12 December 1806
The Republicans of the County of Columbia actuated by a lively sense of the inestimable blessings derived to the United States under the auspices of your Administration, and solicitous of preserving to our Countrey the benefits resulting from your sagacity and experience, have perceived with sincere regret, the intimation of your wish to decline another Election to the important station you now hold, We are not unconscious of the weight of the principle of rotation in offoice, and the unsalutary precedent of infringing that essential safeguard of the public liberties,—But while we acknowledge the value and correctness of this axiom, we conceive that speculative systems should yield to National interest, and that eminent talents and distinguished patriotism create a paramount obligation on their possessors to an obedience to the Public Will and devotion to the Public good,—Impressed with these Considerations, we have deemed it incumbent on us to express our most hearty and unequivocal approbation of your past Official conduct, and to intreat you to acquiesce with the earnest desires of your Constituents, by refraining from a refusal again to become the object of their choice, and the Candidate for their highest Suffrages,—
Although from the unexampled felicity to which your benign Administration has conducted the afairs of the United States, we have little reason to deprecate the confideing of them to the hands of whomsoever might probably be your successor, Yet the consequence of political union and harmony to the American Republic, during the conflicts which agitate the European World and have so direct an influence on our Countrey, impel us to declare our anxiety that we may survive the dangers of the distant tempest under the guidance of your Wisdom and intelligence; and witness another Presidential Election unembarrassed by the delicacy of a selection between Candidates of rival Merits, and unsullied by a contention between brethren of the same Political faith,—Confident that in these sentiments our voice is in unison with the feelings and views of the great body of your Constituents, and relying on your disinterested readiness to sacrafice Personal considerations to the welfare of your Fellow-Citizens, We can but repeat our hope that you will accede to the general wish, and consent to remain the first in Authority, as you are first in the Respect and Affections of your Countrey.—
By order of the meeting
A true Extract from the Minutes.—
Erastus Pratt Secy.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.