Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the Aliens of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, 2 May 1801

To the Aliens of Beaver County, Pennsylvania

Washington May 2. 1801.


The satisfaction which, in the name of the foreigners residing in Beaver county, you are pleased to express in my appointment to the Presidency of the United States, the expectations you form of the character of my administration, and your kind wishes for my happiness demand my sincere thanks.   born in other countries, yet believing you could be happier in this, our laws acknolege, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming, as I doubt not you will do, to our established rules. that these rules shall be as equal as prudential considerations will admit, will certainly be the aim of our legislatures, general & particular. to unequal privileges among members of the same society the spirit of our nation is, with one accord adverse. if the unexampled state of the world has in any instance occasioned among us temporary departures from the system of equal rule, the restoration of tranquility will doubtless produce reconsideration: & your own knolege of the liberal conduct heretofore observed towards strangers settling among us will warrant the belief that what is right will be done. accept a reciprocation of wishes for your present & future1 welfare, & assurances of my high consideration & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Hugh White esq. chairman.” Enclosed in TJ to Hugh White, 2 May, apologizing for the delayed reply to the 15 Mch. address from the aliens of Beaver County and explaining that it “came here soon after my departure to my residence in Virginia, where some arrangements were indispensably requisite previous to my settlement here, where I arrived two days ago only” (PrC in same, at foot of text: “Hugh White esq.”; Tr in MoSHi: Jefferson Papers).

White wrote TJ on 24 Feb. 1802, thanking the president for his “very obliging answer” to the Beaver County address and informing TJ that it was read publicly to a July 4th gathering. The immigrant audience was “highly pleasd with the assurances you gave, of their Speedy Elevation to the Rank of Citizens & men.” White also asked TJ’s assistance in having the reply published “in the Aurora or any other Republican paper.” White concluded: “As Thousands of aliens have arrivd Last year, it Would be highly gratifying that they had a Sincere freind in the presidant of the united States” (RC in MoSHi: Jefferson Papers; endorsed by TJ as received 26 Mch. 1802 and so recorded in SJL). TJ’s reply appeared in the 8 June 1802 Aurora, which identified the recipients as “a number of Irish Emigrants, resident in Pennsylvania.”

1TJ here canceled “happiness.”

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