Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Gideon Granger, 24 January 1810

To Gideon Granger

Monticello Jan. 24. 10

Dear Sir

I was sorry, by a letter from mr Barlow the other day, to learn the ill state of your health, and I sincerely wish that this may find you better. young, temperate, & prudent as you are, great confidence may be reposed in the provision nature has made for the restoration of order in our system when it has become deranged; she effects her object by strengthening the whole system, towards which medecine is generally mischievous. nor are the sedentary habits of office friendly to it. but of all this your own good understanding, instructed by your own experience, is the best judge. but if you must be harrassed by the affairs of your office, let me trouble you with one. it was suggested by my wishing lately to send a letter to N. Orleans by the Athens route. I found that altho it would cross that route at George’s tavern1 on the North side of James river, it must still go down to Richmond & Manchester & come up to the crossing of the same route on the S. side of the river at Cartersville, having passed 110. miles, & waited at two offices for the post days to bring it within 5 miles of the crossing on the N. side, at George’s tavern which it had before past. the making George’s tavern a post office would 1. accomodate the whole line of country from thence to Charlottesville & Staunton with the Athens route. 2. it would give to the same line of country an equally improved communication with Cartersville, with which we have considerable connection as being on the river. and 3. it would accomodate a rich & populous neighborhood on the N. side of James river round about George’s who now have to send to Cartersville for their letters & papers across a ferry which doubles & triples the postage. the inclosed sketch will give you an idea of it without further explanation. I will therefore only2 add that George, the owner & keeper of the tavern, is a man of entire worth, & perfectly to be trusted as postmaster.

I cannot pass over this occasion of writing to you, the first presented me since retiring from office, without expressing to you my sense of the important aid I recieved from you in the able & faithful direction of the office committed to your charge. with such auxiliaries the business & burthen of government become all but insensible, & it’s painful anxieties are relieved by the certainty that all is going right. in no department did I feel this sensation more strongly than in yours, & tho’, at this time, of little significance to yourself, it is a relief to my mind to discharge the duty of bearing this testimony to your valuable services. I must add my acknolegements for your friendly interference in setting the public judgment to rights with respect to the Connecticut prosecutions, so falsely & maliciously charged on me. I refer to a statement of the facts in the National Intelligencer of many months past, which I was sensible came from your hand. I pray you to be assured of my great & constant attachment esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Granger Papers); at foot of first page: “Gideon Granger esq.”; endorsed by Granger as a letter “in support of the character of Gideon Granger.” PoC (DLC). Enclosure not found.

Gideon Granger (1767–1822) served as postmaster general under TJ and James Madison, 1801–14. He graduated from Yale in 1787 and two years later was admitted to the Connecticut bar and set up a legal practice in his hometown of Suffield. Granger served in the Connecticut house of representatives for seven of the nine years between 1792 and 1801 but was defeated in the congressional election of 1798 because of his increasingly Republican proclivities. He strongly supported TJ’s presidential candidacy in 1800 and subsequently wrote two pamphlets defending the policies of TJ’s administration. When Madison forced him to resign as postmaster general, Granger sought TJ’s support in a proposed appeal to the public. TJ’s cautious reply, supportive on some points but urging him not to publish, ended their correspondence. After leaving office Granger moved to New York state, resumed his legal practice, and sat in the state senate, 1820–21 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Dexter, Yale Biographies description begins Francis Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, 1885–1912, 6 vols. description ends , 4:546–9; Arthur S. Hamlin, Gideon Granger [1982]; TJ to Granger, 9 Mar. 1814).

TJ had recently sent a duplicate of his letter to Benjamin Morgan of 3 Jan. 1810 to n. orleans by the athens route. For Granger’s friendly interference in the 1809 controversy over TJ’s role in the earlier prosecutions for seditious libel of his political opponents in Connecticut, see TJ to Wilson Cary Nicholas, 13 June 1809, and Nicholas to TJ, 18 July 1809.

1Preceding three words interlined.

2Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Barlow, Joel; letters from mentioned search
  • Connecticut; libel prosecutions in search
  • George, William search
  • George’s Tavern (Goochland Co., Va.); post office at search
  • Goochland County, Va.; post office in search
  • Granger, Gideon; and post office at George’s Tavern search
  • Granger, Gideon; identified search
  • Granger, Gideon; illness of search
  • Granger, Gideon; letters to search
  • Granger, Gideon; TJ on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; medicine search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; sedentary habits search
  • Manchester, Va.; postal service to search
  • medicine; TJ on search
  • Morgan, Benjamin; letters to mentioned search
  • National Intelligencer (Washington newspaper); on Conn. libel prosecutions search
  • New Orleans; mail service to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • Post Office, U.S.; and Va. post offices search
  • Richmond, Va.; mail service to search
  • Virginia; post offices in search