Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from "Honesty," [before 4 June 1802]

From “Honesty”

[before 4 June 1802]


If you would turn your attention to men & their intrigues. you would give Sattisfaction to your best freinds. honest your self you cannot judge of the baseness of others. you are under a delusion in Suposeing by your continuing sertain men in their officises to conciliate all partys. you are only nourishing vipers who will sting you when oppertunity offers—the true republicans tho they are not willing to own you in an error—are allmost in despair at your neglect of them. you have I know a difficult part to act, one man begs you to keep him in his place, another gains the interest of a few to solicit for him, the Mr. Bittles […] to such prevailing power, Mr. Dallas has talents that [would] be serviceable to any party, time will prove him […] true or not, he has had no temptations to swerve as the republicans have allways suported him, his bosom freind swift was an ennimy to his country untill interest reversed his creed—are such to be trusted, they are not the voic of the people, give your own freinds some Imoluments— it will make them more Influentiall, they will then be firm, philadelphans will never forget the fast day Major Macpherson called forth his soldiers & armed them against the people—



RC (DLC); undated; torn at seal; endorsed by TJ “Anon. from Phila for removg. all federalists” and so recorded in SJL. Recorded in SJL as received 4 June.

THE MR. BITTLES: perhaps a reference to Charles Biddle, a Federalist who was appointed to a minor office by Governor McKean and served as prothonotary of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, and the Revolutionary War veteran Clement Biddle, a Philadelphia merchant to whom President Washington entrusted much of his Philadelphia business. He served as U.S. marshal for Pennsylvania from 1789 to 1793 (Rowe, McKean description begins G. S. Rowe, Thomas McKean, The Shaping of an American Republicanism, Boulder, Colo., 1978 description ends , 322; Higginbotham, Pennsylvania Politics description begins Sanford W. Higginbotham, The Keystone in the Democratic Arch: Pennsylvania Politics 1800–1816, Harrisburg, 1952 description ends , 60; Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:152n; ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Washington, Papers description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, Charlottesville, 1983–, 53 vols. description ends , Pres. Ser., 1:27; Robinson, Philadelphia Directory for 1802, 29; Vol. 27:108–9, 117).

District Attorney Alexander J. DALLAS had formerly served as secretary under governors Mifflin and McKean. BOSOM FREIND SWIFT: possibly attorney Charles Swift, who served as Philadelphia register and probate of wills (Rowe, McKean description begins G. S. Rowe, Thomas McKean, The Shaping of an American Republicanism, Boulder, Colo., 1978 description ends , 304–6; Robinson, Philadelphia Directory for 1802, 237; Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 5 Feb. 1801; DHSC description begins Maeva Marcus and others, eds., The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800, New York, 1985–2007, 8 vols. description ends , v. 1, pt. 1:194n). William McPherson (MACPHERSON), naval officer at Philadelphia and militia commander of “McPherson’s Blues,” led the military expedition against John Fries (see Vol. 34:426–8).

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