Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes for a Letter to Hugh Williamson, [11 February 1798]

Notes for a Letter to Hugh Williamson

Phila [11 Feb. 1798]

Th: Jefferson to Doctr. Williamson

‘Have they not Moses & the prophets? verily verily I say unto thee that if they will not hear them, neither will they be persuaded though one should rise from the dead.’ this was the answer of a Southern member to whom I shewed your lre of the 2d Inst. and who had formerly been in favor of Madisons proposns which he quoted to me as going1 precisely to the object of the Brit. navign act as proposed in your lre, he observed that they were supported by the Southern & rejected by the Northern delegations, that it was a liberal offer of sacrifice of the interests of the former to the latter, that in the last vote on the subject the 3. states of Mass. R.I. & Conn. gave 20. votes agt. & 2. for them, while the 3. states of Virga., Kent. & N.C. wherein not a single topmast vessel is probably owned by a native2 gave 25. for & 4. against them. if this record, said he, will not evince the Northern & Southern politics in Congress, neither would the same proposition were it now raised from the dead.

Dft (DLC: TJ Papers, 103:17912); entirely in TJ’s hand, heavily revised; undated, but supplied from the document that follows.

Perpendicularly on the same sheet TJ made two heavily emended lists of votes of 98 members of the House of Representatives on 5 Feb. 1794 on a motion to postpone consideration of Madison’s resolutions to implement the legislative recommendations in the Report on Commerce (Vol. 27: 535; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United StatesCompiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 4:431–2). TJ arranged the members’ names by state and in columns of yeas and nays. On the later of the two lists he tallied votes from certain states and calculated totals of 2 yea and 20 nay votes from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island and 25 yeas to 4 nays from Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. He used a similar method to count the votes from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, but without computing the totals for that group of states, which were 13 yea and 15 nay. Alongside the full lists TJ wrote and canceled two shorter lists of names of members of the House.

1Preceding fifteen words interlined in place of “proceeded to quote the inclosed experiment of Madison’s propositions, [a transaction] which went.”

2Preceding twelve words interlined.

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