Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joseph Bloomfield, 10 November 1801

From Joseph Bloomfield

Trenton November 10th 1801.

Most respected Sir,

It is my misfortune to feel the necessity of addressing you this letter, without being personally known to you. I must rely on your adherence to Republican principles and men, as the ground on which its propriety may rest.

The same spirit which has lately pervaded the union and changed the Administration of the general government, has had its proportionate effects in the State of New-Jersey. Men of like principle, who resisted the progress of dangerous innovations and who have by firmness and temperate means, placed you in the seat of our federal government, have bestowed on me the responsible office I now hold.

Presuming you must feel pleasure in the recollection of those characters, who have contributed by their exertions and influence in turning the tide of public opinion; induces me, to request your attention, to the services of Mr. Stephen Sayre. He was active for several months before the general election of the last year, on which we conceived depended the salvation of our beloved country, in the choice of a President; the majority in the Legislature, who choose Electors, were against us:—We however continued, by all means in our power, to give information to the People, and succeeded in the Congressional election; it is impossible to say what the vote of this State would have been, on the most solemn occasion, had not the sentiments of the people of New-Jersey been declared, before that important day.

Mr Sayre’s past services, in support of the rights of Man, his Republican principles, integrity and capacity, entitle him to public notice. I have nothing in my gift, that I could ask him to take; but the President of the Union, may possibly bestow some thing worthy Mr. Sayre’s acceptance.

I cannot add to the high respect & esteem, with which, I am, most truly and sincerely, Your friend & Fellow Citizen

Joseph Bloomfield.

RC (DLC); in an unidentified hand, with closing and signature in Bloomfield’s hand; at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 Nov. and so recorded in SJL with notation “Govr. Trenton.”

Joseph Bloomfield (1753–1823), born in Woodbridge, New Jersey, was a lawyer and veteran of the Revolutionary War who became attorney general for his state, achieved prominence as one of its Federalist leaders, and served as a presidential elector for George Washington in 1792. After growing disillusioned with Federalist policies under John Adams, he declared himself a Republican in 1797, although lingering suspicions of his Federalist ties haunted him for the rest of his life. As chairman of New Jersey’s Republican nominating convention in 1800, he became a spokesman for his state party to the Jefferson administration, expressing his opinion on patronage appointments. Bloomfield became the state’s first Republican governor in 1801 (Paul A. Stellhorn and Michael J. Birkner, eds., The Governors of New Jersey 1664–1974: Biographical Essays [Trenton, 1982], 85–8; ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Vol. 33:184n).

Proportionate Effects in the state of New-Jersey: in 1801 the Republicans gained ascendancy in New Jersey as the result of the introduction of the caucus system early in the year and the election of a Republican governor and a majority in the legislature in October (Carl E. Prince, New Jersey’s Jeffersonian Republicans: The Genesis of an Early Party Machine, 1789–1817 [Chapel Hill, 1967], 89, 98–100).

Stephen sayre: see Sayre to TJ, 8 Oct., and Sayre to James Madison, 30 Oct., requesting him to remind TJ that his services had still gone unrewarded (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 2:213).

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