Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Jackson, 19 November 1802

From James Jackson

Savannah, Novr 19h, 1802.


I have to acknowledge the receipt of your two several favors, since my leaving Congress, the first in May last reached me whilst it was dubious whether I should live or die—a state in which I remained for upwards of ten weeks, a most violent fever succeeded that illness and prevented that answer your high rank & my estimation of your Personal and publick Character immediately demanded—I am happy to find that Mr. Mitchels conduct was placed in that point of view as to give you satisfaction—he is among the foremost of our Republicans and receives the abuse of Federal partizans on that account—One of the supposed Authors of the Story about him and one of the most inveterate enemies of your administration, has since fallen by his hand—Thomas Gibbons whose Character you need not be told has also since I saw you been publickly horsewhipped in the streets of Savanna by Captain Putnam for the attack on him. The Republicans hold their own even at the expence of a little blood in this State & I have no doubt will continue to do so

In compliance with your favor of the 18h Ultimo, I take the liberty to recommend William Bellinger Bulloch and Joseph Welscher Lawyers and Edward Stebbins and John Postel Williamson Merchants as proper persons for Commissioners of bankruptcy for the district of Savannah, all of those Gentlemen are steady Republicans and Men of talents—Another set will be necessary for Augusta, but as I have not been able to compleat a list I must leave the subject until I have the honor to wait on you at Washington, for which place I shall sail via New York on Sunday next

I am Sir with the highest esteem and respect.

Jas Jackson

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “Thos Jefferson President U States”; endorsed by TJ as received 7 Dec. and so recorded in SJL.

your two several favors: see TJ to Jackson, 4 May; TJ’s letter to Jackson, recorded in SJL at 18 Oct., has not been found.

fallen by his hand: David Brydie Mitchell killed William Hunter in a duel on 19 Aug. (Norwich Connecticut Centinel, 14 Sep.; Vol. 37:393n). Federalist Thomas Gibbons, mayor of Savannah during the 1790s, and Jackson were long-standing political adversaries who fought at least one duel, where neither was injured (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; George R. Lamplugh, Politics on the Periphery: Factions and Parties in Georgia, 1783–1806 [Newark, Del., 1986], 81–6, 171–2). For the accusations against Henry Putnam published in the Washington Federalist, see TJ to Abraham Baldwin, 1 May 1802.

After receiving a 10 Dec. letter from Abraham Baldwin acquiescing to Jackson’s choices for commissioners of bankruptcy, TJ sent an undated memorandum to Madison listing the four nominees exactly as given by Jackson and noting at a brace, “all of Savanna, to be Commissioners of bankruptcy for Georgia” (MS in ViU; in TJ’s hand; with check marks in left margin by each name, perhaps by TJ; addressed: “The Secretary of State”). On 13 Dec., the State Department issued commissions to the four Georgians, and TJ added their names to his ongoing list of appointments (list of commissions in Lb in DNA: RG 59, MPTPC; Appendix I).

wait on you at washington: Jackson took his seat in the Senate on 20 Dec., two weeks after Congress convened (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820-21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:241, 247).

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