Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Elizabeth Trist, 25 November 1813

To Elizabeth Trist

Poplar Forest Nov. 25. 13.

Dear Madam

Being so much more within writing distance here than at Monticello, and with time freer from interruption, I avail myself of it to renew to you the assurances of my constant friendship, and my wishes for your health and happiness. and as brother Jonathan must have become stale and lost his powers of excitement, I send you a little work of a higher order to1 make you laugh on a gloomy day. it has the merit too of giving us a peep behind the curtain at those contemptible beings composing that government which has forced us by it’s wrongs and indignities to become it’s enemy, & has subjected us to the mortification and remorse of wishing some success to such a wretch as Bonaparte. that he will fall in time, his ruthless tyrannies and restless endeavors to extend them are a sufficient security. but our peace and safety oblige us to pray that this may not be until the bankruptcy which he is forcing on Great Britain shall have swept her thousand ships from the ocean. for I see no certain term to the continual wars of Britain but in the downfall of her paper credit, and consequent inability to pay, feed, or repair the gigantic navy which enables her to plunder every flag, and to disturb the peace of every shore. the depreciation of her paper medium, acknoleged to be at this moment at 50. p. cent, and the known laws of the acceleration of descending bodies, and of paper medium more than of all others, is an assurance to us that her career is near it’s end.2

At length, my dear friend, we are getting thro’ the afflicting chapter of the Hulls, the Winchesters, Van Raentslaers & Boerstlers, and see our affairs look up under something like fidelity, courage, and talent. and the further we advance in experience, the more talent will start forward from the mass in which it has as yet been undistinguished, and will prove that we have Perries; Decaturs and Hulls of the right sort on the land as well as the ocean. the last news I have from the army was of Hampton’s affair with Prevost, and Genl Wilkinson’s readiness to strike at either Kingston or Montreal. the latter I hope, because it will give us all Canada above Quebec, and Kingston may be permitted to capitulate at leisure. I have great confidence3 that the English have not at this moment a post or an army above Quebec. mr Randolph had just joined Wilkinson, at the date of his last letter.

I left all well at Monticello, but Martha expecting very soon to be otherwise, I shorten my stay here that, in the absence of her husband she may have the comfort of other friends around her.4 be so good as to present me to mr and mrs Gilmer, and to be assured yourself of my affectionate friendship & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of first page: “Mrs Trist”; endorsed by TJ. Tr (PPAmP: Catharine Wistar Bache Papers; extracts in RC of Trist to Catharine Wistar Bache, 13 Dec. 1813.)

brother jonathan: James Kirke Paulding, The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan. By Hector Bull-us (New York, 1812). Thomas Moore’s pseudonymous Intercepted Letters; or, the Twopenny Post Bag. to which are added, Trifles Reprinted. By Thomas Brown, the Younger (Philadelphia, 1813; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4519) was the enclosed little work of a higher order (Trist to Bache, 13 Dec. 1813 [PPAmP: Bache Papers]). The hulls of the right sort took after Isaac Hull, the captain of the USS Constitution, rather than his uncle General William Hull, who surrendered Detroit to the British in August 1812 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ). The 26 Oct. 1813 affair between General Wade Hampton and a British force under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles de Salaberry, not Sir George Prevost, ended in an American defeat (Heidler and Heidler, War of 1812 description begins David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, eds., Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, 1997 description ends , 88–9, 429).

1Tr begins here.

2Tr ends here.

3Tr resumes here.

4Tr ends here.

Index Entries

  • Boerstler, Charles search
  • Decatur, Stephen; American naval commander search
  • Detroit, Mich. Territory; W. Hull’s surrender at search
  • Gilmer, Mary House (Peachy R. Gilmer’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Gilmer, Peachy Ridgeway; TJ sends greetings to search
  • Great Britain; financial situation of search
  • Great Britain; TJ on war with search
  • Hampton, Wade; War of1812service of search
  • Hull, Isaac; American naval commander search
  • Hull, William; and surrender of Northwest Army search
  • Intercepted Letters; or, the Twopenny Post Bag (T. Moore) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; sends books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Family & Friends; relations with M. J. Randolph search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Great Britain search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Napoleon search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; war with Great Britain search
  • Moore, Thomas (1779–1852); Intercepted Letters; or, the Twopenny Post Bag search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; TJ on search
  • Paulding, James Kirke; The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan search
  • Perry, Oliver Hazard; American naval commander search
  • Prevost, George; governor-in-chief of British North America search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); health of search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); as colonel in U.S. Army search
  • Salaberry, Charles de search
  • The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan (Paulding) search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; friends and family of search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; letters to search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; TJ sends books to search
  • Van Rensselaer, Stephen; defeat at Queenston Heights search
  • War of1812; TJ on search
  • Wilkinson, James; War of1812service of search
  • Winchester, James; and Battle of River Raisin search