Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Morse, 9 August 1802

From Samuel Morse

Savannah, 9th. Augt 1802.

Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure to inclose you a copy of an oration delivered on the 3d of July, the day chosen by the citizens of this place for the commemoration of our independence. This oration is the very hasty production of a young friend of mine, who is now aid to gen. Jackson. I pursuade myself that you will receive some pleasure in the evidence he gives of the firmness of his republicanism, though, taking the impressions in a different sense, he disagrees with you on the subject of the unanimity of national sentiment.

I think I do not decieve myself in believing you take some little interest in my welfare, and that when I inform you I have been severely ill and am not yet recovered, it will not be obtruding information in which you have no interest. Our press not having yet arrived from Philadelphia, the paper is not yet commenced; to what the disappointment is owing I cannot divine, but hope it will soon be removed.

My weakness prevents my extending this letter to some subjects on which reflections have arisen but when blessed with renewed health, any information in my power will be fully communicated.

With the sincerest affection & respect Yours

Saml Morse

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Th: Jefferson Esq. President”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 Aug. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Thomas U. P. Charlton, Oration in Commemoration of American Independence; Delivered at the Exchange, in the City of Savannah, July 3d, 1802 (Savannah, 1802; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 4682).

VERY HASTY PRODUCTION OF A YOUNG FRIEND OF MINE: Thomas U. P. Charlton dedicated his Independence Day oration, written “on the spur of the occasion” and “in the course of a few hours,” to the Republicans of Chatham County, Georgia. He challenged TJ’s idea of coalition as expressed in the first inaugural address and deemed it the “meek and conciliatory language of a great and benevolent Statesman.” Instead, Charlton urged Democratic-Republicanism to rely on its own strength (Oration, preface, 9–10, 12; Vol. 33:479).

PAPER IS NOT YET COMMENCED: Morse, who had suffered from measles earlier in the year, formed a printing partnership with James Lyon and published the first issue of the Savannah Georgia Republican & State Intelligencer on 21 Aug. 1802. TJ paid Morse $6 on 6 June 1802 for a year’s subscription and continued to subscribe until 1809 (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1074; Vol. 32:34; Vol. 36:655).

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