Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Clinton, 9 February 1802

From George Clinton

Albany 9th. February 1802.

Dear Sir

My Nephew Mr. DeWitt Clinton will have the honor of delivering you this Letter. permit me to recommend him to your friendly Notice—He was this Day appointed a Senator from this State in the Congress of the United States (in the Room of Mr. Armstrong—who had recently resigned his Seat in that Body) and will immediately set out for the Seat of Government—It is reasonable to conclude that I feel a partiality for him as well from the consanguinity that exists between us as from his having at a very early period of Life been of my Family in the confidential Capacity of my private Secretary; But I can with great Truth assure you that these Considerations have no influence upon me in giving you his Character—His present Appointment (which was by a very large majority) as well as the different elective Offices which he had previously filled afford good Evidence of his possessing the Confidence of his Fellow Citizens—His political Principles are pure, and he has too much Integrity ever to deviate from them: nor will you find him destitute of Talents & Information

I am with great Esteem & Respect Yours sincerely

Geo Clinton

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 23 Feb. and so recorded in SJL.

DeWitt Clinton delivered this letter to TJ on 23 Feb., the same day he produced his credentials and took his seat in the Senate (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:184).

Very large majority: by a 68 to 25 vote on 9 Feb., the members of the New York assembly chose DeWitt Clinton as their candidate to replace John Armstrong in the U.S. Senate. The state senate chose Matthew Clarkson, but Clinton won the joint vote of the two houses. Clinton was serving as a state senator from Queens County and as a member of the state’s Council of Appointment at the time of his election (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Journal of the Senate of the State of New-York: At Their Twenty-Fifth Session, Begun and Held at the City of Albany, the Twenty-Sixth Day of January, 1802 [Albany, 1802], 3, 22; Journal of the Assembly of the State of New-York: At Their Twenty-Fifth Session, Began and Held at the City of Albany, the Twenty-Sixth Day of January, 1802 [Albany, 1802], 64–6).

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