Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Bacon, 11 April 1803

From John Bacon

Stockbridge April 11. 1803

Honored Sir,

I recollect that during the last session of Congress, I transmitted to you two letters which I recd from Mr Sergeant, Missionary to a tribe of Indians in the State of New York, and that you did me the honor to request a continuation of those communications, from time to time, as I should receive them. The letters which I then transmitted to you were the first of the kind which I had recd from that quarter. Since my return to this place I have recd another from the same hand, which I shall here inclose. Previous to, and during our late revolutionary war, the tribe to which Mr Sergeant is missionary, resided in this town.—You are probably, in some measure acquainted with the character of Hendrick. He is reputed to be a man of talents and discernment, and, I believe, of integrity.

Our political prospects in this Commonwealth, it is believed, are not less favorable than they have been for two years past. I have not recd information respecting the votes that were given in on monday last for Governor, Lieut Governor, Counsellors and Senators, in distant parts of the state. It is expected, however, that there is a majority in favor of those who are called federalists. In this district, I believe there is no reason to doubt but that there is a decent majority in favor of democratial republicanism. I do not consider the number of votes given for Governor, or even for Counsellors and Senators, as an accurate criterion by which to judge of the real state of political sentiment with us. Mr Strong’s personal popularity is such as has, apparently, considerable influence on the votes which are given for all public officers who are elected by the same men, and at the same time, with the Governor.

It seems to have been rather unhappy that letters written from Washington by citizens of this state had not been received by our friends then in Boston, at an earlier period.—Different arrangements had been previously contemplated by them, and the system so far advanced that it was judged most prudent to proceed as they had first proposed.

I am, with sentiments of high respect, Your obedient humble Servant,

John Bacon

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Apr. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

For the two letters related to the Stockbridge Mohican Indians, see TJ to Henry Dearborn, 15 Feb. While serving as vice president, TJ had met with hendrick Aupaumut, the sachem of the Stockbridge Mohicans (Vol. 30:249).

In planning for the 1803 state elections, Massachusetts Republicans differed on whom to nominate for governor and whether they should make a full effort to unseat Caleb Strong, the incumbent Federalist. Strong won easily, having even received the endorsement of boston Republicans, and carried the other state offices and many senate districts with him. When the legislature convened on 25 May, Federalists retained a healthy majority of about 50 votes in the house of representatives, though the Boston Gazetteer, a Republican sheet, noted that Republicans had increased their tally from 71 to 73 seats (Boston New-England Palladium, 8 Apr. 1803; Boston Gazette, 12 May 1803; Boston Gazetteer, 28 May 1803; Paul Goodman, The Democratic-Republicans of Massachusetts: Politics in a Young Republic [Cambridge, Mass., 1964], 129).

Index Entries