Thomas Jefferson Papers

Richard Rush to Thomas Jefferson, 12 August 1813

From Richard Rush

Washington August 12. 1813.

Dear sir.

Since I had the pleasure to receive your letter of the 11th of last month, the two written to my father, mentioned in your favor to me of the 31. of May, have come to light. As was thought possible, they had been put away even with more care than the rest, and on that account were not found as soon as the rest. I lose no time in enclosing them to you, happy in accompanying them with the assurance that they have been exposed to no eyes but our own.

Lest it should not in any other way reach you, I also beg permission to send you a newspaper containing an address from Mr Ingersoll, of the house of representatives, to his constituents. It looks, moreover, so long, and the print is so small, that perhaps it requires a voucher, beforehand, in every case, before it would be taken up to be read. It treats of the foreign influence to which our government is said to have been subject for many years past, and altho, a common topick, I will take the liberty to say that it is here handled in no common way. If ever you look back for a moment upon these things from the loop holes of your retreat, I have ventured to think that this piece of Mr Ingersoll’s will strike you as doing great justice to some portions of our publick history; and it is under the hope that it may possibly serve you as amusement for an hour, I have taken the liberty to send it. The redundance of a mind still young, you will observe in it.

I hope, sir, you keep your health in all things. often have I heard my father express a wish, that you might find leisure and feel the desire, even now in your retirement, still to look to your country; that in addition to all you have already done and written for it, you would yet favor it with something more, some work upon its past history, or peculiar interests, to be made the medium of the further treasures of your knowledge, and the still riper reflections of your wisdom. But I forbear to say more, asking pardon for thus much of encroachment, and begging permission to offer you the assurances of my great devotion and respect.

Richard Rush.

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Ths: Jefferson Esq.”; endorsed by TJ as received 18 Aug. 1813 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) TJ to Benjamin Rush, 21 Apr. 1803. (2) TJ’s “Syllabus of an Estimate of the doctrines of Jesus, compared with those of others,” [ca. 21 Apr. 1803] (nos. 1–2 in DLC: TJ Papers, 131:22617–8, and elsewhere; published in EG description begins Dickinson W. Adams and Ruth W. Lester, eds., Jefferson’s Extracts from the Gospels, 1983, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 331–6). (3) TJ to Benjamin Rush, 23 Apr. 1803 (DLC). (4) TJ to Benjamin Rush, 16 Jan. 1811.

The enclosed address of Charles Jared Ingersoll to his Pennsylvania constituents, dated Washington, D.C., 27 July 1813, asks whether “a perverse French influence over the constituted authorities of the U. States” exists; admits that many viewed France positively because of its assistance to the American side during the Revolutionary War and the liberal ideas it espoused during the early days of the French Revolution, but stresses that the United States had even stronger linguistic, literary, legal, social, and commercial ties to Great Britain; argues that the contentious relationship between the United States and Britain grew, in large part, out of the attitudes expressed and policies pursued by the latter: the widespread contempt for American manners, accomplishments, and political principles, the illegal retention of the frontier posts, the seizure of American ships and impressment of its mariners on the high seas and, since the outbreak of war, the atrocities committed by the British army and its Indian auxiliaries; emphasizes that America’s independence from French influence is best demonstrated by the removal at American insistence of the French minister plenipotentiary Edmond Charles Genet in 1793, TJ’s reluctance to push for war at the time of the Chesapeake affair, the fact that the Embargo and Non-Intercourse acts were directed equally against both France and Great Britain, and longstanding American antipathy toward the despotic, expansionistic political system of Napoleon Bonaparte; and hails the conflict with Britain as moral, justified, and necessary if the United States is ever to be respected by that power as an equal member of the family of nations (Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 30, 31 July 1813, and elsewhere).

Index Entries

  • Chesapeake, USS (frigate); incident (1807) search
  • Embargo Act (1807); mentioned search
  • Genet, Edmond Charles; recall of search
  • Great Britain; retention of frontier posts by search
  • history; TJ asked to write search
  • impressment; of American seamen search
  • Ingersoll, Charles Jared; address to constituents of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; return of confidential letters to search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; criticized search
  • Non-Intercourse Act; mentioned search
  • Rush, Benjamin; desires TJ to write history search
  • Rush, Benjamin; TJ’s confidential letters to search
  • Rush, Richard; and TJ’s confidential letters to B. Rush search
  • Rush, Richard; letters from search
  • Rush, Richard; sends work to TJ search
  • United States; ties of to Great Britain search
  • War of1812; support for search