Thomas Jefferson Papers

Samuel H. Smith to Thomas Jefferson, 18 August 1813

From Samuel H. Smith

Washington, Aug. 18. 1813.


I take the liberty of enclosing the following trifle delivered here on the late anniversary of our Independence, which I ask you to receive entirely as a tribute of respect. I hope your contemplated improvements have kept pace with your wishes,1 and that the calm delights of retirement are enhanced by the finish, which art, under the direction of taste, knows how to bestow on the finest natural scenery. Mrs Smith begs me to communicate her affectionate remembrance to yourself and all the members of your family.

I am, with great consideration & regard—Yo. ob. St

Sa. H. Smith

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Th. Jefferson Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Aug. 1813 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Smith, Oration pronounced by Samuel H. Smith, Esquire, in the City of Washington, on Monday, the Fifth of July, 1813 (Washington, D.C., 1813; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4690), in which Smith recalls the spirit of unity and common purpose that predominated in America during the Revolutionary War and at the 1787 Federal Convention; argues that those who oppose the war with Great Britain should not be allowed to thwart the will of the majority; underscores the importance of the conflict to the survival of the nation and the preservation of the liberties enjoyed by its citizens; suggests that “one of the best means of prosecuting with vigor the arduous contest in which we are engaged, as well as of insuring permanent security and defence” is “to lay the foundations of a navy commensurate with the present, and increasing with the expanding resources of the nation” (p. 15); compares the country’s prospects to those of Rome during its wars with Carthage; favors the construction of more roads, canals, and manufacturing establishments; invokes Joel Barlow as a supporter of such policies, all of which, according to Smith, will serve to “cement our union, increase our enjoyments, ensure to us longer periods of peace, and render us invulnerable to the inevitable wars in which we may be involved” (p. 23); and concludes that, while cultivating a love of peace, the United States should “proclaim to the world our resolution, to receive no wrongs without redress, no insults without atonement” (p. 24).

1Reworked from “hopes.”

Index Entries

  • Barlow, Joel; mentioned search
  • Carthage; Punic wars search
  • Fourth of July; orations search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Oration pronounced by Samuel H. Smith, Esquire (Smith) search
  • Revolutionary War; mentioned search
  • Rome, ancient; Punic wars search
  • Smith, Margaret Bayard (Samuel H. Smith’s wife); sends greetings to TJ search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; and naval expansion search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; letters from search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; Oration pronounced by Samuel H. Smith, Esquire search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; supports internal improvements search
  • War of1812; orations supporting search