Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Goodman, Joseph Reed, Isaac Boyer, and William J. Duane, [22] August 1817

To John Goodman, Joseph Reed, Isaac Boyer, and William J. Duane

Poplar Forest near Lynchburg.
Aug. 21. [22] 17

Messrs Goodman, Reed,
Boyer & Duane

Your letter of the 6th inst. is delivered to me at this place with an extract from the Franklin Republican of July 29. in these words. ‘Extract of a letter from Virginia. July 13.1 1817. the day before yesterday I was at Monticello, & had the gratification to hear the chief of the elevated group there [mr Jefferson]2 express his anxious wish for the success of the democratic republican gubernatorial candidate in Pensylvania—as he says he has no opinion of tool or turnabout politicians just to serve their own aggrandisement.’ now I declare to you, gentlemen, on my honor, that I never expressed a sentiment, or uttered a syllable to any mortal living on the subject of the election referred to in this extract. it is one into which I have never permitted even my wishes to enter, entertaining as I do a high respect for both the characters in competition and not doubting that the state of Pensylvania will be happy under the government of either. if any further proof of the falsehood of this letter writer were required, it would be found in the fact that on the 11th of July, when he pretends to have seen me at Monticello, & to have been entrusted by me with expressions so highly condemnable, I was a[t] this place 90. miles South West of that, attending to my harvest here[.] I had left Monticello on the 29th of June, & did not return to it until the 15th of July. the facts of my absence from the one place, & presence at the other, at that date, are well known to many inhabitants of the town of Charlotte[s]ville near the one, & of Lynchburg near the other place.

I am duly sensible of the sentiments of respect with which you are pleas[ed] to honor me in your letter; as I am also of those concerning myself in the resolutions of the respectable Committee of the New market ward, who have been led into error by this very false letter writer. these, I trust, will not be lessen[ed] on either side by my assurance that, considering this as a family questio[n] I do not allow myself to take any part in it, and the less as the issue either w[ay] cannot be unfavorable to republican government. I tender to both parti[es] sincere sentiments of esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC: TJ Papers, 211:37619); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; misdated; edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ as a letter of <21> 22 Aug. 1817 and so recorded in SJL. Printed in Philadelphia Weekly Aurora, 15 Sept. 1817, and elsewhere.

1Weekly Aurora: “23.”

2Brackets in original.

Index Entries

  • Boyer, Isaac; and politics in Pa. search
  • Boyer, Isaac; letter to search
  • Duane, William John; and Pa. politics search
  • Duane, William John; letter to search
  • Franklin Republican (Chambersburg, Pa., newspaper) search
  • Goodman, John; and Pa. politics search
  • Goodman, John; letter to search
  • Hiester, Joseph; as Pa. gubernatorial candidate search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Republican party search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; fictional visit to search
  • newspapers; Chambersburg, Pa.,Franklin Republican search
  • newspapers; publish false TJ quotes search
  • Pennsylvania; elections in search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • Reed, Joseph (1772–1846); and Pa. politics search
  • Reed, Joseph (1772–1846); letter to search
  • Republican party; in Pa. search