Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Lehré to Thomas Jefferson, 1 August 1812

From Thomas Lehré

Charleston Augt 1 st1 1812.


It affords me at all times great pleasure, to see that my countrymen, either at their private or public meetings express themselves grateful to you for the blessings they have enjoyed under your Administration.—On the 4th of July last, an Oration was delivered here in St Michaels Church, in which the Orator never once mentioned the good that resulted from your Administration, that of your successor;—it drew forth Some Strictures on it; the critic in contradiction to the Orator, has happily described the happiness the American people enjoyed under your Administration, it was so congenial to my own Sentiments, that I could not refrain from sending you the paper which contained the same.—I am much concerned to learn of the conduct of our Eastern Bretheren, it appears to me they are the same set of men who were so violent against that Salutary measure the Embargo, which if it had been adhered to, I have no doubt, but that we should long before this have brought Great Britain to our own terms. If the opposition of these men only went to a certain measure of our Government,2 as the War has been Constitutionally declared, I should suppose their opposition ought now to cease,—and that it now becomes their duty as Americans, if they really wished well to their Country, to aid her in her present struggle, to obtain justice, and vindicate her rights against her implacable enemy—but I fear there is something more in their opposition than can be seen through at present.—Mr Madisons situation at present must be a very trying one to have to do with such a turbulent set of men, I hope God will grant him strength and wisdom to overcome them.

The Fourth of last July, was celebrated throughout this State, with the greatest Joy and harmony, and the public Sentiment respecting the measures of our Government, expressed with great unanimity. It also affords me an additional pleasure, to inform you that among the Toasts drunk upon almost every occasion, they did not forget the tribute of gratitude and respect that was due to you for the great service you have rendered their Country.—I have taken great pains to inform myself and can assure you, that all your old friends here will unite with me most cordially to support Mr Madison at the next Election, from the present prospect of things, I think there is little doubt but he will get every3 vote of this State. By the Constitution of this State, on the 2d4 Monday and tuesday in October5 next, we are to have an Election for6 Members to the House of Representatives, and one half, (say 23 Members) of the Senate, in consequence of which the Federalists are straining every nerve to get their friends in to can [. . .] Electoral Ticket, but I am persuaded their efforts [will?] prove abortive.—A new paper is shortly to be set up here, the Editor has assured me, that he will by all means in his power7 promote the Election of Mr Madison. As I am frequently called upon by many of your old friends from the Country, to enquire of me respecting your health & welfare, it will no doubt be very gratifying to them, as well as to myself, to hear from you whenever you can find time to write.

That you may live as long as you wish, & enjoy every blessing this life affords, is the constant wish of Your Obedt H. Servt

Tho: Lehré

RC (DLC); torn at seal; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr late President of the United States Monticello Virginia” and “Mail”; endorsed by TJ as received 29 Aug. 1812 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Charleston City Gazette and Commercial Daily Advertiser, 31 July 1812, including a sharply critical “Review” by the pseudonymous “Varro” of William Crafts, An Oration, delivered in St. Michael’s Church, before the inhabitants of Charleston, South Carolina, on the Fourth of July, 1812 (Charleston, 1812), which “Varro” condemned for its lukewarm commemoration of the American Revolution and the party spirit evidenced in its ill will toward France and “undisguised contempt” for the administrations of TJ and James Madison; and countering Crafts with criticism of the softness toward Great Britain of George Washington’s administration and the “violent and unjustifiable measures” of John Adams, commendation for Madison and the War of 1812, and praise of TJ for writing the Declaration of Independence, acquiring Louisiana, vanquishing Federalists, advocating wise domestic policies, and encouraging the arts, sciences, and manufactures.

In his oration Crafts stated that the Embargo represented commerce’s “charnel house,” suggested that the Non-Intercourse Act lacked even “a latent principle of courage” and had been “universally abandoned,” and observed that “it would be insulting the heroes of the revolution to stain their memorial with so terrible a contrast” (p. 18). The City Gazette published another exchange between Crafts and “Varro” on 1 and 3 Aug. 1812.

The toasts drunk to TJ included those of the German Fusiliers, who praised “The illustrious author of the Declaration of Independence—in his retirement, he enjoys the unbounded love of the unquestionable friends of the Republic,” and of the ’76 Association, which praised him as “Great, good and patriotic; slandered by those who envy him; traduced by those beneath him; he rises superior to their enmity, and builds his fame, not upon the vote which placed him in the first office of his country, but in the regret that was evinced when he retired to Monticello” (City Gazette, 7 July 1812). Madison did get every vote of South Carolina’s presidential electors (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States description ends , 5:256 [10 Feb. 1813]). The new paper was the Charleston Investigator, whose editor, John Mackey, endorsed Madison’s reelection on 8 Oct. 1812.

1Reworked from “2d.”

2Manuscript: “Govrnment.”

3Word interlined.

4Reworked from “1st.”

5Preceding two words interlined.

6Lehré here canceled “Governor.”

7Preceding three words interlined.

Index Entries

  • An Oration, delivered in St. Michael’s Church, before the inhabitants of Charleston, South Carolina, on the Fourth of July, 1812 (Crafts) search
  • Crafts, William; An Oration, delivered in St. Michael’s Church, before the inhabitants of Charleston, South Carolina, on the Fourth of July, 1812 search
  • Embargo Act (1807); T. Lehré on search
  • Federalist party; in S.C. search
  • Fourth of July; orations search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Descriptions of; toasts to search
  • Lehré, Thomas; and S.C. politics search
  • Lehré, Thomas; letters from search
  • Mackey, John; and Charleston Investigator search
  • Madison, James; and1812election search
  • Non-Intercourse Act; impact of search
  • Republican party; in S.C. search
  • South Carolina; Federalists in search