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Richard Rush to Thomas Jefferson, 18 July 1812

From Richard Rush

Washington July the 18th. 1812.


By the mail of this day, I take the liberty to send you a small pamphlet, which I have to beg you will do me the honor to accept.

That you may continue to be blessed with health in your retirement, and that your illustrious life may long be spared, is the wish of one who has the honor to subscribe himself,

with the highest respect, your obt. servt.

Richard Rush.

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Ths: Jefferson, Esquire”; endorsed by TJ as received 23 July 1812 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Rush, An Oration, delivered in the hall of the House of Representatives, at the Capitol, Washington, July 4, 1812 (Washington, 1812; reprinted in Washington National Intelligencer, 28 July 1812), justifying the United States declaration of war as the only honorable redress for Great Britain’s long mistreatment of Americans; reviewing affronts to American liberties dating back to the pre-Revolutionary era; portraying British relations with its own colonies as imperious and ruthless; condemning the overreaching power of the British navy, and especially its seizure and impressment of American seamen; vowing that United States ships must never again be turned “into worse than butcher’s shambles for the inspection and seizure of human flesh” (p. 17); and judging the impressment of American men to be even less moral than the enslavement of Africans.

The previous day Rush sent James Madison a similar letter enclosing a copy of the same pamphlet (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.  Congress. Ser., 17 vols.  Pres. Ser., 6 vols.  Sec. of State Ser., 8 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 5:43).

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