Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Pierce Butler, 11 August 1800

To Pierce Butler

Aug. 11. 1800.

Dear Sir

Your favor of July 28. is safely recieved, and recieved with great pleasure, it having been long since we have been without communication. you will have percieved, on your return to Philadelphia, a great change in the spirit of this place. ‘the arrogancy of the proud hath ceased, and the patient & meek look up.’ I do not know how matters are in the quarter you have been in, but all North of the Roanoke has undergone a wonderful change. the state of the public mind in N. Carolina appears mysterious to us: doubtless you know more of it than we do. what will be the effect, in that & the two other states South of that, of the new maneuvre of a third competitor proposed to be run at the ensuing election, & taken from among them? will his personal interest, or local politics derange the votes in that quarter which would otherwise have been given on principle alone?—nothing ever passed between the gentleman you mention & myself on the subject you mention. it is our mutual duty to leave those arrangements to others, and to acquiesce in their assignment. he has certainly greatly merited of his country, and the Republicans in particular, to whose efforts his have given a chance of success. are we to see you at the Federal city, or will Philadelphia still monopol[ize] the time you spare from S. Carolina? I shall be happy to meet you there & at all times to hear from you. accept assurances of the high regard of Dr. Sir

Your friend & servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); faint; at foot of text: “Pierce Butler esq.”

Butler’s favor of July 28, recorded in SJL as received from Philadelphia on 8 Aug., has not been found. The last communication between Butler and TJ is printed at 17 Aug. 1793. Butler, a wealthy planter who served as senator from South Carolina from 1789 to 1796 and from 1802 to 1804, began spending a majority of his time with his children in Philadelphia after the death of his wife in 1790 and continued to do so until his death in 1822. Although elected as a Federalist in 1795, his opposition to the Jay Treaty led Republicans to consider him as a vice-presidential candidate in 1796 (Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:267; S.C. Biographical Directory, House of Representatives description begins J. S. R Faunt, Walter B. Edgar, N. Louise Bailey, and others, eds., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, Columbia, S.C., 1974–92 , 5 vols. description ends , 3:108–14).

Third competitor: Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Some Federalists thought Pinckney had a chance to be elected president if the New England states chose electors for John Adams and Pinckney and South Carolina and part of North Carolina voted for Pinckney and TJ (see TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph, 7 May 1800). Gentleman you mention: for the choice of Aaron Burr as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, see Tench Coxe to TJ, 4 May 1800.

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