Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Law to Thomas Jefferson, 22 December 1810

From Thomas Law

Washington Decr 22. 1810


Having been shewn a Paragraph in the Federal republican—Headed

An authentic anecdote

I thought it incumbent upon me, to write the enclosed to Mr Wagner, and to desire him to insert it in his paper— as he did not reply, I sent another Copy to Mr Barry, hoping that Mr Wagner would have more pleasure in inserting the antedote than the bane, I also desired Mr Barry if he refused; to send it to another paper, which he has not done, thinking that a man in a white coat can only suffer by a contest with a chimney sweep—Mr Wagners reply accompanies this—

I hope that this correspondence, evinces that

I am with Sincere esteem Yr mt Obt St

Thos Law

I did myself the pleasure of forwarding to you my Pamphlet on Instinctive impulses

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 30 Dec. 1810 and so recorded in SJL.

The authentic anecdote stated that “The Hierophant of the French party, Mr. Jefferson, no sooner learned that Mr. Fox was minister, than he cast about how he might trick him. Mr. Law was chosen for this purpose, and willingly, or unknowlingly [unknowingly], became the instrument of the experiment. In a letter to his brother, lord Ellenborough, he spoke of Mr. Jefferson’s anxious wish to be on the best terms with England; of his admiration of the great talents of Mr. Fox; and that it was only necessary to a settlement of all differences, that a man of his enlightened views should be at the head of affairs, to bring about this desirable event.— This letter as was intended, being communicated, Mr. Fox observed, ‘Poh! Poh! he’s a paltry fellow, I don’t believe a word he says.

This anecdote does not rest on the credibility of a certain senator of the United States, but upon a gentleman of veracity, nearly allied to him” (Baltimore Federal Republican & Commercial Gazette, 5 Dec. 1810).

Index Entries

  • Barry, Mr.; and newspaper anecdote search
  • Fox, Charles James; alleged remarks on TJ search
  • Fox, Charles James; TJ on search
  • Law, Edward, 1st Earl of Ellenborough; and alleged remarks on TJ by C. J. Fox search
  • Law, Edward, 1st Earl of Ellenborough; family of search
  • Law, Thomas; letters from search
  • Law, Thomas; Thoughts on Instinctive Impulses search
  • Thoughts on Instinctive Impulses (T. Law) search