Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from John Wayles Eppes, 13 December 1802

From John Wayles Eppes

Richmond Dec: 13th. 1802.

Dear Sir,

Nothing of importance had occured since the meeting of the Legislature, until Saturday last—On that we elected Mr. Page Governor by a general vote no other person being nominated as his opponent. on the same we replaced three members of the Executive council, two of whom to wit Wood & White where removed by joint vote of the two houses & the third to wit Pendleton by resignation—Their vacancies are filled by George Hay, Brokenbough, & Grimes—all republicans & men of Talents.

So far as we have had an opportunity of Judging of the strength the feds it is in number about the same as in the last Legislature but diminished both in Tone & Talent—

A very intemperate Resolution has been offered to our house on the licentiousness of the Federal Presses by Colo. Smith our former Speaker—200 copies of it to our great mortification are ordered to be printed for the use of the members—It will of course go to the world in a gurl extremely exceptionable in every point of view & in which it certainly will not finally pass the legislature—

The session will I think be short and unimportant—

Accept for your health My warm wishes Yours Sincerely

Jno: W: Eppes

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 17 Dec. and so recorded in SJL.

On 11 Dec., the Virginia General Assembly elected John Page of Rosewell governor to succeed Monroe. By joint ballot, the assembly also named to the executive council George Hay in place of John Pendleton, William Brockenbrough in place of John W. White, and Philip Grymes in place of James Wood (Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Dec. 1802–Jan. 1803, 10).

Larkin Smith introduced in the House of Delegates on 10 Dec. a resolution responding to the “extreme licentiousness of the Federal Editors in their abuse of the President.” Because any legal restraint of the press would be unconstitutional, he proposed “That the present Legislature, as a component part of the community, declare their entire disapprobation, of the gross, indecent, and unprincipled attacks made on the character of the President of the United States, and so fully and confidently are they assured of the uprightness, and purity of his motives, as well as a sincere and firm belief that his official duties have been discharged in such a manner as to promote the real interest, happiness and independence of their Country; that they are induced to give their unequivocal and decided approbation to every part of his conduct, as far as it has come within their knowledge, and they feel a pleasurable duty in declaring, that there is no man in America, who deserves more of the confidence and support of the People of the United States, than the enlightened, philosophic, benevolent, and patriotic Republican, THOMAS JEFFERSON.” The House directed the resolution to be forwarded to the Senate and ordered the immediate printing of 250 copies (same, 9).

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