Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Washington Society (of Boston), 22 August 1816

To Washington Society (of Boston)

Monticello Aug. 22. 16.

Th: Jefferson presents his respects to the Washington1 society in Boston, and his thanks for the copy of mr Ware’s eloquent oration, forwarded him by their order. he is particularly happy to see the revered name they have chosen for their designation restored to it’s genuine principles of Union and Independance, to no other than which was it’s authority or countenance ever lent.

RC (Seth Kaller, Inc., White Plains, N.Y., 2005); dateline at foot of text; endorsed in an unidentified hand: “Th. Jefferson’s Letter.” PoC (CSmH: JF-BA); on verso of reused address cover of Theodorus Bailey to TJ, 10 May 1816; endorsed by TJ. Printed in An Historical View of the Public Celebrations of the Washington Society, and those of the Young Republicans. from 1805, to 1822 (Boston, 1823), 93. Enclosed in TJ to Ashur Ware, 22 Aug. 1816.

The Washington Society (of Boston) originated in 1805 when some of the city’s Republicans formed the Young Republicans of Boston, a group determined to celebrate the anniversary of American independence with a commemorative oration designed to counterbalance the Fourth of July orations offered by Federalists “who merely used the name of liberty to deride its qualities and to excite jealousies and animosities between different sections of our happy land.” In 1811 the organization changed its name to the Washington Society, whose “prime object” was to “encourage, disseminate and support such sentiments as are contained in that correct standard of American political principles, ‘Washington’s Farewell Address to the people of the United States.’” At the Washington Society’s 4 July 1816 celebration at Dow’s Hotel, the ninth of eighteen toasts honored TJ: “His character is the boast of philanthropy, his talents the delight of philosophy, and his name the pride of America.” Members of the group regularly offered similar toasts to TJ at its Independence Day events (Historical View, esp. iii–iv, 5, 45–7, 91; Boston Patriot, 13 July 1811).

The revered name was that of George Washington.

1Manuscript: “Washingto.”

Index Entries

  • An Oration, delivered before the Washington Society, in Boston, on the Fourth of July, 1816 (A. Ware) search
  • Fourth of July; orations search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; G. Washington search
  • Ware, Ashur; An Oration, delivered before the Washington Society, in Boston, on the Fourth of July, 1816 search
  • Washington, George; TJ on search
  • Washington Society (of Boston); identified search
  • Washington Society (of Boston); letter to search
  • Washington Society (of Boston); sends Fourth of July oration to TJ search