Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Caesar A. Rodney, 19 December 1802

From Caesar A. Rodney

Wilmington Decr. 19th. 1802.

Honored & Dear Sir,

You were so good as to subscribe One hundred dollars to the Seminary at this place. I enclose you an advertisement on the subject.

Our Feds have not yet agreed on their Senator. Your message is read with great avidity. Our friends are delighted with the good news which it proclaims & our enemies I beleive consider it invulnerable, as they are yet silent as the grave about it. Bayard will not take his seat until the Courts are over & until I suspect his will & pleasure are known on the subject of senators. If he possesses any one quality of a statesman he will limit his indecorous language in the house this winter

I feel an inclination to visit Washington during the Session, in order to gather information & to collect that knowledge which may be beneficial to the general cause hereafter: To understand the characters of many with whom I have no acquaintance that I may not enter the house entirely ignorant of men & their real situation. I wish to brighten the chain with our friends whose experience will be of more use than a volume written on the subject. I fear I shall not be able to accomplish my wishes as my business call for all the attention my health will enable me to bestow. With affectionate regard I am Dr. Sir

Yours most Sincerely

C. A. Rodney

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 22 Dec. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: perhaps the advertisement placed by James Lea, secretary of the board of trustees of the Wilmington Academy, dated 10 Dec., calling on subscribers to pay the sums promised either to the gentlemen who took their subscriptions or to Henry Latimer, treasurer of the academy (printed in Wilmington Mirror of the Times, & General Advertiser, 18 Dec. 1802).

seminary at this place: according to his financial records, TJ subscribed $100 to the Wilmington Academy on 11 July (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 , 2:1077). The academy, which was opened in 1766 and chartered in 1773, was closed for several years during the Revolutionary War, but reopened in 1781. It closed again in 1798 after the departure of the principal. An address to the public on behalf of the Wilmington Academy, dated 31 July 1802, and signed by Gunning Bedford, Jr., president of the board of trustees, and James Lea, secretary, called for the revival of the academy with a system of education “on a scale commensurate with every useful object” and with the “circle of the sciences” as complete as resources permitted. The trustees sought contributions not only from the citizens of Delaware, but from “all lovers of science and patrons of literature” in the United States (Wilmington Mirror of the Times, 4 Aug.; John A. Munroe, Federalist Delaware, 1775–1815 [New Brunswick, N.J., 1954], 171–3; Anna T. Lincoln, Wilmington, Delaware: Three Centuries under Four Flags, 1609–1937 [Rutland, Vt., 1937; repr. Port Washington, N.Y., 1972], 322–3).

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