Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph, 7 May 1800

To Thomas Mann Randolph

Philadelphia May 7. 1800.

Th:J. to TMR.

Yours of Apr. 26. came to hand the 2d. inst. we have recieved information, not absolutely to be relied on, that our envoys are arrived at Paris and were recieved with peculiar favor. I have seen a letter from a person there of the best information dated in January that the dispositions of the present government were so favorable that a carte blanche would be given to our envoys & that it would not be in their power to avoid a settlement.—the New York city election has resulted in favor of the republican ticket. I inclose you a state of it.1 this is considered by both parties as deciding the legislative majority in that state, without taking into account what we shall gain in the country elections. the federalists do not conceal their despair on this event. they held a caucus on Saturday night and have determined on some hocus-pocus maneuvres by running Genl. Charles C. Pinckney with mr Adams to draw off South Carolina, and to make impression on N. Carolina.—we still count on rising on the 12th. perhaps we may be a day or two later, tho’ it is generally expected otherwise. I shall not set out till the day, or day after we rise.

You were not mistaken in your first idea that your tobacco was nearly sufficient for the paiment to G. Jefferson. I paid him 1870. D. your Philadelphia tobo. came to 1537.325 and the N. York supposed about 288. D. this when it all comes in will consequently be within a few dollars of what I paid; and as to the delay I have apologised for that to those for whom my money was destined. a little before I left Monticello I attempted a statement of our account. but we had let it run so long that it called for more time than I had left. I therefore brought on the materials here, & have stated it except as to one or two articles which need enquiry. I do not believe there will be a balance of 10. D. either way, including every thing I know of to the present moment. the money therefore in mr Jefferson’s hands which you destined for me, is free for other purposes. I sincerely wish I were able to aid you in the embarrasments you speak of. but tho’ I have been wiping out mr Wayles’s old scores it has been impossible to me to avoid some new ones. the profits of my Bedford estate have gone for this purpose, and the unprofitable state of Albemarle has kept me in a constant struggle. there is a possible case which might enable me to aid you; and nothing could be so pleasing to me:2 but it is only possible. I would wish you however to avoid selling any thing as long as you can, to give time for this possibility. these things however will be better explained in conversation. present my constant love to my dear Martha, & the little ones, and accept assurances of the most affectionate attachment to yourself. Adieu.

RC (DLC); endorsed by Randolph as received 15 May. PrC (MHi); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosure not found, but probably New York Commercial Advertiser of 3 May (see Aaron Burr to TJ, at 5 May).

Randolph’s letter of Apr. 26, recorded in SJL as received from Edgehill on 2 May, has not been found.

On 7 May the Aurora carried a short piece noting that newspapers from London to 17 Mch. and Glasgow to 20 Mch. had arrived in New York with information that the Envoys had arrived at Paris and that Bonaparte, as first consul, had appointed a commission to confer with them, consisting of his brother Joseph Bonaparte, Pierre Louis Roederer, and Charles Pierre Claret Fleurieu.

On 3 May the Federalist members of Congress held a Caucus and, as James McHenry reported, “with very few exceptions, it was determined, that each member in his State, would use his best endeavours to have Mr. Adams and Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney run for President, without giving one a preference to the other.” Pickering explained the political strategy behind this decision in a letter to William Loughton Smith on 7 May: “The only chance of a federal President will be by General C. C. Pinckney. It is proposed to run him with Mr. Adams; and as So. Carolina & part of North Carolina will vote for him, if the New England States also keep him on their votes, Mr. Pinckney will be elected. The Carolinians it is supposed will vote for Mr. Jefferson as well as Genl. Pinckney” (DLC: William Loughton Smith Papers; Gibbs, Memoirs description begins George Gibbs, ed., Memoirs of the Administrations of Washington and John Adams, edited from the Papers of Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury, New York, 1846, 2 vols. description ends , 2:347; Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , 24:446). Upon discovering that not all Federalists supported the plan, Hamilton vowed that he would not give his direct support to Adams “even though the consequence should be the election of Jefferson.” In May 1800 Duane noted that three political parties were contending for power in the U.S. Senate, the Republicans, the “Adamites,” and the “Pickeronians” or “Pickeroons”—those Federalists who had “leagued with Hamilton.” The Hamiltonian Federalists began holding caucuses at the home of South Carolina Senator Jacob Read (Philadelphia Aurora, 1, 16, 19, 20 May 1800; Cunningham, Jeffersonian Republicans description begins Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., The Jeffersonian Republicans: The Formation of Party Organization, 1789–1801, Chapel Hill, 1957 description ends , 164–5; Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , 24:475).

1Sentence interlined.

2Preceding eight words interlined.

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