Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Harrison, 1 May 1806

Washington May 1st. 1806


I should not so soon again have troubled your Excellency, were it not for some malignant aspersions my Character has received from some quarters, since I arrived in this City—

That I am a Spy under the Influence of the British Cabinet—and my appearing here as Agent for Carvers Heirs, is only a specious Glose.—That the Revd. Dr. Peters is in Collusion with me and for this end he left England, and returned to his Native Country, to watch the Motions of this Government, and transmit the intelligence to the British Court—Whatever his motives may be His Conduct has been diametrically opposite to such aspersions, since I first saw him, at Granville in the Co. of Washington N York, in November last and with whom I have resided almost ever since—For his constant theme has ever been depreciative of the Pittonian System of Politics—and has returned to this Country as the only Asylum for the Advocates of Liberty—

With regard to myself I have nothing to say to extenuate my Guilt—only—I left England in my juvenile years—I voluntarily assisted in different grades of Military Life to resist British Tyrrany, & establish the Independence of the United States—That I fought, & bled, & suffered, and Conquered, under the banner of Massachusetts to purchase American Liberty—That when the Peace of 1783 was established I migrated to Vermont—where I have been mostly retired amongst a Circle of particular Friends—    I yet cherish the sentiments I once espoused from Principle—with the addition of Interest—For I now have Property a Wife & Seven Children to maintain & defend—

I hope our secret Enemies will come from their lurking Holes and shew themselves—

I am confident your Excellency can not form so Base an opinion of me—Being led into my motives for visiting this City previous to any other Person—And to my calumniators I can say with Aristotle—Τὸ ἔαρ μία χελιδὼν οὐ ποιεῖ,—And conclude—that I expect to leave this City on Sunday or Monday next—Yet I shall remain as I now am

with every sentiment of respect Your Excellency’s Friend and Obedient

Saml Harrison

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

Index Entries