Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Gideon Granger, 20 May 1803

To Gideon Granger

Washington May 20. 1803.

Dear Sir

I recieved last night yours of the 13th. and rejoice that in some forms, tho’ not in all, republicanism shows progress in Connecticut. as Clerical bondage is the root of the evil, I have more hopes, from the petition you inclosed me, of seeing that loosened, than from any other agency. the lawyers, the other pillar of federalism, are from the nature of their calling so ready to take either side, that as soon as they see as much, or perhaps more money to be got on one side than the other, they will tack over. the clergy are unwilling to exchange the certain resource of legal compulsion for the uncertain one of their own merit & industry. altho’ the solidity & duration of republicanism in these states is so certain, that I would [. . .] give one dollar to ensure it’s ascendancy during our lives, yet the three federal states of New England withdrawn from their affections to the constituted authorities, form a stock on which the feeble branches of federalism in the other states engraft themselves, nourish their malcontent habits, & keep open the bleeding wounds of society. their recognition therefore of their own principles in those from whom they have been persuaded to separate is desirable as well to harmonize as to consolidate the strength of the Union. it is possible my letter may have led you into an error in which I may have been myself. it is now said by the federalists that another tory Lewis is elected in opposition to Moore. and they make it probable by stating the fact that another republican candidate took from Moore 400. votes, which gave a majority of 200. to Lewis when Moore would otherwise have had a majority of 200. if this be true, we shall have 4. federalists out of 22. in Congress. this is the more curious as in our legislature we shall have but 15. out of 200. but the fact is that there is so little federalism in Virginia that it is not feared, nor attended to, nor a principle of voting. what little we have is in the string of presbyterian counties in the valley between the blue ridge & North mountain where the clergy are as bitter as they are in Connecticut. our advices from Paris & London are to the last of March. war, tho’ deprecated by Buonaparte, will hardly be avoided. Accept my friendly salutations & respects.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); torn; at foot of text: “Gideon Granger esq.”

Election results for Virginia’s fifth congressional district indicated that Thomas lewis, Federalist, received 1,004 votes; former Republican congressman Andrew moore, 832; and John Woodward, a delegate representing Monroe County in the Virginia Assembly and identified as a Federalist, 423. On 18 May, several newspapers reported that Moore had experienced “foul play” in one or two counties and that Lewis was not “legally elected.” On 17 Oct., however, Lewis was sworn in as a member of Congress. Almost a month later, Moore petitioned the House, complaining of the “undue election and return of Thomas Lewis.” The complaint was submitted to the Committee on Elections, along with other depositions, papers, and petitions from Kanawha, Greenbrier, Rockbridge, and Augusta counties during the following weeks. On 5 Mch. 1804, the House supported the election committee’s findings that after deducting the “unqualified votes from the respective polls,” Moore had received the highest number of votes and was duly elected. Moore took his seat in the House the same day (Richmond Virginia Argus, 18 May; National Intelligencer, 18 May; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, Richmond, 1978 description ends , 224; Dubin, Congressional Elections description begins Michael J. Dubin, United States Congressional Elections, 1788–1997: The Official Results of the Elections of the 1st through 105th Congresses , Jefferson, N.C., 1998 description ends , 28; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:401–3, 442, 452, 509, 617–19). For the 1 Mch. report of the Committee on Elections and subsequent debate, see Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States…Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled…by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 13:1082–6, 1089–92. For Moore’s career, see Vol. 35:26n.

north mountain: that is, “one of the ridges of the Alleghany Mountains, which extends through Virginia and Pennsylvania” (Jedidiah Morse, The American Gazetteer, 2d ed. [Charlestown, Mass., 1804]). For TJ’s definition, see Notes, ed. Peden description begins Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. William Peden, Chapel Hill, 1955 description ends , 20.

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