Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Seventy-Six Association to Thomas Jefferson, 15 July 1817

From the Seventy-Six Association

Charleston So. Ca 15th July 1817—

Dear Sir,

By direction of the ’76 Association we [ha]ve the honor to transmit you the following Oration [de]livered before that Society and the citizens of Charles[ton], on the 4th inst by Benjamin Elliott Esqr

The energy with which this production upholds [the] Republican cause; and the eloquence with which it [il]lustrates its principles, give it we conceive strong claims [to] your perusal.   The blessings of a free people have [fo]llowed you into that retirement, which will be [ev]er hallowed by the recollection, that you have [so] essentially contributed to the welfare and hap[pi]ness of our beloved Country—That the life [of] the Father of the Republican Family may [be] long preserved, must be the sincere wish of [ev]ery friend to America, and is the fervent [pr]ayer of those who Respectfully subscribe [the]mselves.   Your Obd Servts

Christr L Black. } Standing Committee ’76 Association
William Singellton
T. Loughton Smith
Saml Burger
Tho. D Condy

RC (ViU); written on verso of title page of the enclosure presented to TJ; in Black’s hand, signed by Black, Singellton, Smith, Burger, and Condy; edge trimmed; at foot of text: “Honble Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia.” Enclosure: Benjamin Elliott, An Oration, delivered in St. Philip’s Church, before the inhabitants of Charleston, South-Carolina; on Friday, the Fourth of July, 1817, in commemoration of American Independence; by appointment of the ’76 Association, And published at the Request of that Society (Charleston, 1817; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 13 [no. 826]; TJ’s copy in ViU), declaring that the best way for the United States to “ensure to our posterity, the beatitude we inherit” is to study the model of “Our revolutionary ancestors” (p. 4); celebrating American victories in the War of 1812; asserting that European nations have begun emulating the United States; affirming that in TJ and Benjamin Franklin the French people saw “splendidly illustrated, how republicanism was adorned with science, patriotism, and genius” (p. 16); predicting that in the future the United States will experience rapid population growth and “more complete amalgamation of these states, into one community” (p. 19); claiming that American “Naval skill is appreciated by European statesmen as their best security” against British domination (p. 22); linking manufacturing and the arts with continued American ascendance; and concluding with a call for a national system of education. The PoC of TJ to Samuel M. Reid, 13 Oct. 1817, is written on the verso of an address cover that evidently either enclosed this letter and the pamphlet on which it was written or an otherwise unknown accompanying letter (RC in MHi; address cover only; addressed in Black’s hand: “Honble Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia” and “per Mail”; franked; postmarked Charleston, 16 July).

Christopher L. Black served as keeper of Charleston’s militia arsenal from at least 1818–20. In 1831 he was elected recording secretary of the newly formed South Carolina State Rights and Free Trade Association (The Planters’ & Merchants’ Almanac, for the Year of Our Lord 1818 [Charleston, (1817)]; The Planters’ & Merchants’ City Almanac, for the Year of Our Lord 1820 [Charleston, (1819)]; New-England Magazine 1 [1831]: 258).

William Singellton, attorney, was admitted to the bar in Charleston in 1817, became an ensign in the South Carolina militia the same year, and represented Saint Bartholomew Parish in the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1818–19 and 1820–21 (O’Neall, Bench and Bar of South Carolina description begins John Belton O’Neall, Biographical Sketches of the Bench and Bar of South Carolina, 1859, 2 vols. description ends , 2:603; Charleston City Gazette and Commercial Daily Advertiser, 18 June 1817; BDSCHR description begins Walter B. Edgar and others, eds., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1974– , 5 vols. description ends , 5:249).

Thomas Loughton Smith (d. 1817), attorney, was the son of William Loughton Smith. He studied law in Philadelphia and was admitted to the bar in Charleston in 1815 (George C. Rogers Jr., Evolution of a Federalist: William Loughton Smith of Charleston [1758–1812] [1962], 397–8, 402; O’Neall, Bench and Bar of South Carolina description begins John Belton O’Neall, Biographical Sketches of the Bench and Bar of South Carolina, 1859, 2 vols. description ends , 2:603; Charleston Southern Patriot, And Commercial Advertiser, 26 Nov. 1817).

Samuel Burger (d. ca. 1846), public official, was deputy secretary of state for South Carolina from 1813 until his election in December 1816 as tax collector for Charleston’s parishes of Saint Philip and Saint Michael, a position he held until his death. He became a director of the Bank of the State of South-Carolina in 1821 and served as a Charleston city warden from at least 1821–23 (Joseph Folker, A Directory of the City and District of Charleston; and Stranger’s Guide … for the Year 1813 [Charleston, (1813)], 7; Abraham Motte, Charleston Directory, and Strangers’ Guide, for the Year 1816 [Charleston, 1816], 14; Charleston City Gazette and Commercial Daily Advertiser, 4 Dec. 1816, 4 Sept., 19 Dec. 1821, 9 Jan. 1823; Charleston Southern Patriot, 2 Apr. 1845, 2 Jan. 1846 [funeral announcement]).

Thomas Doughty Condy (ca. 1798–1858), planter, attorney, and public official, was admitted to the bar in Charleston in 1818 and won a special election that same year to fill a vacant seat representing Saint Philip and Saint Michael parishes in the South Carolina House of Representatives. In 1819 he delivered the annual oration sponsored by the Seventy-Six Association to commemorate American independence. He was reelected as a state representative for the 1822–23 session. Condy was a member of the state militia and compiled A Digest of the Laws of the United States & the State of South-Carolina, now of force, relating to the Militia (1830). In 1832 he was confirmed as United States marshal for South Carolina, a position he held until his death. Condy owned real estate valued at $20,000 and at least thirty-nine slaves in 1850 (O’Neall, Bench and Bar of South Carolina description begins John Belton O’Neall, Biographical Sketches of the Bench and Bar of South Carolina, 1859, 2 vols. description ends , 2:600; BDSCHR description begins Walter B. Edgar and others, eds., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1974– , 5 vols. description ends , 5:52–3; Condy, An Oration, Delivered, In St. Philip’s Church, before an assemblage of the inhabitants of Charleston, South-Carolina, On the 5th Day of July, 1819; [the 4th being Sunday] In Commemoration of American Independence, by appointment of the ’76 Association [Charleston, 1819]; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States description ends , 22:268, 270 [19, 20 Dec. 1832]; DNA: RG 29, CS, Charleston, 1850, 1850 slave schedules; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 10:420 [30 May 1858]).

At some point the Seventy-Six Association also sent TJ a copy of its 1816 Independence Day address by William Lance, An Oration, delivered on the Fourth of July, 1816, In St. Michael’s Church, S. C. by appointment of the ’76 Association (Charleston, [1816]; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 13 [no. 826]; TJ’s copy in ViU, inscribed to TJ on verso of title page [edge trimmed]: “[T]he Honble Thomas Jefferson Respectfully presented by order of the ’76 Association Charleston So Carolina Tho: W. Bacot Chairman Comee of Arranget”), celebrating the anniversary of American independence and the moment when an “ignominious bondage was abolished—a gallant and magnanimous people effected their deliverance from slavery.—There was an instantaneous transfiguration of British subjects into American citizens. The sun which rose upon vassals set upon freemen” (p. 5); recalling the circumstances leading to the War of 1812 and highlighting TJ, “who had devoted all his life to public service, and his transcendent talents unerringly to the promotion of republican liberty” (p. 10); summarizing the course of the war and asserting that it was a “just and necessary war, declared and conducted without any prospect or thought of foreign alliance” (p. 19); and concluding that the American “Republic stands alone in the universe. It exists as the bird of classical fable, the only one of its kind” (p. 21).

Index Entries

  • An Oration, delivered in St. Philip’s Church, before the inhabitants of Charleston, South-Carolina; on Friday, the Fourth of July, 1817, in commemoration of American Independence (B. Elliott) search
  • An Oration, delivered on the Fourth of July, 1816, In St. Michael’s Church, S. C. by appointment of the ’76 Association (W. Lance) search
  • Bacot, Thomas Wright; and Seventy-Six Association search
  • Black, Christopher L.; and Seventy-Six Association search
  • Black, Christopher L.; identified search
  • Black, Christopher L.; letter from search
  • Burger, Samuel; and Seventy-Six Association search
  • Burger, Samuel; identified search
  • Burger, Samuel; letter from search
  • Charleston, S.C.; Seventy-Six Association search
  • Condy, Thomas Doughty; and Seventy-Six Association search
  • Condy, Thomas Doughty; identified search
  • Condy, Thomas Doughty; letter from search
  • Elliott, Benjamin; An Oration, delivered in St. Philip’s Church, before the inhabitants of Charleston, South-Carolina; on Friday, the Fourth of July, 1817, in commemoration of American Independence search
  • Fourth of July; orations search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Lance, William; An Oration, delivered on the Fourth of July, 1816, In St. Michael’s Church, S. C. by appointment of the ’76 Association search
  • Seventy-Six Association (Charleston, S.C.); forwards orations search
  • Seventy-Six Association (Charleston, S.C.); letters from search
  • Singellton, William; and Seventy-Six Association search
  • Singellton, William; identified search
  • Singellton, William; letter from search
  • Smith, Thomas Loughton; and Seventy-Six Association search
  • Smith, Thomas Loughton; identified search
  • Smith, Thomas Loughton; letter from search