Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Browne Cutting, 20 April 1801

From John Browne Cutting

Antigua 20 April 1801


The elevation of their fellow citizen to preside among millions of intelligent freemen—over a cluster of genuine republics, obedient, members of one great, durable, and growing Empire—is doubtless a dignified and dignifying Spectacle. The philosophic contemplate it with hope, and it is an object that fills a wide space in the eye of mankind

But to the Individual (like myself) an equal lover of order and liberty, who can appreciate the advantages resulting from the periodical election of a powerful yet responsible first Magistrate to the great body of our Nation (a people who from reflection and habit cherish in their hearts a love for republican systems of government)—this event becomes yet more interesting. And, if in addition to patriotic motives of joy and congratulation, the Individual notices such an event under an aspect of partiality for the character and predilection for the politics of the eminent Magistrate thus chosen: if he soberly believes too that a crisis in the Mind and affairs of Man approaches, involving forms and indeed the essence of government through out the Globe; and shou’d also be of opinion that a faithful administration of the Constitution of our western portion of it by an upright and truly republican President at this juncture may establish the happy condition of his own Country, and have no small influence upon the future freedom and welfare of other Republics—impress’d by such feelings and opinions he will fervently rejoice, as I do, Sir, that You are President of the United States of America.

I have long had the pleasure to be with sentiments of public veneration & private esteem

Your faithful and obedient Servant

John Browne Cutting

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson President of the U. States”; endorsed by TJ as received 19 Jan. 1802 and so recorded in SJL.

John Browne Cutting (ca. 1755–1831), a native of Boston, met TJ in 1787, when Cutting was in London studying law, and the two corresponded for several years. As secretary of state, TJ had supported Cutting’s claim against the government for monies spent for the relief of Americans impressed by the British navy. Cutting received only $2,000 of the more than $7,000 he claimed. He would continue to press his claim, however, and wrote TJ again in 1824 for his assistance (Heitman, Register description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1793, new ed., Washington, D.C., 1914 description ends , 183; National Intelligencer, 4 Feb. 1831; Cutting to TJ, 22 June 1824 in DLC; Vol. 12:321–2; Vol. 18:313–17; Vol. 23:104–6).

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