Thomas Jefferson Papers

Caesar A. Rodney to Thomas Jefferson, 8 August 1818

From Caesar A. Rodney

Wilmington Aug. 8th 1818

Honored & Dear Sir,

On my return home, after an absence of many months, I am naturally led to enquire, after the health & happiness, of those, who are the constant objects of my respect regard1 & solicitude. Among the first in my affections, is the sincere & uniform friend of my youth to whom I have always been personally & politically attached.

The people, of S. America whom I have lately visited, resemble in appearance, character & manners, those of our own country. I was most agreeably disappointed with the prospect I beheld A fine soil, a most delightful climate and an amiable humane & brave population. The improvements have been as rapid as circumstances permit. A system of moderation however prevails. They appear to avoid the excesses of the French Revolution, which really operates as a bloody buoy2 warning them of the dangers.

I am now occupied in preparing a report on the subject of that country, which I expect to take on to Washington in the month of October. And I do flatter myself with the prospect of once more paying my respects to the best of friends.

With every sentiment of esteem affection & gratitude I remain Dear Sir

Yours Most Sincerely & Truly

C A. Rodney

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 1 Sept. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Vaughan, 7 Dec. 1818, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Wilmington, 10 Aug.

bloody buoy recalls a 1796 work of that name by “Peter Porcupine” (William Cobbett) detailing the atrocities of the French Revolution and warning against political extremism. Rodney presented his report on South America to Secretary of State John Quincy Adams on 5 Nov. 1818, and it was communicated to Congress on 17 Nov. and 15 Dec. 1818 (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Foreign Relations, 4:217–348).

1Word interlined.

2Manuscript: “bloody, buoy.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John Quincy; as secretary of state search
  • Bloody Buoy (W. Cobbett) search
  • Cobbett, William; as “Peter Porcupine,” search
  • Cobbett, William; Bloody Buoy search
  • Congress, U.S.; reports to search
  • French Revolution; W. Cobbett’s account of search
  • Rodney, Caesar Augustus; as U.S. commissioner to South America search
  • Rodney, Caesar Augustus; letters from search
  • South America; people and climate of search
  • South America; republics in search
  • South America; U.S. commission to search