Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John S. Lillie, 12 October 1803

From John S. Lillie

Boston Octor: 12th. 1803


When I was Editor of the News Paper called the Constitutional Telegraphe, I sent it on to you, as did Docr. Parker, who was the original Editor of that Paper. I should not at this late period have thought of forwarding my Bill to You, which I have inclosed in this Letter, but for my misfortunes. I have suffered, Sir, very much in consequence of my too ardent zeal in the Republican cause, & am willing, if it should be necessary, still to suffer more, neither the neglect of my Republican friends, nor the contumely or contempt of my federal enimies; will, I trust, ever induce me to alter my political creed. Perhaps my zeal in the Republican cause when I edited the Telegraphe, made me rather imprudent, I certainly meant well, & my concience does not reproach me with an intention, to injure, either directly, or indirectly, the private character of any man. The distress of my family was great during my unfortunate imprisonment for a supposed libel on Judge Dana; at that time, two of my Childreen lay at the point of Death, particurlarly, the Youngest, who has the honor to bear your name,*= both these childreen by the goodness of Providence, who blessed the means used by my worthy & much esteemed friend, Doctor Jarvis, (whose kindness & attention to my sick family during my imprisonment, has made an indellible impression on my mind,) by his exertions, under God, they were restored to the arms of their unfortunate father.

You no doubt will recollect Sir, that the Constitl. Telegraphe, was, at one time, the only decided Republican Paper in this State. and if I know my own heart, when I became its Editor, I had no other view, than the good of my native Country, in the promotion of Republicanism in your Election to the Cheif magistracy of the nation, and to this single point I exerted with pleasure all the abilities which I possessed, & had the inexpresible satisfaction to find the cause triumphant. My earnest prayer to Heaven, now is, that Your Excellencey may long live to enjoy the confidence & esteem of a large majority of your fellow citizens, as the chief Magistrate of the freest, & happiest, nation in the world; & when your days on earth are finished, receive the plaudits from the Judge of quick & dead, of “well done good, & faithful Servant.”

With the highest sentiments of respect & veneration for your distinguished character, I beg leave to subscribe myself, Your Excellency, Obednt, Humble Servant,

John S. Lillie

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “His Excellencey, Thomas Jefferson Esqr. President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Oct. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Invoice in Lillie’s hand and signed by him, dated Boston, 12 Oct. 1803, requesting TJ’s payment of $4.50 for a subscription to the Constitutional Telegraphe from 1 Oct. 1801 to 1 Apr. 1802 at $3 per year (MS in same, also in Lillie’s hand: “Recvd payment”; see William Eustis to TJ, 27 Nov. 1803).

i sent it on to you: for TJ’s subscription to the Constitutional Telegraphe, see Vol. 37:312.

For Lillie’s three-month imprisonment for a supposed libel involving Francis dana, see Vol. 37:188-9.

well done good, & faithful servant: Matt. 25:21.

Authorial notes

[The following note(s) appeared in the margins or otherwise outside the text flow in the original source, and have been moved here for purposes of the digital edition.]

º =* This Child has been often to see, the late venerable Govr. Adams who used to say, that his countenance bore a striking resemblance to yours.

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