Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Page, 23 March 1801

To John Page

Washington Mar. 23. 1801.

My dear friend

Your’s of Feb. 1 did not reach me until Feb. 28. and a press of business has retarded my acknoleging it. I sincerely thank you for your congratulations on my election, but this is only the first verse of the chapter. what the last may be nobody can tell. a consciousness that I feel no wish but to do what is best, without passion or predilection, encourages me to hope for an indulgent construction of what I do. I had in General Washington’s time proposed you as Director of the Mint, and therefore should the more readily have turned to you had a vacancy now happened. but that institution continuing at Philada, because the legislature have not taken up the subject in time to decide on it, it will of course remain full till this time twelvemonth. should it then be removed, the present director would probably, & the Treasurer certainly resign. it would give me great pleasure to employ the talents & integrity of Dr. Tucker in the latter office.

I am very much in hopes we shall be able to restore union & harmony to our country. not indeed that the desperado leaders can be brought over. they are incurables. but I really hope their followers may. the belief that these last were real republicans, carried over from us by French excesses, induced me to offer a political creed, & to invite to conciliation on that plan. and I am pleased to hear, that these principles are recognised by them, and considered as no bar of separation. a moderate conduct therefore, which may not revolt our new friends, which may give them time to cement with us, must be observed. some removals must take place; but on such principles as will not shock them.

Present my respects to mrs Page, and accept assurances of my constant and affectionate esteem.

Th: Jefferson

RC (Charles E. Kern II, South Merritt Island, Cocoa, Florida, 1956); addressed: “John Page esquire Rosewell near Gloucester. Virginia”; franked and postmarked; endorsed by Page as received 29 Mch. PrC (DLC).

As a congressman in 1792 Page had been active in the debates over the creation of the mint and successfully argued that an image of Liberty, rather than a portrait of the president of the United States, should appear on U.S. coins. Early in 1793 TJ sent Page a copy of David Rittenhouse’s report on assays of foreign coins. TJ probably suggested Page as director of the Mint in 1795 when Rittenhouse resigned and his successor, Henry William DeSaussure, left the post after four months. Elias Boudinot received the appointment. Benjamin Rush, who had declined to succeed Rittenhouse as director, became treasurer of the Mint in 1797 on Boudinot’s recommendation. In the autumn of 1801 TJ offered Thomas Tudor Tucker, who had served in Congress with Page, the position of treasurer of the United States (George Adams Boyd, Elias Boudinot: Patriot and Statesman, 1740–1821 [Princeton, 1952], 170, 198, 224–5, 232–3; Biog. Dir. Cong.; Vol. 25:33n; TJ to Tucker, 31 Oct. 1801).

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