Thomas Jefferson Papers

Benjamin Franklin Thompson to Thomas Jefferson, 24 July 1811

From Benjamin Franklin Thompson

Setauket (Long-Island New york) July 24–1811.


A sincere and ardent veneration for your person and character, has induced me, to transmit you an Oration of mine, lately delivered in this place, at the request of the Tammany Society No 1 of the Island of Nassau & No 4 of the State, of which I have the honor to be Grand Sachem.

The publication has no particular merit to recommend it to your notice; but as I have taken the liberty to mention your many virtues, perhaps it will not prove an unwelcome present.

Should you ever contemplate a Tour thro’ this State, your presence on Long Island, would excite inexpressible satisfaction to a very numerous majority of Republicans and especially to your

Obedient Humble Servant

Benjamin Franklin Thompson.

RC (MHi); between dateline and salutation: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr LLD, &c”; endorsed by TJ as received 4 Aug. 1811 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Thompson, An Oration, delivered before the Tammany Society, or, Columbian Order, of Brookhaven, (L.I.) and a numerous assemblage of citizens, on … July 4, 1811 (Brooklyn, 1811), praising the Jefferson and Madison administrations for thwarting the enemies of republican government; summarizing TJ’s political career; exhorting the retired TJ to “bequeath to future ages those nicer principles of republican liberty which have been so successfully inculcated and vigorously pursued thro the whole course of thy active life” (p. 7); detailing TJ’s success as president in meeting the challenges of public debt, a depleted treasury, party strife, and pro-British elements intent on involving the United States in a war with France; praising the repeal of the Judiciary Act and the acquisition of Louisiana; and arguing that the Embargo would have succeeded “had not the malignant spirit of faction and foreign influence raised its hydra head” (p. 9).

Benjamin Franklin Thompson (1784–1849), physician, lawyer, and author, was born in Setauket, New York, and attended Yale College for a year in 1802. He practiced medicine for a decade and served as an assistant clerk for Suffolk County in 1811, as an army surgeon during the War of 1812, and as a justice of the peace, revenue collector, and member of the lower house of the state legislature for several terms during the 1810s. Thompson was also Setauket’s postmaster, 1816–24, and the district attorney for Queens County, 1826–36. He published a History of Long Island in one volume in 1839 and two volumes in 1843. It appeared posthumously in four volumes in 1918 (Charles J. Werner’s brief biography of the author in Thompson, History of Long Island, 3d ed. [1918], 1:xxv–l; Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Kings County Democrat, 22 Mar. 1849; gravestone in Old Town Burying Ground, Hempstead, N.Y.).

Index Entries

  • An Oration, delivered before the Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, of Brookhaven, (L.I.) (Thompson) search
  • debt, public; reduction of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • New York (state); Republicans in search
  • New York (state); Tammany societies of search
  • Republican party; in N.Y. search
  • Tammany societies; of N.Y. search
  • Thompson, Benjamin Franklin; An Oration, delivered before the Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, of Brookhaven, (L.I.) search
  • Thompson, Benjamin Franklin; identified search
  • Thompson, Benjamin Franklin; letters from search