Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 17 January 1802

To Martha Jefferson Randolph

Washington Jan. 17. 1802.

This is merely, my dear Martha, to say that all is well. it is very long since I have heard from you, my last letter from Edgehill being of the 6th. of Dec. a letter of Jan. 6. from mr Eppes at Richmond informed me that Maria was entirely reestablished in her health, & her breast quite well. the little boy too was well & healthy.—Dr. Gantt has inoculated six of his Cow pox patients with the small pox, not one of which took it. many have been tried in Philadelphia, & with the same issue. as the matter here came from Monticello, and that at Philadelphia from this place, they establish the genuineness of our inoculations & may place our families & neighbors in perfect security.   Congress have as yet passed but one bill. the repeal of the Judiciary law is rather doubtful in the Senate, by the absence of two republican Senators. great opposition is made to the reduction of the army, the navy, and the taxes. they will be reduced; but some republican votes will fly the way on the occasion. mr Dawson arrived here three or four days ago. present me affectionately to mr Randolph, and the young ones, and be assured yourself of my constant & tenderest love.

Th: Jefferson

P.S. in my last week’s letter to mr Randolph I inclosed one for mr Lilly with 940. D. in it, which I shall be glad to hear got safe to hand.

RC (NNPM). PrC (CSmH); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

For the last letter from Edgehill, see TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph, 1 Jan. 1802. For the 6 Jan. letter from John Wayles Eppes, see TJ’s letter to him of 22 Jan.

Passed but one Bill: on 14 Jan., TJ signed “An Act for the apportionment of Representatives among the several States, according to the second enumeration,” as passed by the House on 6 Jan. and the Senate on the 11th (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:128; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:32–4, 50; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:167).

On 6 Jan. 1802, the Senate began to consider the repeal of the judiciary law of 1801. On 19 Jan., after extensive debate, the Senate moved to bring in a bill calling for repeal. Three days later, the committee brought in the bill and it passed to a second reading. On 27 Jan., when the bill was in its third reading, Federalist Jonathan Dayton and John Ewing Colhoun, who voted with the Federalists on the issue, argued that instead of passing the repeal bill, it should be referred to a select committee. As president of the Senate, Burr disappointed Republicans by breaking the 15 to 15 tie vote in favor of sending the bill to a committee dominated by Federalists. Not until Vermont senator Stephen R. Bradley, who had received a leave of absence from the Senate in late December, returned to Washington did Republicans have the votes to get the bill out of committee on 2 Feb. and to pass it by a 16 to 15 vote the next day. The Senate sent the bill to the House, where it was debated until early March (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:164, 166, 169–73, 176–8; Bruce Ackerman, The Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy [Cambridge, Mass., 2005], 156, 339n; Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 2:653–6; James Jackson to TJ, 28 Dec. 1801; TJ to Monroe and to Thomas Mann Randolph, 3 Feb. 1802). Absence of two republican senators: John Armstrong, the other Republican senator who was not present in January 1802, submitted his resignation on 10 Feb. DeWitt Clinton, appointed by the New York state legislature to fill the vacancy, took his seat in the Senate on 23 Feb. (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:179, 184).

John Dawson took his seat in the House of Representatives on 14 Jan. (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:51).

My Last Week’s Letter: TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph, 9 Jan.

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