Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 29 September 1811

To John Wayles Eppes

Monticello Sep. 29. 11.

Dear Sir

The inclosed letter came under cover to me without any indication from what quarter it came.

Our latest arrival brings information of the death of the king of England. it’s coming from Ireland & not direct from England would make it little worthy of notice, were not the event so probable. on the 26th of July the English papers say he was expected hourly to expire. this vessel sailed from Ireland the 4th of August, and says an express brought notice the day before to the government that he died on the 1st. but whether on that day or not, we may be certain he is dead and entertain therefore a hope that a change of ministers will produce that revocation of the orders of council for which they stand so committed. in this event we may still remain at peace, and that probably concluded between the other powers. I am so far, in that case, from believing that our reputation will be tarnished by our not having mixed in the mad contests of the rest of the world that, setting aside the ravings of pepper pot politicians, of whom there are enough in every age and country, I believe it will place us high in the scale of wisdom, to have preserved our country1 tranquil & prosperous during a contest which prostrated the honor, & power, independance, laws & property of every country on the other side of the Atlantic. which of them have better preserved their honor?2 has Spain, has Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Prussia, Austria, the other German powers, Sweden, Denmark, or even Russia? and would we accept of the infamy of France & England in exchange for our honest reputation, or of the result of their enormities, despotism to the one, & bankruptcy & prostration to the other in exchange for the prosperity, the freedom & independance which we have preserved safely thro’ the wreck? the bottom of my page warns me it is time to present my homage to mrs Eppes, and to yourself & Francis my affectionate adieux

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Eppes.” Enclosure not found.

Late in July 1811 the english papers stated that George III was suffering from “a swelling in the throat, which not only prevents his swallowing any aliment, but also renders his breathing extremely difficult,” as a result of which “his dissolution was daily expected” (Washington National Intelligencer, 14, 21 Sept. 1811). The brig Sarah Maria brought word from Dublin, ireland, that the king had expired, a report that turned out to be untrue (Philadelphia Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser and Richmond Enquirer, both 20 Sept. 1811).

Eppes’s reply to TJ of 8 Oct. 1811, not found, is recorded in SJL as received from Mill Brook on 20 Oct. 1811.

1Word interlined in place of “selves.”

2Word interlined in place of “power.”

Index Entries

  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); and reports of George III’s death search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); letters from accounted for search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); letters to search
  • Eppes, Martha Burke Jones (John Wayles Eppes’s second wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • George III, king of Great Britain; death of reported search
  • Great Britain; Orders in Council (1807) search
  • Ireland; George III’s death rumored in search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Family & Friends; relations with grandchildren search
  • Sarah Maria (brig) search