Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Beckley, 24 January 1799

From John Beckley

24. January 1799. 12 o’clock A.M.


Mr. Tazewell is no more—he this moment departed.

Will you be pleased to make this Melancholy event known to the Members of the Senate.

I have taken immediate preparatory measures for his funeral.

In great distress I am, Sir, Yrs.

John Beckley

RC (DLC); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson, Esqre.”; endorsed by TJ as received 24 Jan. 1799 and so recorded in SJL.

Upon learning of the death of Virginia Senator Henry Tazewell, the Senate passed three resolutions. The first, in TJ’s hand, is as follows: “Resolved that a commee be appd. to take order for superintending the funeral of the sd H.T., & that this house will attend the same, and that notice of the event be given to the H. of Representatives” (MS in DNA, RG 46, Senate Records, 5th Cong., 3d sess.; with emendations by Samuel A. Otis; endorsed by clerk: “Committee on the superintendence of the funeral of Mr. Tazewell. January 24th, 1799”). For the resolution as adopted, including the appointment of Stevens Thomson Mason and Kentucky Senators John Brown and Humphrey Marshall to the committee, see JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 2:573. The funeral was held the following afternoon. The second resolution called for members of the Senate to observe a month of mourning by “wearing a crape round the left arm” (same; 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 , 9:2771). For the third resolution, see enclosure to TJ to James Wood, 24 Jan. 1799.

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