Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Andrews, 17 January 1807

on or before 17 Jan. 1807


At a time when the American people from distant and remote parts of the Union, are approaching you through the channels of public addresses, it is perhaps matter for self reproach to us, your Neighbours as well as fellow Countrymen, that we should thus long have withheld the expression of our sentiments and wishes upon the subject of your past administration and of the ensuing Presidential election.

Upon this occasion we are involuntarily led unto a slight review of the political history of our Country;—And thus our attention is naturally drawn to that public act of an early period of your life which alone, would have ranked you amongst the most prominent patriots of a glorious revolution:—and in tracing the progress of events, from that to the present day, we feel a constant admiration excited by the uniform tenor of your actions.—But we must particularly state our satisfaction at the dissipation of those alarms and apprehensions with which your first elevation to the presidency of the United States agitated one part of the community;—that our anticipations of the general system of your subsequent public measures have been fully realized:—and that it’s happy effects, under the direction of a Divine providence, are evident, in our prosperity both at home and abroad.

The pursuits of private life would doubtless, after the expiration of the present term, be most agreeable to you. There your active and enlightened mind would perhaps find the best field for it’s speculative operations.—There your feelings, amidst the pleasing circumstances incident to such a situation, would indulge themselves in feasting on the reflection that you had spent the greatest portion of your life in the service of your Country and humanity.—But, Sir, The American people claim from you a still further sacrifice.

The Constitutional period of our presidential election, a period highly interesting to Millions, is about to recur. Eminently entitled as you already are to our gratitude and thanks for many arduous and important services we could upon ordinary principles, have no further claim upon you;—but in the present case, trusting that you feel as you ought, the full force of the obligation resting on every Individual, to devote his life and talents to his Country, we have a confidence that you will not yet retire from public employment. Permit us to remark that, if it be laudable occasionally to relinquish and resume the labours of public life, according to the dictates of the public will; surely it cannot be otherwise to continue uninteruptly engaged in them, under the sacred sanction of that will.—Apart from other considerations, you well know that the application of the human powers to the purposes of philantropy and benevolence is, at all times, a pleasing and an useful task;—and that application is always most effectual and extensive when made by, or under the auspices of, those who have a distinguished influence in regulating the destinies of States.

The affairs of Nations, however prosperous, as they are important, so also, owing to their complicated combinations, are they always critical; and their management therefore requires the utmost prudence and wisdom.

Your experience, your extensive knowledge, both theoretical and practical, and your tried political conduct are strong guarantees of the future welfare of our Country:—And deeply interested as we feel in that welfare—participating, as we must, in the general fortunes, though not in some of the most valuable privileges, of the nation, we would act inconsistently if we did not raise our voice against your retirement.—The American soil, indeed is not barren of virtues and talents;—but we prefer a certainty to an uncertainty.—With you as a Candidate the probable event of a National election is obvious; without you we know not what may be the result of a contest.—Ambition—Intrigue—Accident, may produce consequences disagreeable, if not dangerous, to the community

For those and a variety of other reasons unnecessary to detail, permit us the constant spectators of your private, as well as your public conduct to hope that you will not withold your name from the list of Candidates at the approaching election.

Signed by order and on behalf of the meeting.

George Andrews Chairman

Thomas Harty Secy.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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