Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Tilton, 16 February 1809

Washington Feb. 16. 09.


I duly recieved your favor covering the resolutions and address of the citizens of Wilmington & it’s vicinity, and I beg leave through the same channel to return the inclosed answer. I have no doubt that whenever an appeal shall be made to the great body of our fellow citizens in every part of the union, their good sense & honest views will be a perfect security to us. I entirely concur with you therefore in opinion that we have no danger to apprehend. I salute you with constant friendship & assurances of great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.


Feb. 16. 09

The resolutions which have been entered into by the Citizens of Wilmington & its vicinity are worthy of the well known patriotism of that place.

The storm which with little intermission has been raging for so many years, which has immolated the Antient Dynasties and institutions of Europe, & prostrated the principles of public law heretofore respected, has hitherto been felt but in a secondary degree by us. but threatening at length to involve us in it’s vortex, it is time for all good citizens to rally round the constituted Authorities by a public expression of their determination to support the laws and Government of their choice, & to frown into silence all disorganizing movements. Strong in our numbers, our position & resources, we can never be endangered but by schisms at home. it has been the anxious care of the Government to preserve the U.S from this destructive contest; but whether it can yet be done depends on a return to reason by those who have so long rejected its dictates. On our part there is no doubt of a continuance of the same desire to conduct the nation quietly through the political storms prevailing, & to lead it in safety through the perils with which we are menaced by the ambition of foreign Nations.

I am thankful for the great indulgence with which you have viewed the measures of my administration. of their wisdom others must judge. but I may truly say they have been pursued with honest intentions unbiased by any personal or interested views. it is a consolation to know that the motives for my retirement are approved, & altho’ I withdraw from public functions, I shall continue an anxious Spectator of passing events, & offer to heaven my constant prayers for the preservation of our republic and especially of those it’s best principles which secure to all it’s Citizens a perfect equality of rights.

Th: Jefferson

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