To the House of Representatives
Feb. 20. 1801.
I recieve Gentlemen1 with profound thankfulness, this testimony of confidence from the great representative council of our nation. it fills up the measure of that grateful satisfaction which had already been derived from the suffrages of my fellow citizens themselves, designating me as one of those to whom they were willing to commit this charge, the most important of all others to them. In deciding between the candidates, whom their equal vote presented to your choice,2 I am sensible that age has been respected, rather than more active & useful qualifications. I know the difficulties of the station to which I am called, and feel and acknolege3 my incompetence to them. but whatsoever of understanding, whatsoever of diligence, whatsoever of justice, or of affectionate concern for the happiness of man, it has pleased providence to place within the compass of my faculties, shall be called forth for the discharge of the duties confided to me, & for procuring to my fellow citizens all the benefits which our constitution has placed under the guardianship of the general government. Guided by the wisdom and patriotism of those to whom it belongs to express the legislative will of the nation, I will give to that will a faithful execution. I pray you, Gent. to convey to the honorable body from which you are deputed the homage of my humble acknolegements, & the sentiments of zeal & fidelity, by which I shall endeavor to merit these proofs of confidence from the nation and it’s representatives.4
Accept yourselves, gentlemen,5 my particular thanks for the obliging terms in which you have been pleased to communicate their will.
Dft (DLC); at foot of text: “Messrs. Pinckney, Tazewell & Bayard”; general appearance and use of erasure for several changes suggest that TJ may have initially intended this manuscript to be the RC or a fair copy. Printed in JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 3:815, with variations in punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and paragraphing. Not recorded in SJL.
The great representative council of our nation: the House of Representatives. Immediately after completing the balloting for president on 17 Feb. the House appointed Thomas Pinckney, Littleton W. Tazewell, and James A. Bayard to wait on Adams and inform him of TJ’s election. Two days later the House ordered the same committee to notify the president-elect. TJ received a copy of the House’s order, extracted from the journal and signed by the clerk, John H. Oswald (MS in DLC). Pinckney informed the House that the committee also made a brief address to TJ: “The committee beg leave to express their wishes for the prosperity of your administration; and their sincere desire that it may promote your own happiness and the welfare of our country.” The House received TJ’s reply on the 21st (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 3:803, 808, 815).
1. Word interlined.
2. TJ here interlined, then erased, “of the H. of R.”
3. Preceding two words interlined.
4. JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends continues here with a semicolon, the word “and,” and no paragraph break.