Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Caesar A. Rodney, 6 October 1802

From Caesar A. Rodney

Wilmington Octob. 6. 1802.

Honored & Dear Sir,

Since I last wrote to you I have been on the verge of the grave. I was taken ill at Dover on my way to Sussex, early in September (a most unfortunate period) & was confined ten days to my bed. Since I came home, I have had the enclosed pamphlet published which is I understand producing good effects.

Our election took place yesterday throughout the state. In this County there were more votes taken than ever known before & the majority for Democracy larger than at any former election.

Total number of votes recd. 2,371.
For J: A. Bayard 707 
For C: A. Rodney 1,664.

Leaving us a majority of 957 to ballance the Federal majorities of Kent & Sussex. Whether it will or not I think somewhat uncertain. Last year 783 was more than sufficient, but in Kent the Federalists then had but 63. of a majority. This year I fear the result there for reasons with which you are acquainted

I inclose you a letter from the late Chanc: of this State, a venerable old whig. A few lines in reply will be gratifying him to he[ar.]

Octob. 7.

By the mail I have the Kent Polls. As I expected Bayard is 219. ahead. This majority is four times as great as any they have had these eight yrs past. You will be sensible of the reason of this change. This renders the state election doubtful & at all events secures Bayard a safe birth in the Senate.

In Sussex there are 2,346 votes. 700. are polled & I am yet 30. votes ahead there, but they are from favourable hundreds.

Every nerve has been strained by them. Their old paper printed by Smith has been revived & a new one the “Ark” set up, compared with which Callenders & Porcupines are chaste.

Octob. 9. 1802.

The result of our contest is now known. The majorities stand thus,

In new-Castle Coy. for C. A. Rodney 957
In Kent for J. A. Bayard 219 } 942
In Sussex for J. A. Bayard 723
Majo’y. for C. A. Rodney  15

With great esteem & respect Yours most Sincerely

C. A. Rodney

RC (DLC); clipped at margins. Recorded in SJL as received 13 Oct. Enclosure: William Killen to TJ, 4 Sep. 1802. For other enclosure, see Rodney to TJ, 15 Oct. 1802.

SECURES BAYARD A SAFE BIRTH IN THE SENATE: the Federalists continued to control the Delaware General Assembly after the election of 1802, allowing them to fill the U.S. Senate seat held by Samuel White, a Federalist, whose term was expiring. James A. Bayard decided not to be a candidate, and in January 1803 the general assembly reelected White (Morton Borden, The Federalism of James A. Bayard [New York, 1955], 135–6, 141–2; Journal of the Senate of the State of Delaware, at a Session of the General Assembly, Commenced and Holden at Dover, on Tuesday the Fourth Day of January, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Three [Dover, Del., 1803], 12–15; Vol. 35:207–8n).

OLD PAPER: for a time in 1802, William C. Smyth suspended publication of the Wilmington Monitor; or, Delaware Federalist, which had been in existence since 1 Feb. 1800. The revival of the newspaper was short-lived, the last extant issue being that of 1 Sep. 1802. NEW ONE: William Black established The Federal Ark in Dover, Delaware, in September 1802. Smyth joined Black as publisher of the new paper for a few months in 1803, after it was moved to Wilmington (Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, Worcester, Mass., 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 1:77, 83–5).

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