Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, [ca. 11 June 1822]

To Richard Rush

[ca. 11 June 1822]

Dr Sir

Your favr of Oct. 9. was recd in due time, and the last envoi of books mentd in it from Lackington1 came safely to hand. having occn for another call of that kind, to save you trouble I address it to him2 directly so as to require from you only the having the lre put into his hands.3 but I leave it open, lest any thing should have intervened to render any other address more eligible. and for that reason have not addressed the remittce of £45. sterl. to him directly, but to yourself, your kind offers of service having encoraged4 me to leave that5 article of confidce still with you.

The buildings of our University for the accomodn of Professors & students are, we may say compleated: & there remains only a single one for more general purposes6 to erect before we might open our instn. but our last legislre refused the money for that, abt 50.M D.7 it was remkble as more truly a parliam. indoct. than was ever before assembld in our state. the late elections, making favble changes give us hopes that the next session will set us a going again. in the mean time we are suspended, and so must be our applicns to your isld for Professors.

Our country is8 rising very slowly indeed out of the catastrophe of 1820. since that time we have had poor crops and poorer prices. whether the Russians & Turks will open a market for our produce you will know before we shall. an internecine war between these two sets of barbarians scarcely interests humanity while it opens a prospect of the liberation of Greece, the dissoln of the holy alliance &9 employmt for the industry of better people. the general distress of our country has become sensible to our treasury. the annual exp. of the govmt exceeding our annual income has produced a good deal of dissatfn thro’ the country of which you will have seen strong indicns in the last Congr. it will perhaps oblige the admn to slacken their system of fortifns & naval constrns, so as to proceed no faster than we can pay. this discontent has in a considble degree been artificially excited, by those who have so prematurely & indecently commencd electioneering operns for the next Presidt. the proceedings of the last Congress were disagreeably tinctured by the spirit of the different partisans. many names are mentd for the future choice, but Adams, Crawford, Calhoun & perhaps Clay are those out of which the choice will probably be made. the Missouri question seems at present as dead as if it had never existed,—yet a spark will revive it, and that of this election is quite strong enough for that purpose. this great contingency is in favr of the Northern candidate. the character of the highest promise in our country mr L. we are likely to lose by a pulmonary complt. his abilities informn integrity & amiable disposn had attracted universal favor altho’ too young for a present candidate. our 5. first presidts have all gone out of office or will do so in their 66th year. if this singular coincidence were to be regarded mr A. would be nearest to it. he will be about 60. in the year 24.

The most serious uneasiness among thinking men at10 present is the steady march of our Judiciary towds a consolidated govmt and the drawing all powers within the pale of the genl one. many instances of this might be cited, but two among them are the most remkble. 1st in the case of Maryld which ld a very moderate tax on the property held within the state in the form of U.S. bk stock. the decision of the sup. ct is considd as exempting from state taxn that particular and very extensive description of property, while the constn exempts none. a proprietor converting his bds & other property into bank stock no longer contributes a cent to the support of govmt

2. the 2d case11 decided 1. that a state can be brot before the US. Judiciary even at the suit of one of it’s own citizens. & 2dly that Congress can delegate to the corporn of Washn12 a power to pass laws superseding the state laws within the state. this was a law passed by the state for the suppression of gamblg and forbidding und a penalty the sale of lottery tickets. no controul over such a law is given by the constn to Congress itself.13 the dissensions produced by the Missouri question, rather smothered than extinguished, prevent for the present any concerted action of the states towds effecting a more practicable responsibility of the judges than the bug-bear of impeachmt

Our present wheat crop is most unpromising. great preparns for tobo are making within this state. but it has to encounter the casualties of the season.

knowing how desirble in your situan, informn from your own country must be, these general observns are hazarded by a recluse who is truly among those who knows most imperfectly what is passing. you will be so good as to accept them as mere tokens of good will & with them the assurances of my affectte esteem & respect.

Dft (DLC: TJ Papers, 228:40748); on portion of a reused address cover from Bernard Peyton to TJ; undated but, based on internal evidence, presumably written around the time of TJ’s letter to Bernard Peyton of 11 June 1822; at head of text: “Rush.” Not recorded in SJL and probably never sent.

envoi: “parcel; package.” The single building still to be constructed at the University of Virginia was the Rotunda. Parliamentum indoctissimum (parliam. indoct.): “most ignorant parliament.”

The northern candidate for president was John Quincy Adams. TJ correctly surmised that the country would soon lose South Carolina congressman William Lowndes (mr l.) to a pulmonary complaint. He died on 27 Oct. 1822 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ).

The two recent United States Supreme Court cases that represented for TJ the steady march of our judiciary toward consolidated government were McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) and Cohens v. Virginia (1821). ld: “levied.” bds: “bonds.” und: “under.”

1Preceding two words interlined.

2Word interlined in place of “Lackington Hughes & co.”

3Preceding eight words interlined in place of “it’s handing to them.”

4Word interlined in place of “induced.”

5TJ here canceled “portion of the business.”

6Preceding four words interlined.

7Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

8TJ here canceled “but little.”

9TJ here canceled “a demand for.”

10Manuscript: “a.”

11TJ here canceled “is more extraordinary as it.”

12Preceding two words interlined.

13Preceding two sentences interlined in place of “and as the case was that of a law of the corporn authorising the sale of lottery tickets in a state which had suppressed lotteries & forbids the sale of tickets within it, a case which is not given to Congr. itself by the constn, it seems <to empower> to enable them to <do> exercise powers thro’ the instrument of that corporn <what> who <they are not> have not been given to themselves by the constn. the uneasy state of the public,” with the caret mistakenly placed in front of the period at the end of the preceding sentence. Following the interlineation TJ canceled “it follows from this decision that an authority that Congress, thro’ the instrument of the Washn corporn.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John Quincy; presidential prospects of search
  • Bank of the United States, Second; andMcCulloch v. Maryland search
  • Calhoun, John Caldwell; presidential prospects of search
  • Clay, Henry; presidential prospects of search
  • Cohens v. Virginia search
  • Congress, U.S.; andCohens v. Virginia search
  • Congress, U.S.; TJ on search
  • Constitution, U.S.; and states’ rights search
  • Crawford, William Harris; presidential candidacy of search
  • crops; price of search
  • crops; yields of search
  • gambling; laws prohibiting search
  • Greece, modern; war of independence search
  • health; pulmonary complaint search
  • Holy Alliance; mentioned search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; orders books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives works search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Missouri question search
  • judiciary, U.S.; TJ on search
  • Lackington, George; bookseller search
  • law; on gambling search
  • lotteries; for Washington, D.C. search
  • lotteries; tickets for search
  • Lowndes, William; death of search
  • Lowndes, William; health of search
  • Lowndes, William; presidential prospects of search
  • McCulloch v. Maryland search
  • Missouri question; TJ on search
  • Ottoman Empire; and Russia search
  • Rush, Richard; and books for TJ search
  • Rush, Richard; and University of Virginia search
  • Rush, Richard; letters to search
  • Russia; and Ottoman Empire search
  • Supreme Court, U.S.; andCohens v. Virginia search
  • Supreme Court, U.S.; andMcCulloch v. Maryland search
  • Supreme Court, U.S.; TJ on search
  • tobacco; grown in Va. search
  • United States; economy of search
  • United States; fortifications search
  • United States; state versus federal authority search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; progress of search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; Rotunda (library) search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; and General Assembly search
  • Virginia; crops in search
  • Virginia; elections in search
  • Washington, D.C.; corporation of search
  • wheat; as crop search