Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from David Fergusson, 22 September 1801

From David Fergusson

Geo: Town 22d. Septemr. 1801.

Respected Sir,

Having had the Rheumatism a good while, and thereby from another cause, a rupture, has delay’d the papers I wrote you of before,—the result of them will be known in the approaching Session,—I hand You a Petition—which if you think proper to sign and send me I will be much oblidged to you for—if not, any aid you can give me, being much in need of help at this time, and which I am sorry on this occasion goes with the Papers—as it looks unpleasant, unto a retrospect of the circumstances attending on a press of imperious Necessity.

With great Esteem, &c. &c.

David Fergusson

N.B. I called at the House & Mr. [Romaye] told me you wouldn’t be up till 1st Novr.—

RC (DLC); faint; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Oct. and so recorded in SJL.

I Wrote You: see Fergusson to TJ, 10 Aug., for the papers Fergusson promised to send. The five separate proposals—all dated September 1801 and signed “Seven Friends”—called for raising revenues through a variety of taxes, including a post office tax; an additional tax on seamen to support lighthouses and marine hospitals; an additional duty on rum; a receipt tax on bank notes, ranging from 12½ cents on $20 to $50 notes to $1 on notes of $2,000 or more; and a fine of $1,000 per year on counties with churches, especially along the main roads, in disrepair, as they “ought to be either removed or repaired, it being necessary for the Worship of the Supreme Being, and tending to promote Virtue and Morality, and suppress Vice and licentiousness” (MSS in DLC; in Fergusson’s hand; endorsed and numbered by Fergusson on verso).

I Hand You a Petition: in his brief request, also dated 22 Sep., Fergusson entreated: “Having the Rheumatism & a rupture, and at the present time in distress for aid—your subscription unto this will much oblidge, and not injure a generous and humane Heart” (MS in DLC; in Fergusson’s hand and signed by him; endorsed by Fergusson on verso: “Petition”).

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