Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Nehemiah Dodge, 26 July 1806

Lebanon July 26th. A 1806.

Much respected Sir

It is not without the most lively sensations, which delicacy might be supposed to dictate, that I presume to address the President on a subject, which nothing short of his known benignity would move us to unfold.

In Lebanon one of the principal inland Towns of the State of Connecticut we live: and it hath fallen to my lot to stand as pastor to a congregation in Baptist order; lately formed in this place: as you will see by the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine No. 6. which accompanies this letter: all friends to the present administration, & to the person of the President.—It hath however fallen to our lot to become involved in a question with our neighbours, in reference to our interest in an old Meeting House, which a majority wished out of the way, (if not all) but which falling to the ground in our presents; the good people of the old side have moved that we should indemnify them for they have followed with suits, damages, & costs until about five thousand dollars are arrested from us. This on the back of five thousand four hundred dollars we had just expended in the building of a new House falls very severe on some of our landholders on whom executions without mercy now comes.—The consequence is (according to the plan of our G—) as it was in another case. Nehemiah 4.10.—

A few of us not directly implicated in the above mention’d dilema have purchased 8. acres of land upon a public corner near the new Meeting house (price 200.$) on which we desire to build an house for a parsonage, but being poor we are unable to build the walls without help—

Looking around to see from what quarter some little aid might come: our eyes have been directed, with great diffidence to the President’s Chair.—

We are well aware that this seat is often assailed for purposes less honorable than those which accompany this address: & we believe also that benignity is the leading ray, whenever the countenance of the President is turned toward either Friend or foe—

Nevertheless, we have so far presumed to state our necessities; that if the unremitted solicitations of nedy friends have not as yet exhausted all Presidental favor, we the friends of the President & of his pacific Administration may obtain such kind remembrance; as any falling crumbs may warrent him to bestow: and for the life of the President, & for the prosperity of his administration, we shall as in duty bound ever pray—

In behalf of the Baptist Church in this place, with sentiments of real Esteem, I subscribe my self Your Friend And Humble Servant

Nehemiah Dodge

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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