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To Thomas Jefferson from Caesar A. Rodney, 13 October 1800

From Caesar A. Rodney

Wilmington Octob 13. 1800

Honored & Dear Sir,

It is with much regret I inform you of the unfavourable result of the election in our State. Mr. Bayard is reelected by a majority of 300. votes. The Federal ticket having succeeded by about 90 votes in Kent County, the Governor is about convening the legislature, who will choose the Electors of a President & V. President. From what I have understood in conversation from some of our leading men on the Federal side I should doubt whether they will vote for Adams here, as Pinckney is undoubtedly their man. however on reflection I am rather inclined to believe they must run Adams with Pinckney least we might succeed, in consequence of their not having done so. Altho’ our horizon be clouded the prospect brightens on turning our eyes to Pennsylvania &1 Maryland. I trust in the old maxim “Magna est veritas & prevalebit.”2 That you may judge better of our present situation I inclose you the Rolls for New Castle & Kent Counties. In Sussex they beat us 560. Our majority in this county ought to have been at least 600. as there were 2168 votes out but their Sheriff dragged them along, whilst ours pulled us back. The Fedl sheriff run much above his ticket & ours much below. The Governor is to commission theirs, tho’ ours had a small majority of votes. Our State consists you know Sir of but three counties, the returns from Sussex except as to Rep: to Congress have not come to hand, but as their ticket succeeded there they have two thirds of the legislature

I remain Sir with great respect your Most Obedt.

C A Rodney

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 24 Oct. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

Born in Dover, Delaware, Caesar A. Rodney (1772–1824) was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Fisher Rodney and the nephew of Caesar Rodney. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1789 and four years later began practicing law in Delaware and Philadelphia. In 1795 he protested against the Jay Treaty. The next year Rodney was elected to the state legislature, where he became a leader in the organization of the Republican Party. He served in the state legislature until 1802, when, at TJ’s urging, he successfully challenged James A. Bayard for Delaware’s seat in the House of Representatives. In Congress he became a prominent supporter of administration policy and served as a manager in the impeachment trials of John Pickering and Samuel Chase. He did not stand for reelection in 1804. In 1807 TJ appointed Rodney to serve as U.S. attorney general, a position he held until his resignation in 1811. During James Monroe’s presidency he served as one of three commissioners to study and report on South American affairs. Rodney was again elected to the House of Representatives in 1820, serving until January 1822 when he resigned to accept a seat in the U.S. Senate, being the first Republican elected to that position from Delaware. He served until January 1823 when he accepted appointment as the first U.S. minister to Buenos Aires. He died less than eight months after his arrival there (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Biog. Dir. Cong.).

The official returns on 15 Oct. indicated that incumbent congressman Bayard was reelected, having defeated John Patten, the former Republican congressman, by 464 votes. In Kent County, Bayard received 811 to Patten’s 720 votes, and in Sussex Bayard led with 963 votes to Patten’s 373. Federalist governor Richard Bassett, Bayard’s son-in-law, convened the legislature. Magna est veritas & prevalebit: “truth is great and will prevail.”

This county: in New Castle County, Patten received 1,247 votes to Bayard’s 1,030. Each county sent seven representatives to the state legislature. The Republican candidates were victorious only in New Castle, where Rodney led the ticket with 1,244 votes; William Robinson led the Federalist ticket with 916. Joseph Israel was elected sheriff with 1,030 votes (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Philadelphia Gazette, 17 Oct. 1800; John A. Munroe, Federalist Delaware, 1775–1815 [New Brunswick, N.J., 1954], 206, 208, 265).

1Rodney here canceled “Delaware.”

2Closing punctuation supplied by Editors.

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