Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Cutbush to Thomas Jefferson, 22 July 1818

From James Cutbush

Office of the US. Medical Depar’t Philada July 22d 1818


I herewith enclose you two addresses which were delivered on the ever memorable 4th of July: the one of Dr Jacksons is justly considerd a valuable exposition of the rise, progress, and downfall of kingdoms & republics, and the causes which produced them. The principles drawn from the history of government serve, as they do, to recall us to preserve, protect & perpetuate1 our happy system of government. You no doubt were acquainted with the Doctor’s father, the apothecary & physician, and the friend of Dr Hutchinson & other staunch republicans. I shall say nothing of the other address, which contains some typographical errors; the intention of it, however, was to unite the democratic party in this district, and to shew the absurdity of inventing new names, as old school & new school &c It is remarkable, that, at our dinner, nearly every man voted for Hiester or the old school candidate, and every man for Mr Monroe, Mr Madison & yourself. The toast for Mr Monroe was printed, so that none but Duane and a few others of the old school in this state will, or may be expected to oppose the reelection of Mr M.   It is this:

“The president of the U. States—The confidence of the democratic party in his principles and integrity, placed him at the helm of state; his administration has strengthened that confidence.”

Although this was drank with repeated applause, yet the present governor of our state was not drank; so that, take it all in all, the democratic division in this state is local, and confined in the last election, to two democratic candidates.

You will excuse the liberty I have thus taken, in communicating these ideas. I feel pleased that we are likely to bring about an union of the contending interests.

The plan of cultivating Indian corn, for which Mr Hall obtained a patent and on which subject I wrote you when at Norfolk Va has been tried with us, but with no success; it has also been tried in New Hampshire, and failed.

very respectfully Your devoted friend, & Obedt Servt

Jas Cutbush.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “His Excellency Thos Jefferson. Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 30 July 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Samuel Jackson, An Oration, Delivered, at the County Court-House, Philadelphia, on the Forty-Second Anniversary of American Independence (Philadelphia, 1818; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends 13 [no. 826]; TJ’s copy in ViU), describing the Fourth of July as the “sabbath of our liberties” and contrasting the commemoration of the Declaration of Independence with the way that “Other nations celebrate with heartless pomp, and idle pageantry, the birth day of a despot, whom they dare not approach” (pp. 2–3); predicting that, thanks to the expansion of population and promotion of internal improvements, “Republic will rise on republic; empire stretch beyond empire, till either ocean constitute the boundaries of free and confederated America” (p. 4); declaring that the “discovery of this country, and the adoption of a free and enlightened system of government, have been designed by Providence to effectuate the perfection of the human character and the advancement of society” (p. 4); surveying the history of civilization, including the fall of Rome and development and demise of the feudal system; positing a direct connection between European settlement in the Americas “and the declaration of our freedom, as parts of the divine scheme for the gradual improvement of man; and progressive perfection of society” (p. 11); and concluding that, since “Faction and disunion, alone, threaten our safety,” the preservation of the “Union of the states” is paramount (p. 12). (2) Cutbush, “An Address, Delivered at the Shepherdess, on the Fourth of July 1818, to a company of citizens, by request” (Philadelphia Franklin Gazette, 13 July 1818), connecting the principles of liberty, equality, and the natural rights of man as expressed in the Declaration of Independence with the same ideas articulated in the United States Constitution; declaring that the nation emerged as a direct result of the “hand of Providence”; emphasizing the importance of educating children to “know their rights, their liberties, their inheritance”; praising TJ as author of the Declaration of Independence and quoting from his letter to Benjamin O. Tyler of 26 Mar. 1818; inferring that the blood spilled in the American Revolution sealed “a covenant between God and man, and of rational liberty and just equality”; lauding the contributions of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, TJ, John Hancock, Robert Morris, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and Lafayette, as well as American military victories; recalling TJ’s declaration in his first inaugural address that all citizens are both federalists and republicans but denying that most members of the Federalist party support a “federalism which springs from pure principles, and is identified with republicanism”; analyzing Jean Jacques Rousseau’s theory of the social contract and demonstrating its application to a republican form of government; and concluding that everyone shares responsibility for protecting the Union by preserving republican principles, supporting arts, manufactures, and internal improvements, diffusing science, and implanting in the “rising generation correct views of political jurisprudence.”

In 1801 TJ corresponded briefly with the doctor’s father, David Jackson (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 41 vols. description ends , 32:415–6). The Republican party in Pennsylvania had divided into old school & new school factions. Joseph Hiester, the old school candidate for governor of Pennsylvania in 1817, lost to William Findlay but defeated him three years later at the next gubernatorial election (Philip S. Klein and Ari Hoogenboom, A History of Pennsylvania [2d ed., 1980], 128–34). The toast for mr monroe was given at an Independence Day celebration addressed by Cutbush, which was organized by a “private company of citizens.” Their fourth toast honored TJ as “The author of the Declaration of Independence. A brilliant star in the constellation of ’76” (Franklin Gazette, 10 July 1818).

1Manuscript: “pepetuate.”

Index Entries

  • An Oration, Delivered, at the County Court-House, Philadelphia, on the Forty-Second Anniversary of American Independence (S. Jackson) search
  • corn; Indian search
  • corn; planting techniques for search
  • Cutbush, James; and J. Hall’s agricultural improvements search
  • Cutbush, James; letters from search
  • Cutbush, James; sends works to TJ search
  • Declaration of Independence; TJ as author of search
  • Duane, William; and Republican supporters search
  • Findlay, William; as governor of Pa. search
  • Findlay, William; as Pa. gubernatorial candidate search
  • Fourth of July; celebrations search
  • Fourth of July; orations search
  • Hall, James; improved planting technique of search
  • Hiester, Joseph; as Pa. gubernatorial candidate search
  • Hutchinson, James search
  • Jackson, David; family of search
  • Jackson, Samuel; An Oration, Delivered, at the County Court-House, Philadelphia, on the Forty-Second Anniversary of American Independence search
  • Jackson, Samuel; family of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Honors & Memberships; toasts honoring search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; as president search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; First Inaugural Address search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and presidential election search
  • Monroe, James; as presidential candidate search
  • Monroe, James; presidency of search
  • New Hampshire; agriculture in search
  • Pennsylvania; party politics in search
  • politics; in Pa. search
  • Republican party; in Pa. search
  • Rousseau, Jean Jacques; political theories of search