Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Bacon, 14 February 1807

Washington Feb. 14. 1807.


I acknowledge, in the first moment it has been in my power, the reciept of your joint letter of Jan. 26. with the Address of the two branches of the legislature of Massachusets, expressing their approbation of the proceedings of our government. this declaration cannot fail to give particular and general satisfaction to our fellow citizens, and to produce wholsome effects at home and abroad. the remarkeable union of sentiment which pervaded nearly the whole of the states and territories composing our nation, was such indeed as to inspire a just confidence in the course we had to pursue. yet something was sensibly wanting to fill up the measure of our happiness, while a member so important, so esteemed as Massachusets had not yet declared it’s participation in the common sentiment. that it is now done, will be a subject of mutual congratulation.

I am sensible that the terms in which you have been pleased to make this communication are not meerly those of official duty. I feel how much I am indebted to the kind & friendly disposition they manifest; and I cherish them as proofs of an esteem highly valued.

Permit me, through you, to return to the two branches of the legislature the inclosed answer; and Accept the assurances of my esteem and high consideration.

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.


Feb. 14. 1807.

It is with sincere pleasure that I receive, from the two branches of the legislature of Massachusets, an Address, expressive of their satisfaction with the administration of our government. the approbation of my constituents is truly the most valued reward for any services it has fallen to my lot to render them, their confidence & esteem the greatest consolation of my life. the measures which you have been pleased particularly to note, I have believed to have been for the best interests of our country. but far from assuming their merits to myself, they belong, first, to a wise & patriotic legislature, which has given them the form & sanction of law, and next, to my faithful & able fellow-labourers in the Executive administration.

The progression of sentiment in the great body of our fellow citizens of Massachusets, and the increasing support of their opinion, I have seen with satisfaction, and was ever confident I should see; persuaded that an enlightened people, whenever they should view impartially the course we have pursued, could never wish that our measures should have been reversed; could never desire that the expences of the government should have been increased, taxes multiplied, debt accumulated, wars undertaken, & the tomahawk & scalping knife left in the hands of our neighbors, rather than the hoe and plough. in whatever tended to strengthen the republican features of our constitution, we could not fail to expect from Massachusets, the cradle of our revolutionary principles, an ultimate concurrence: and, cultivating the peace of nations, with justice and prudence, we yet were always confident that, whenever our rights would be to be vindicated against the aggression of foreign foes, or the machinations of internal conspirators, the people of Massachusets, so prominent in the military atcheivements which placed our country in the right of self-government, would never be found wanting in their duty to the calls of their country, or the requisitions of their government.

During the term, which yet remains, of my continuance in the station assigned me, your confidence shall not be disappointed, so far as faithful endeavors for your service can merit it.

I feel with particular sensibility your kind expressions towards myself personally; and I pray that that Providence, in whose hand are the nations of the earth, may continue towards ours his fostering care, & bestow on yourselves the blessings of his protection and favour.

Th: Jefferson

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