Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Spencer Roane to Archibald Thweatt, 11 December 1821


Spencer Roane to Archibald Thweatt

Richmond 11th Decr 1821

Dear sir

Last night I duly received your favour of yesterday. I had before received the pamphlets and distributed them all except that for Colo Taylor, which will be sent on today. They were well received: and as soon as my business will admit I will give mine another reading—I had also received the subscription paper you sent me; which (feeling myself delicately Situated in regard to it) I put into the Hands of Mr Nicholas, who lodged it with Ritchie. There I expect it will Sleep. Ritchie & Gooch have not liberality & public spirit Enough to Engage in the publication of books or pamphlets, unless they conduce to their immediate Emolument.

The Governor’s patriotic message on the subject of the supreme Court has been very well received by the republicans here, in Consequence of the public mind having been somewhat prepared on the subject. But such is the apathy of the times, and the Dearth of talents in the legislature that I doubt whether any thing will be done by that body. Certainly not, I expect, unless they should be aided by some of our veteran Statesmen. I Shall write to Colo Taylor today and touc[h] on that subject. If you cd do likewise with mr Jefferson (as I cannot take the liberty to do) his name would settle the Controversy.—The career of this high court must be stopped, or the liberties of our Country are annihilated.

Colo Taylor has another work in the press at washington. It is Styled “Tyranny unmasked,” and I hope it will do much good. I lost the reading of it, in manuscript, by being at the springs: but I understand it is, perhaps, his chef d’oeuvre, and that the Style is popular and pleasing. This venerable patriot deserves great praise for his intrepid & unceasing Efforts to preserve our beloved Confederacy—The letter you Enclosed, was duly sent. The Gentn to whom it related, was continued in his office on Saturday last.

My health is now tolerable; & I thank you for the interest you take in relation to it.   With great respect & Esteem, I am yr friend & Servt

Spencer Roane

in Great Haste

RC (DLC); edge trimmed. RC (ViW: TC-JP); address cover only; with Dft of TJ to Robert Richardson, 20 Apr. 1824, on verso; addressed: “Archibald Thweatt Esq Eppington Chesterfield by his Servant.”

In his patriotic message of 3 Dec. 1821 to the Virginia House of Delegates on the day its new session opened, Governor Thomas Mann Randolph argued that the ruling of the United States Supreme Court earlier that year in Cohens v. Virginia was “manifestly calculated to impair, most essentially, the sovereign rights retained by the states, and ultimately to change the character of the government from a constitution of limited and defined powers to one investing unlimited authority.” Randolph proposed amending the United States Constitution so as to confine “both the power claimed, and the jurisdiction asserted, within such well defined limits, as may make the state governments secure against the fatal consequences of a right existing in other tribunals to reverse the decisions of theirs, upon matters of their own internal policy” (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1821–22 sess.], 6–9, quotes on pp. 7, 8; also printed in Richmond Enquirer, 4 Dec. 1821).

Index Entries

  • books; on government search
  • Cohens v. Virginia search
  • Nicholas, Mr.; and S. Roane search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); as governor of Va. search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); onCohens v. Virginia search
  • Ritchie, Thomas; as editor ofRichmond Enquirer search
  • Ritchie & Gooch (Richmond firm); as publisher search
  • Roane, Spencer; and Va. politics search
  • Roane, Spencer; friendship with J. Taylor search
  • Roane, Spencer; health of search
  • Roane, Spencer; letters from, to A. Thweatt search
  • Supreme Court, U.S.; andCohens v. Virginia search
  • Supreme Court, U.S.; criticized search
  • Taylor, John (of Caroline); Tyranny Unmasked search
  • Taylor, John (of Caroline); works sent to search
  • Thweatt, Archibald; letters to, from S. Roane search
  • Tyranny Unmasked (J. Taylor [of Caroline]) search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search