Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Stephen Sayre, 27 March 1801

From Stephen Sayre

[Phila]a. 27th Mar: 1801


Mr D. informs [me], that you gave him reason to beleive, you were disposed to do [me] that justice, which my country has, so long deny’d me—I m[ea]n, so far as you have power to do it—at the same time, he advises me to inclose you, one of his papers, in which, my case is stated in part—but after you have done me the honor of reading it, with attention,—beleive me—the half has not been told you.

Yesterday, I had some conversation with Chavalier D.U—he has advised me to think of the Natches—says he will, in the course of some few weeks, speak to you on the subject—let his reasons for doing so be what they may—you will give them weight no farther, than you deem me capable of doing you honor, & service to the nation.

My long experience might, probably, be very useful in an infant government—I should exert all my faculties, to give it, the great principle of honor, & plant the seeds of virtue, in its virgin soil.

Much will depend on your governor—he may do injury, to our national character, or raise it into dignity, among our neibours, by giving a proper, or improper tone, to the manners of the people.

I am respectfully

Stephen Sayre

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); torn at fold; at foot of text: “Thos. Jefferson Esqr. P. of U. Sta[tes]”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Apr. and so recorded in SJL as “Mar. 27. & 27.,” indicating that two letters of that date were received, with the notation “Off. N.” Enclosure not found, but see below.

According to SJL and TJ’s endorsements, on 16 Apr. the president received two letters from Sayre dated 27 Mch. Sayre, however, clearly dated the first letter that TJ received on 16 Apr. as one of 21 Mch. In neither letter did Sayre make reference to an enclosure from Anthony F. Taylor, a Jeffersonian from Bordentown, New Jersey. But TJ’s endorsement on a letter from Taylor to Sayre of 26 Dec. 1800 indicates that it was enclosed in Sayre’s letter of 27 Mch. Taylor reported on election returns in the eastern part of New Jersey, concluding that “the Feds will be Jefferson’d & Burr’d.” He had just received news that there would be a Republican majority in Monmouth County and observed in closing that “The Feds are Cursedly in the Dumps here” (RC in same; endorsed by TJ on verso of address sheet: “Sayre Stephen inclusa in his lre of Mar. 27. 1801”). In April 1801, Sayre wrote Gallatin recommending Taylor for an appointment in New Jersey (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 4:762–3).

Mr D.: probably William Duane (Vol. 32:457). Chavalier D.U: Sayre referred to the Chevalier de Irujo as “Chavalier de Urico” (Sayre to TJ, 5 Feb. 1801, noted at Vol. 32:457n).

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