Thomas Jefferson Papers

William H. Crawford to Thomas Jefferson, 31 May 1816

From William H. Crawford

Washington 31st May 1816

My dear Sir

Your letter recommending Mr Bradbury was reced during a Serious indisposition with which I was afflicted in the course of the last winter, and has been mislaid So that I am not able to Refer to it more particularly. No Service of the kind for which that gentleman1 was proposed, has been contemplated by the government.

Your letter in Reply to the one which you Recd from me whilst I was in Paris, was delivered to me in this place on my arrival in August last, and would have been immediately acknowledged, but for the Pressure of official duty incident to a new Station & which had long been provisionally filled.

A few days ago Mr Graham delivered to me a large packet of my own letters, written in Paris in the month of December 1814, which had been just Recd at the State department; in which was the enclosed letter to yourself. The Reasoning upon the then State of France, and of Europe which it contains, is at this moment destitute of interest. It is forwarded to you, not from a conviction, that it is worthy of your attention, but as an evidence of the high Respect I entertain of the liberality and candor with which you judge the opinions of your friends, when proven by subsequent events to be erroneous.

The letters Referred to in the Postscript2 are not enclosed, as there is now no inducement to subject your patience to the task of Reading them.

Among the letters in the Packet, is a letter to a member of Congress which developes my views of the existing State of our affairs at that time, & of the policy which ought to be adopted at the Return of peace. I believe that there is no disposition in any class of politicians at this day, to adopt the System proposed in that letter. It is very far from my intention at this moment, to obtrude it upon the public, but I feel Some inclination to present it [for]3 your perusal. At one time during my Services in the Senate of the U. S. I had prevailed upon general Bradly to Consent to bring forward a bill for the Repeal of the Draw-back System; but Such was the distracted State of our Relations from the time I entered, until that of my quitting it, that the measure was postponed from time to time, under the hope that a more auspicious period would Shortly arrive. This favorable moment never Presented itself, and there is now but little probability that the attention of Congress will be called to consider of the policy of this measure.

Should the peace of Europe be Preserved for a longer period than usual, our attitude may be Such at the Recommencement of hostilities, as to preserve us from its baleful influence.

We have every thing to hope from time; to it therefore we must trust for an exemption of the probable Consequences of our insatiable Cupidity for foreign Commerce.

I am dear Sir your most obt & very humbe Servt

Wm H Crawford

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 7 June 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to David Hosack, 13 July 1816, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Late President of the United States Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked (faint): “[Washington], 4 June.” Enclosure: Crawford to TJ, 12 Dec. 1814. Other enclosure printed below.

Crawford, at this time the secretary of war, served in the United States senate, 1807–14. Stephen R. Bradley (bradly) was a senator between 1791 and 1812 (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–Present, online resource, Office of the Clerk, United States House of Representatives description ends ).

1Manuscript: “gentlemen.”

2Manuscript: “Postcript.”

3Omitted word editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Bradley, Stephen R.; as U.S. senator search
  • Crawford, William Harris; and drawback system search
  • Crawford, William Harris; as minister plenipotentiary to France search
  • Crawford, William Harris; as secretary of war search
  • Crawford, William Harris; as U.S. senator search
  • Crawford, William Harris; health of search
  • Crawford, William Harris; letters from search
  • Crawford, William Harris; reports on European affairs search
  • Graham, John; State Department clerk search
  • United States; drawback system of search
  • United States; economy of search
  • United States; trade of search