Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Wingate to Thomas Jefferson, 31 March 1815

From William Wingate

Haverhill1 Mas, march 31. 1815.

Dear Sir,

I consider you as my Safest confidential Friend,

I have taken the liberty for to Send to you a Book, Title—The American Olive Branch In Perpetual Blow, Founded on Wisdom, Justice, and Equity, God and Truth its only Director—Perpetual Union and Perfect Harmony, Between Each Individual Inhabitant, of the United States of America, The only object—

I wish you carefully to examine its contents, and let me know the candid result of your mind, whether it is possiable for to carry it into execution, I wrote it directly2 into the Book, and have not retained a copy of no part of it—therefore must request you for to return the Same Book to me, perhaps in the course of three months, no Person has ever Seen a word it contains, except, the Honorable Benjamin Austin of Boston, He has read it, and gave me the Result of his mind, He tells me that He approves of it, and advised me for to Send it to you, He also mentioned mr John Adams, which I told mr Austin I could not concent to do—it being an object of the Greatest Importance3 to our country—I cannot think but that all Those Persons I have named would readyly embrace its contents, unless they are determined on the distruction of our country—

I am Sensiable that it will require many alterations for the better—

I Sincerly wish your best assistance, as it would be the Salvation of our country—I think that it will appear So to you—not doubting but that you will do me and our Bleeding country Strict Justice, Shall add no more—

Sir, Believe me to be with the highest Sentiments of Essteem

and Respect, Your most obedient Humble Servant—

William Wingate

RC (MiU-C: Thomas Jefferson Collection); at foot of text: “Honorable Thomas Jefferson Esquire”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 Apr. 1815 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

William Wingate (1745–1821), the brother of former United States congressman Paine Wingate and a longtime resident of Haverhill, served briefly in the Massachusetts militia during the early days of the Revolutionary War and as a notary public and postmaster thereafter. A committed Republican, he blamed his financial difficulties on the machinations of his political opponents and complained that many of the federal officeholders in his state needed to be replaced. Although the increasingly destitute Wingate successively sought appointments from George Washington, TJ, and James Madison, he never secured one. The volume enclosed with this letter was not published, and Wingate’s manuscript of the following year charting Napoleon’s career in the biblical book of Revelation met the same fate. During the last decade of his life Wingate circulated between the district of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. He died in Stratham, New Hampshire (Charles E. L. Wingate, History of the Wingate Family in England and in America [1886], 158–65; George Wingate Chase, The History of Haverhill, Massachusetts [1861], 384; Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser., 7:382; Fleet’s Pocket Almanack For the Year of our Lord 1797 [Boston, 1796?], 43; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 37 vols. description ends , 35:754; Wingate to TJ, 7 Feb. 1803, 15 Feb. 1804 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–09]; DNA: RG 29, CS, Maine, New Sharon, 1810; Madison, Papers, Pres. Ser., 5:540–4; Wingate to TJ, 8 Apr. 1816; TJ to Wingate, 4 May 1816; Portsmouth New-Hampshire Gazette, 4 Dec. 1821).

1Above this word Wingate canceled “Boston.”

2Manuscript: “direcly.”

3Manuscript: “Importane.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; mentioned search
  • Austin, Benjamin (of Boston); recommends book for TJ search
  • books; on politics search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Wingate, William; identified search
  • Wingate, William; letters from search
  • Wingate, William; plan for political and religious renewal search