborne.” Enclosures: TJ to the Mississippi Territory General Assembly, 2 Mch. 1802.
Winthrop Sargent’s STATEMENT OF THE CONVERSATION between himself and TJ of 1 June 1801 appeared in his pamphlet, Political Intolerance, or The Violence of Party Spirit. In it, Sargent avowed that TJ had assured him that, in his view, nothing dishonorable had been attached to Sargent’s character, and that he would have “ample opportunity to make his representations” regarding his conduct as governor of Mississippi before an appointment to that office would be made. However, TJ had already appointed Claiborne to the governor’s office on 25 May (Winthrop Sargent, Political Intolerance, or The Violence of Party Spirit; Exemplified in a Recent Removal from Office: With a Comment upon Executive Conduct, and an Ample Refutation of Calumny; in a Sketch of the Services and Sacrifices, of a Dismissed Officer by “One of the American People” [Boston, 1801], 31–2; Vol. 33:671, 675; Vol. 35:501–2).
1. TJ here canceled “put into my mouth.”