Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to the Citizens of Richmond, 22 October 1809

To the Citizens of Richmond


The expressions of esteem & approbation with which I am a[ddressed, by the] meeting of the citizens of Richmond, through yourself as their org[an, and] the testimonies of respect with which they have been pleased to [welcome] my visit to the metropolis of my native state, are highly flat[tering to me,] and I pray you to convey to them, & to accept for yourself, the [assurances] of my great thankfulness.

I am sensible of the indulgence with which they have [reviewed] the various acts of duty to our country which have been made incumb[ent on me,] in the course of it’s long struggles to recover & to establish it’s ri[ghts and] liberties. the object of these struggles was of a character to comm[and every] effort which the love of our country, or the sense of it’s wrongs co[uld] inspire. I claim no other merit than that of having, with my bes[t en]deavors contributed, together with my fellow citizens at large, to th[e es]tablishment of those rights, without which man is a degraded being. and I am happy in meeting here those who have been fellow laborer[s] in the same holy cause, & who have marked their way, through all the trying scenes of our contest, by a steadfastness of purpose & of principle superior to all events.

should the injustice of nations still destine us to further trial, my own confidence in the well-proved spirit and virtue of my fellow citizens, in their readiness to make every sacrifice for the rights and honor of our country, confirms your assurances that they will, [wi]thout dismay, breast the storm which hovers over us & prove that [we ar]e able to maintain what we have been able to acquire.

Under circumstances like these it is indeed a great con[solation,] that the enlightened choice of our country has confided i[t’s high]est trusts to a citizen so distinguished by his valuable se[rvices,] whose exact impartiality towards foreign nations, whose [dispo]sition to meet them on terms of reciprocity & friendship, & [firmness] in resenting their oppressions, are a pledge to his country[, that no] wrong will be offered, and no right surrendered, to any [power] whatever.

I am particularly thankful, Sir, for the interest [which my] fellow citizens are so good as to feel & to express, in the tranq[uility] & happiness of the remaining scenes of my life. nothing will [contri]bute more to this than the possession of their good will: and [to] those for their personal welfare, I add my sincere prayers for [a con]tinuance of that prosperity so visible in the growth and aspec[t] of the city of Richmond, and so confidently to be augured from the enterprize of it’s citizens, and the advantages it has recie[v]ed from the hands of nature.

Th: Jefferson

SC (DLC); edges torn and frayed, with gaps supplied from version printed in Richmond Enquirer, 24 Oct. 1809. At foot of text in Enquirer: “Dr. William Foushee.” Recorded in SJL as “Richmond citizens. Answer.”

Index Entries

  • Enquirer (Richmond newspaper); prints TJ’s correspondence search
  • Foushee, William; chairs meeting of Richmond citizens search
  • Foushee, William; letters to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Addresses to; Citizens of Richmond search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Richmond search
  • Richmond, Va.; TJ addresses citizens of search