James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 16 March 1814

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello Mar. 16. 14.

Dear Sir

I inclose you two letters from mr. Burrall, postmaster of Baltimore.1 You will percieve by them that the removal of mr. Granger has spread some dismay in the ranks. I lodged in the same house with him (Francis’s) during the sessions of Congress of 97.98.99. We breakfasted, dined &c. at the same table. He classed himself with the federalists, but I did not know why, for he scarcely ever uttered a word on the subject, altho’ it was in the reign of addresses, of Mc.pherson’s blues & of terror.2 He would sometimes make a single observation in support of the administration. He is an honest and a good man, and, as far as I have observed him, has been correct, faithful and obliging in the conduct of his office. Altho’ I am sure it is unnecessary, yet I could not when requested refuse this testimony to the truth. Ever & affectionately yours

Th: Jefferson

RC and enclosures (DLC); FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). Cover marked by JM: “For perusal, & to be returned.”

1Jefferson enclosed Charles Burrall’s letters to him of 6 and 7 Mar. 1814. In the first (3 pp.; docketed by Jefferson as received on 11 Mar.), Burrall stated that attempts were underway to have him dismissed from office, averred that he had never voted or engaged in any other political activities but had “served Mr Madison with as much fidelity” as he had Jefferson, particularly during the Baltimore riots of 1812, and requested that Jefferson intercede for him with JM. In the second letter (2 pp.; docketed by Jefferson as received on 11 Mar.), Burrall enclosed an article from the Baltimore Whig advancing “many unfounded suggestions” regarding his job performance, stated that he had loaned large amounts of money “to government,” and asserted that only one of his six employees was a Federalist. Burrall had served as assistant postmaster general from 1793 to 1798 (Claude Halstead Van Tyne and Waldo Gifford Leland, Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United States in Washington [2d ed.; Washington, 1907], 153).

2Jefferson referred to a company of Philadelphia volunteers commanded by Revolutionary War veteran William Macpherson, whom the Adams administration selected in 1799 to head the military suppression of Fries’s Rebellion. The Blues had addressed John Adams in 1798, declaring their support for his policy against France (Paul Douglas Newman, Fries’s Rebellion: The Enduring Struggle for the American Revolution [Philadelphia, 2004], 142, 146; Philadelphia Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser, 19 July 1798). For the “terror” associated with the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts, see William Duane to JM, 22 Feb. 1814, and n. 2.

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