Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph, 20 December 1798

To Thomas Mann Randolph

Thursday. Dec. 20. 98.

Th:J. to TMR.

Mr. Dinsmore asked me to lend him Gibb’s Rules for drawing, and I forgot to lay it out for him. it is a large thin folio, lying uppermost of a parcel of books laid horizontally on the shelf close to my turning chair. be so good as to give it to him. it is bound in rough calf, and one lid off.   should mr Madison send for my diamond it is in the upper part of the tool chest, in the cell adjacent to the lock of the box.—I here met with the President’s speech which was certainly went to you by the last post. it is war and no war. one discovers the wish without the cause for waging it. I endeavored to arrange my matters so as to prevent your being troubled with them as I am conscious you have been. yet should any thing unexpected embarras them I must just give you the Consular commission ‘to see that the republic recieves no damage.’ I reached this the 2d. day, & go off this morning. my love to my dear Martha, & the little ones, & sincere affection to yourself. Adieu.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC); endorsed by Randolph as received 21 Dec. 1798. Not recorded in SJL.

For James Gibbs’s rules for drawing (London, 1738), see Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 4184.

President’s speech: Adams delivered his annual message to Congress on 8 Dec. In it he praised the “manly sense of national honor, dignity, and independence” which had arisen in the country to defy French aggressions. He noted, on the one hand, the failure of negotiations with France, but on the other described France as appearing solicitous to avoid a rupture with the United States. Adams affirmed, however, that until France changed policies with regard to neutral shipping and her diplomatic stance “to prescribe the qualifications” of United States ministers, the country would continue to build its defenses. He reiterated his position that “to send another minister, without more determinate assurances that he would be received, would be an act of humiliation, to which the United States ought not to submit.” The president concluded that vigorous war preparations would alone give the United States “an equal treaty” with France and ensure its observance. He then advocated that Congress take further measures to strengthen the naval establishment (JS, description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends 2:558–61).

TJ reached Fredericksburg on 19 Dec., the second day of his trip to Philadelphia.

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