Thomas Jefferson Papers

From José Corrêa da Serra to Thomas Mann Randolph, 7 January 1820

Philadelphia 7th January. 1820.

Dear Sir

I have seen with the most lively interest in the newspapers your election to the Chief Magistracy of your State, but have avoided troubling you in the first moments of your entering your Laborious task, well persuaded that you knew perfectly well my sentiments towards you, without any new utterance of them.

From the correspondence between you and the committee of election [. . .] I see that the electors and the elected are both conscious of the critical situation of the moment. Forgive me if I tell you that perhaps the danger exceeds their apprehension, though I am certain is not superior to their courage, nor to their will of making a noble defence of their rights, and it is more honorable to you to be elected in this moment and for this end, that if you had been chosen for life in other circumstances.

The pamphlet I send to you is the joint production of some of the Leading federalists of New York and New England, who sent the materials elaborated, to a writer in Philadelphia to be polished and varnished. All the meetings on that question here and elsewhere are moved by Federal wires, in order to resuscitate the party under another form. They Look at gaining the ascendancy in the southern states at the head of which is and must be Virginia. If they carry this point in Congress, the next will be (and they do not dissemble it) to wrest the slave states of the representation of the three fifths of the slaves. The same restriction that they propose for Missouri, will be proposed next year for Arkansas, and for all others. The slave states reduced to a minority in Congress, will afterwards very probably by some Law of Congress in which they according to their system intend to concentrate all powers, even attempt to stripe you of your property of slaves. Read and you will see that even for this Last step they are Laying foundations. You will find that they mention even the demi-sovereignity of the particular states. The pamphlet if you have not seen it before this time, will uncover to you part of their scheme. As for me as i Live here with many of them is as clear as the day Light.

Even these few words i would not have ventured to write to you, if i had not such a confidence in the bearer Mr Cleemanns partner of our Consul general, and whom i thrust intirely. I direct him to give both this letter and the pamphlet in your own hands, and no other. By the post i shall write to you something of a more indifferent nature, and remain with the most sincere friendship and attachment


Your most obedt faithful servt

Joseph Corrèa de Serra

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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