Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Pierce Butler, 19 September 1801

From Pierce Butler

Philada. Septbr. the 19th. 1801

Dear Sir

It will not be amiss for You to read the inclosed, which I recd yesterday. please to destroy it when read—It was not very prudent, nor very dignified in Mr. P. to assail You through another person. If he felt true independence of mind he woud unreservedly have stated to You any measure that he consider’d adviseable to be adopted in the State he represented. It might be well for himself if he had a more correct sense of personal Character. I anex my answer to the inclosed

With the highest esteem Yr Sincere friend

P. B—

I purpose being at the Federal City the middle of October

RC (DLC); with Enclosure No. 2 subjoined on same sheet below postscript; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Oct. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Aaron Burr to Butler, New York, 16 Sep. 1801, writing that following conversations with Charles Pinckney the previous March in Washington “respecting some Changes which he wished to take place in certain offices in S.C.,” he had presented Pinckney’s recommendations to the president, but could not learn that any of the proposed changes have been made nor recall any of the persons recommended except Daniel D’Oyley; Burr has heard from several South Carolina “gentlemen” that only Butler can “successfully oppose General Pinckney as federal Senator” (RC in DLC; see also Vol. 33:332n). (2) Butler to Burr, 19 Sep. 1801, declaring that removals “should be done sparingly and only where necessary”; while many appointments by Washington and Adams were undoubtedly “partial,” it would be imprudent to follow their example because “Every man removed adds twenty enemies to republicanism and the present administration, while it adds nothing to our friends”; moderation will prove to the “great body of the landed interest, the true support of good government, that the present administration are the friends of an equal, mild, economical, and just government”; Butler’s offering for the Senate is “out of the question, but I am not, nor shall I be inactive on that occasion” (Tr in same; in unidentified hand).

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