Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Rhea to Thomas Jefferson, 20 May 1822

From John Rhea

Washington 20th May 1822


please to accept the inclosed copy of a circular Letter—I have the honor to be with sincer esteem—

Your obedt servt

John Rhea

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 30 May 1822 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with Dft of TJ to William J. Coffee, 4 Sept. 1824, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Late President of the United States Milton Virginia”; franked; postmarked Washington, 22 May. Enclosure: Rhea to his constituents, Washington, D.C., 8 May 1822, describing the exploration, settlement, development, and independence of the New World; reporting on Congress’s recognition of the newly independent former Spanish colonies to the south, efforts by the United States to obtain reciprocal trade agreements, American imports and exports, and the establishment of a territorial government for Florida; giving the current national debt as $93 million; stating that a decrease in revenue from import duties will necessitate the borrowing of money; contending that this is the time to extinguish the public debt through the encouragement of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce; stressing the importance of coastal fortifications; hailing the Battle of New Orleans as “a victory, never equalled in ancient or modern times” (p. 6); commenting that, under the recent congressional reapportionment, each member of the House of Representatives will represent 40,000 persons; noting that, although the United States Army only musters 5,420 soldiers, the militia boasts about one million; asserting that “the republican sovereignties of the respective states” should “be maintained pure and inviolate” and that the “consolidation of these United States cannot be effected otherwise than by the depression and destruction” of their independence (p. 9); warning against amending the United States Constitution; and arguing that for its many blessings the American people owe “equivalent gratitude to the Supreme Sovereign of the Universe, and a devotion to virtue and piety” (p. 10) (printed circular in MBAt).

Index Entries

  • agriculture; and U.S. economy search
  • Army, U.S.; size of search
  • Congress, U.S.; and recognition of independence of French and Spanish colonies search
  • Constitution, U.S.; proposed amendments to search
  • Florida; territorial government of search
  • House of Representatives, U.S.; and congressional reapportionment search
  • manufacturing; encouragement of in U.S. search
  • New Orleans, Battle of (1815); J. Rhea on search
  • Rhea, John; letters from search
  • Rhea, John; sends constituent circulars to TJ search
  • South America; and U.S. search
  • taxes; customs search
  • United States; agriculture promoted in search
  • United States; and South American republics search
  • United States; fortifications search
  • United States; militia in search
  • United States; national debt search
  • United States; state versus federal authority search
  • United States; trade of search