Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Isaac Weaver, Jr., 25 February 1801

From Isaac Weaver, Jr.

Lancaster feby. 25th. 1801.


Altho’ acquainted only with your publick character, I gratify feelings which appear to be in unison with those of this State, in congratulating you on the happy issue of the momentous struggle of America to continue advantages gaind’d by the price of revolutionary blood, in preserving the right of electing to the highest office in the United States, the man in whom the publick choice centers, free and without contamination—Impress’d with those feelings I freely declare, however democratic I may be consider’d by my friends, or anarchic by others, that I am of that class of citizens who wish a government and laws sufficiently nervous to enforce order at home, and to protect the citizen from invasion from abroad; yet always considering power deriv’d from the people, which is greater than this, unnecessarily surrender’d, and uselessly if not unjustly exercis’d by those who in a free government ought never to be arm’d, but for the general good—

By a long course of services you have justly attracted the attention of your fellow citizens, and by submitting your political opinions to their investigation, they are long since convinced, that with candor was united in you, abilities competent to the rendering essential services to our common country—Under this view, you have had my feeble support, which cannot be withdrawn from your administration, while you continue to act under principles which are correct; and which I have no doubt are establish’d in your mind—. But whenever I discover a defection, I must lose sight of the polititian, and lament the loss my country has sustain’d, not by the Death but desertion of a once valuable citizen

I have the Honour to be With sentiments of esteem Your fellow Citizen

Isaac Weaver Junr.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thos. Jefferson Esquire President (Elect) of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.

Isaac Weaver, Jr. (1756–1830) represented Greene County in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. During the 1798 session he was one of 22 representatives who voted against sending a letter to President Adams in support of his policies. The group explained its action in The Dissent of the Minority, of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, From the Address to the President of the United States, Adopted by Said House, December, 1798 (Philadelphia, 1799). When Republicans gained control of the House in 1799, Weaver was elected speaker, a position he held until 1803, when he became state treasurer. In 1808, Weaver began serving in the state senate. He is credited with writing Experience the Test of Government: In Eighteen Essays. Written During the years 1805 and 1806. To Aid the Investigation of Principles, and Operation of the Existing Constitution and Laws of Pennsylvania, published by William Duane in Philadelphia in 1807. The advertisement published in the volume called attention to the “enormous abuses” that flowed from the “exorbitant power vested in the executive” (Pa. Arch. description begins Samuel Hazard and others, eds., Pennsylvania Archives. Selected and Arranged from Original Documents in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Harrisburg, 1852–1935, 119 vols. description ends , 9th ser., 3:1908–9, 2218; PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1877-Preston, Catalogue Daniel Preston, A Comprehensive Catalogue of the Correspondence and Papers of James Monroe, Westport, Conn., 2001, 2 vols. description ends , 62 [1938], 219–21; Journal of the First Session of the Tenth House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Dec. 1799-Mch. 1800 [Lancaster, 1800], 5; Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Dec. 1808–Apr. 1809 [Lancaster, 1809], 4; Weaver to Albert Gallatin, 14 Dec. 1799, in NHi: Gallatin Papers).

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