Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Pinkney, 15 July 1810

To William Pinkney

Monticello July 15. 10.

Dear Sir

I again trouble you with letters from mr Bradbury to his friends in England. he is a botanist & Naturalist of high qualifications & Merit, and is now engaged in exploring Upper Louisiana. I feel a real interest in his pursuits, the result of which so far is communicated in some of these letters.  On politics I have little to say, and little need be said to you who are better informed from another quarter. you will have seen that Massachusets, N. Hampshire & R. island have got back to the ground, which a temporary delusion induced them to quit for a moment. unfortunately it was a moment decisive of our destiny. I speak of that which produced a repeal of the embargo. considerable discontent was certainly excited in Massachusets. but it’s extent was magnified infinitely beyond it’s reality, and an intrigue of (I believe) not more than two or three members, reputed republicans, excited in Congress a belief that we were under the alternative of civil war, or a repeal of the embargo, and the embargo was repealed. thus were we driven by treason among ourselves from the high & wise ground we had taken, and which, had it been held, would have either restored us our free trade, or have established manufactures among us. the latter object will still be obtained, at least as to houshold manufacture, which is more than the half in value of what we have heretofore recieved from abroad. but the imprudent adventures of our merchants have put into the hands of the robbers by sea & land, much of the capital which the embargo had secured for emploiment in manufactures. I am supremely happy in being withdrawn from these turmoils: but cannot but interest myself for my friends still engaged in them, and wishing you all ‘a good deliverance,’ I beg leave to add to yourself the assurances of my friendly attachment & high respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NjP: Pinkney Papers); addressed: “His Excellency William Pinckney Min. Plenipotentiary of the US. of America London”; endorsed by Pinkney as received via Lieut. Spencer on 4 Sept. 1810. PoC (MHi); endorsed by TJ. Enclosed in TJ to John Graham, 15 July 1810.

The enclosures from John Bradbury to his friends in england probably included a letter he wrote to William Roscoe, Saint Louis, 10 May 1810, describing his trip from Monticello, reporting on the plants and birds he had discovered, and indicating that he had laid out a garden near Saint Louis and proposed to ship plants to his British sponsors via New Orleans (RC in UkLi: Roscoe Manuscripts; printed in H. W. Rickett, “John Bradbury’s Explorations in Missouri Territory,” APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings 94 [1950]: 64–6). The reputed republicans credited by TJ with panicking Congress were Joseph Story and Ezekial Bacon, representatives from Massachusetts (TJ to Henry Dearborn, 16 July 1810).

Index Entries

  • Bacon, Ezekiel; and repeal of Embargo Act search
  • botany; J. Bradbury’s expedition search
  • Bradbury, John; botanical expedition of search
  • Bradbury, John; TJ on search
  • Congress, U.S.; and Embargo Act search
  • Embargo Act (1807); repeal of search
  • Embargo Act (1807); TJ on search
  • gardens; at Saint Louis, proposed by J. Bradbury search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Embargo acts search
  • Louisiana Territory; botanical expeditions in search
  • manufacturing, household; expansion of search
  • Massachusetts; elections in search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Bradbury, John search
  • New Hampshire; elections in search
  • Pinkney, William; letters to search
  • politics; in New England search
  • Republican party; electoral successes search
  • Rhode Island; elections in search
  • Roscoe, William; and J. Bradbury’s botanical expedition search
  • Spencer, Lieut. search
  • Story, Joseph; and repeal of Embargo Act search