Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Levi Lincoln, 15 March 1803

From Levi Lincoln

Washington March 15th 1803


As the accompanying, from their conciseness, will consume but eight, or ten minutes in their perusal; and as it may be useful to see Specimens of the old spirit exhibited on an interesting occasion, in a new shape, by young, & old hands, I take the liberty to forward them. There may be danger of too much heat, of the sacred glow bursting into a flame from the fuel with which it may be fed. In Massachusetts, hitherto, the evil has been the other way—A bold, constant spirited, & well directed exposure of the old, and explanation of the new order of things, will attach the people of that portion of the Union to their Government, & prostrate, by rendering obnoxious, the opposition. I believe the late removals, there, will have a salutary effect—Some of my letters state the measure, as desirable, & expected. All, agree that Government, is to look to its friends, & not to its enemies for support. The former appear to be more for acting, & more awake than they have been. One of, the most animating, and best composed songs, I have ever noticed, on a similar occasion, was made for, & sung at the Worcester celebration. at least, such I think is its character. But you know, Sir, I pretend to neither judgment or taste, but feeling only, in such things—Genl. Dearborn, has taken it, to his Italien musician to obtain an1 appropriate & national tune for it, if possible—It was sung in the tune of J— & Liberty—

A frigate presenting herself, at the mouth of the Eastern branch, is this moment firing her salute, She is probably the one which was expected from the Mediterranian. Coll Burr & Morris have left the city; they remained near a week after Congress adjourned, The former is now at Alexandria, on his way to the Southward. Tracy is still here, or was two days since—Nothing important has occurred since your absence, excepting the dispatches from New Orleans to the Spanish minister, which you will have received before this reaches you—This is as seasonable as it will be mortifying to the war champions—

I am Sir most respectfully your obt Sevt

Levi Lincoln

RC (DLC); at head of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 21 Mch. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) probably the 9 Mch. issue of the Worcester National Aegis, describing Worcester’s daylong celebration of the anniversary of TJ’s inauguration on 4 Mch., beginning at sunrise with a 17-gun salute and tolling of the bells; at noon 200 people proceeded to the South Meeting House escorted by the Worcester Company of Artillery to hear an address by Levi Lincoln, Jr., evincing “a perfect sympathy of feeling, between the Orator and his audience,” followed by the “Patriotic Ode”; dinner in the hall that customarily holds all guests for the 4th of July celebration on this day was not large enough, with the inhabitants of Worcester cheerfully yielding “to the accomodation of their Republican friends from the neighboring towns”; a grand finale brought appropriate toasts, cheers, songs, and gun salutes. (2) Levi Lincoln, Jr., Address: Pronounced at Worcester, (Mass.) March 4th, 1803 (Worcester, 1803; 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. 4526).

interesting occasion: Lincoln informed TJ of preparations for the 4 Mch. celebration at Worcester in his letter to the president of 25 Feb.

William C. White wrote the “Patriotic Ode” for the celebration. Consisting of eight stanzas and a chorus, the second stanza reads:

“Yet louder, louder, strike the string!

And Faction’s envious ear annoy!

‘Tis Monticello’s sage you sing!

Sweep, sweep, the thrilling chords of joy!”

The entire song was printed in the 9 Mch. issue of the Worcester National Aegis. It was sung to the tune of “Jefferson and Liberty.”

The U.S. frigate Constellation arrived at the Washington Navy Yard on 15 Mch. after a 40-day voyage from Gibraltar (Washington Federalist, 16 Mch.; Georgetown Olio, 18 Mch. 1803).

Vice President burr planned to see John Taylor of Caroline on his journey to visit his daughter in South Carolina after the close of the congressional session. On 8 Apr., Burr wrote from Columbia, South Carolina, that he had been away from Washington for three weeks. By the end of May, he was back in New York City (Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 2:764–5, 769, 772–3).

dispatches from new orleans: see Madison to TJ, 10 Mch.

1MS: “&.”

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