Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Caesar A. Rodney, 15 October 1802

From Caesar A. Rodney

Wilmington Octob. 15th. 1802.

Honored & Dear Sir,

Enclosed is the pamphlet which ought to have accompanied my last. I should like to have an opportunity of giving you a history of the electioneering business. It would take a quire of paper to do it, & I must defer it, until I have the pleasure of seeing you. Tho’ our majority be small, I trust it is an important victory which the Opposition will sensibly feel. By the Polls it appears that the Fedl. candidate did not keep pace with his ticket in either New Castle or Kent Counties whilst the Republican candidate was ahead of his in all the Counties. Falsehoods calumnies & abuse, the usual weapons in a lost cause, have been lavished upon us all during the contest. Mr. Bayard is held up as a demi-god by their “Ark” & the character of the state is destroyed, in consequence of his losing his election. With great esteem I am Dr. Sir

Yours most Sincerely

C. A. Rodney

P.S. Permit me to mention the names of Mr. Bonsal who is a bookseller in Baltimore & his partner Mr. Niles who resides here as young men of quaker families whose zeal & uniformity entitle them to notice & attention. They have printed the pamphlet enclosed & a great number of other things during the contest. Mr. Niles with my friend J. Warner signed the certificate relative to H. Latimer which I see printed in Duane’s paper of yesterday & which was printed in a hand bill by Mr. Niles who drew up the comments which followed the certificate a few days before the election. It had a wonderful effect.

I mention these facts of those gentlemen as Administration may do them some service without going out of that path of rectitude which I trust will ever mark their course.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 16 Oct. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Authentic Information Relative to the Conduct of the Present & Last Administrations of the United States by “A Friend to Liberty, Peace & Economy,” printed by Bonsal and Niles, with statements of the savings made by TJ and Congress as documented, in part, by the 18 Mch. 1802 letter of New York congressman Theodorus Bailey to his constituents; using committee reports and the journals of the House to compare the Republican and Federalist stands on repeal of internal taxes and redemption of the public debt in 1802 and the passage of the stamp tax, the land tax, the $5,000,000 loan, additional duties on salt, and other legislation from 1797 to 1799, always highlighting James A. Bayard’s vote with the Federalists; concluding with a statement of the tax savings the people of Delaware would experience through the repeal of internal taxes and the judiciary act, a total of $11,463.10, and observing that by TJ’s “prudent measures” Delaware will save more than the $10,500 annual expense of the state government “by lopping off oppressive taxes and useless offices” (Wilmington, Del., 1802; Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819, New York, 1958–63, 22 vols. description ends , No. 1792), 3–32.

Vincent BONSAL and Hezekiah NILES had offices in Wilmington, Delaware, and Baltimore. Niles had served an apprenticeship with Benjamin Johnson, a Wilmington printer, book binder, and bookseller, and gained the reputation of being “the quickest, most efficient typesetter in America.” In 1799, Bonsal and Niles printed the Wilmington Delaware Gazette, and from 1799 to 1804 they printed and sold almanacs, including the Bonsal and Niles’ Town and Country Almanac, in both cities (see Evans, description begins Charles Evans, Clifford K. Shipton, and Roger P. Bristol, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from . . . 1639 . . . to . . . 1820, Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–59, 14 vols. description ends No. 36442; Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819, New York, 1958–63, 22 vols. description ends , Nos. 313, 880, 1432, 1923, 3853–5, 7379; ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends , s.v. “Niles, Hezekiah”; Cornelius William Stafford, The Baltimore Directory, for 1803 [Baltimore, 1803], 20–1; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, Worcester, Mass., 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 1:81). For other publications printed by them, see Vol. 36:220n, 239n.

On 2 Oct., Niles and Wilmington Republican merchant John WARNER signed a certificate claiming that Henry LATIMER, a Delaware senator from 1795 to 1801, had declared in their presence that farmers, mechanics, and laborers in the United States lived too well, consuming roasted meats, coffee, and tea and “that they must be reduced to the same state as the peasants of Ireland, Who Live on Herrings and Potatoes.” Latimer continued, “that rather than live under such an administration as Jefferson’s He would remove to the dominions of the Empress Kate of Russia.” Niles commented that TJ’s system of economy in government would “enable the people to live yet better, and have more leisure to bestow in contemplating upon, and acting in, public affairs—and all this in direct contradiction and defiance of the principles of Mr. Latimer” and other leaders of the Federalist party (Philadelphia Aurora, 12 Oct. 1802; John A. Munroe, Federalist Delaware, 1775–1815 [New Brunswick, N.J., 1954], 213, 252).

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