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From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph, 1 January 1801

To Thomas Mann Randolph

Washington Jan. 1. 1801.

Th:J. to TMR.

I wrote you last on the 19th. acknoleging yours of Dec. 8. from Richmond which is the last come to hand. we have nothing from Europe more than you see in the newspapers. Congress seem to be resting on their oars, uncertain what to do. we think the less they do the better, and therefore concur in all adjournments, postponements & whatever else will rid of time. the election is still problematical. the Feds of the Essex school who muster strong in Congress, propose to prevent an election in the H. of R. by a division & to transfer the government by a law to the Chief justice or the Secretary of state, which will give them predominance for another [year] & the chapter of chances for further time. we have 8. states certain for election, and as two or three other States depend on the votes of a single ind[ividual] we believe we shall carry it. but if we fail in this [we] have it in [our] power, as a [dernier] resort, to prevent their plan by my undertaking the government in the character of Vice-president.—we are extremely apprehensive they will press and carry their judiciary bill. it’s effect will be very mischievous, as it would be so difficult hereafter to undo it. it is probable the Mausoleum and territory of Columbia may [whither] away a great deal of time for us, which is our best resource. we have [a] surplus of 2. or 3. millions in the treasury which they will be very much puzzled how to get rid of, while in their power. tenderest love to my dearest Martha, kisses to the little ones and sincere affection to yourself. Adieu.

PrC (MHi); faint and blurred; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

Later in 1801 TJ described the Feds of the Essex School or the Essex Junto as those Federalists who wished “to sap the republic by fraud” if they could not “destroy it by force” and “erect an English monarchy in it’s place” (TJ to Levi Lincoln, 11 July). For a profile of the “Essexmen,” named for the leaders who, for the most part, came from Essex County, Massachusetts, and included Timothy Pickering, Stephen Higginson, Sr., and John Lowell, see David H. Fischer, “The Myth of the Essex Junto,” in WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892– description ends , 3d ser., 21 (1964), 191–235. Harrison Gray Otis and Theodore Sedgwick, Massachusetts representatives in the Sixth Congress, were often identified with the Essex Junto (same, 195; Biog. Dir. Cong.).

During the closing days of the previous session of Congress, the House passed a bill calling for the erection of a Mausoleum to the memory of George Washington in the city of Washington, but the Senate decided to postpone action on it until the next session. After much debate the House passed a revised bill on 1 Jan. 1801 and appropriated $200,000 for the project. The Senate amended the bill and when the two bodies could not agree, the measure was once again postponed, this time until December 1801 (Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 10:711–12, 799–800, 817–20, 837–8, 855–65, 874–5; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:94, 116–17, 119–20, 139).

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