Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Mary Jefferson Eppes, 17 January 1800

To Mary Jefferson Eppes

Philadelphia Jan. 17. 1800.

My dear Maria

I recieved at Monticello two letters from you, & meant to have answered them a little before my departure for this place; but business so crouded on me at that moment that it was not in my power. I left home on the 21st. & arrived here on the 28th. of Dec. after a pleasant journey of fine weather and good roads, & without having experienced any inconvenience. the Senate had not yet entered into business, & I may say they have not yet entered into it: for we have not occupation for half an hour a day. indeed it is so apparent that we have nothing to do but to raise money to fill the deficit of 5. millions of Dollars, that it is proposed we shall rise about the middle of March; & as the proposition comes from the Eastern members who have always been for setting permanently, while the Southern are constantly for early adjournment, I presume we shall rise then. in the mean while they are about to renew the bill suspending intercourse with France, which is in fact a bill to prohibit the exportation of tobacco & to reduce the tobacco states to passive obedience by poverty.—J. Randolph has entered into debate with great splendor & approbation. he used an unguarded word in his first speech, applying the word raggamuffin to the common souldiery. he took it back of his own accord & very handsomely the next day, when he had occasion to reply. still in the evening of the 2d. day he was justled & his coat pulled at the theatre by two officers of the navy who repeated the word raggamuffin. his friends present supported him spiritedly so that nothing further followed. concieving, & as I think justly, that the H. of Representatives (not having passed a law on the subject) could not punish the offenders, he wrote a letter to the President, who laid it before the house, where it is still depending. he has conducted himself with great propriety, and I have no doubt will come out with increase of reputation; being determined himself to oppose the interposition of the house where they have no law for it.—M. du Pont, his wife & family are arrived at New York, after a voyage of 3 months & 5 days. I suppose after he is a little recruited from his voyage, we shall see him here. his son is with him, as is also his son in law Bureau-Pusy the companion & fellow sufferer of La Fayette. I have a letter from La Fayette of April. he then expected to sail for America in July; but I suspect he awaits the effect of the mission of our ministers. I presume Made. de la Fayette is to come with him, & that they mean to settle in America.—the prospect of returning early to Monticello is to me a most chearing one. I hope the fishery will not prevent your joining us early in the spring. however on this subject we can speak together, as I will endeavor if possible to take Mont Blanco & Eppington in my way. a letter from D. Carr of Dec. 27. informed me he had just left you well. I become daily more anxious to hear from you, and to know that you continue well, your present state being one which is most interesting to a parent; & it’s issue I hope will be such as to give you experience what a parent’s anxiety may be. I employ my leisure moments in repassing often in my mind our happy domestic society when together at Monticello, and looking forward to the renewal of it. no other society gives me now any satisfaction, as no other is founded in sincere affection. take care of yourself, my dear Maria, for my sake, and cherish your affections for me, as my happiness rests solely on yours & that of your sister & your dear connections. present me affectionately to mr Eppes, to whom I inclosed some pamphlets some time ago, without any letter; as I shall write no letters the ensuing year for political reasons which I explained to him. present my affections also to mrs & mr Eppes senr. and all the family for whom I feel every interest that I do for my own. be assured yourself, my dear, of my most tender & constant love. Adieu

Your’s affectionately & for ever

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC); addressed: “Mrs. Maria Eppes at Eppington by the Petersburg mail”; franked and postmarked.

Letters from you: for a missing letter written by Mary Jefferson Eppes, see TJ to John Wayles Eppes, 21 Dec. 1799. There is no record of a second one. According to SJL, her preceding letter was of 26 June 1799.

A bill to renew the suspension of trade with France was introduced into the House on 3 Feb. and passed on 20 Feb. An amendment that would have given neutral vessels the right to trade between U.S. and French ports failed, but one that permitted the president to appoint a consul to French dependencies passed. Striking out the amendment and a clause which permitted American residents in France to return to the United States with their property before 1 Oct., the Senate returned the bill to the House on 26 Feb. Although Nathaniel Macon declared the bill as passed by the Senate “so fatal to the interests of the Southern States” that “duty impelled him to take measures for its destruction,” the House promptly agreed to it (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 3:581, 591, 596–7, 605; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:34–7; 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 10:524–9, 557–8).

On a printed copy of the bill first passed by the House, TJ recorded the progress of the legislation in the Senate from 21 to 26 Feb. and his emendations indicated the Senate amendments to the bill. He also made notations in the margin on two unsuccessful attempts to amend the bill. The first, an effort by Wilson Cary Nicholas to amend the second section, reads: “Mr. Nicholas’s motion to strike out ‘Europe’ & insert ‘foreign countries.’ Yea & Nay. rejected.” A second notation identified Stevens Thomson Mason as the mover to strike out the sixth section of the bill (“Act Further to suspend the commercial intercourse between the United States and France, and the dependencies thereof” in DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 6th Cong., 1st sess.; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:35–6).

The letter from Dabney Carr of 27 Dec., recorded in SJL as received from Williamsburg on 9 Jan. 1800, has not been found.

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