Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Oliver, 23 February 1807

Cincinnati Feby 23d 1807

Respected Sir/

Among a volume of communications which I apprehend has been forwarded to you from the Western Country I beg of you to bear with the present I being one of the humble Class and have passed without notice during the great bustle which has been going on here—I would fain communicate the sum of my observations thereon—The Filth and Dirt which have issued from these disputants about Fame Character and Patriotism cannot have escaped your notice in the public papers—I have after Some Silent investigation demonstrated that neither of the present champions are actuated by the impulse of Patriotism the one N— you I suppose have been presented with Documents in regard to his transactions in Europe which must Sink [. . .] in your Estimation and indeed Several instances might be adverted to Since here which would Develope his character—But his Enemies (who are enemies to the republican administration) proudly exult and denounce all those who acted with him—Sir I do not know nor can I conceive that the criminateing a Second person will exonerate me in the commission of an improper act—This is the case with his oponents who are to a man Federalists who are clamerours in their approbation and noisy Huzzas in favour of John Smith a man who but a few years Since they despised but Since by some Kind of magic they have converted into their Schemes and views they exalt him to the Skies and will do any thing dirty to defend him. I have endeavoured to take a Retrospect of this man and find the subsequent acts of his life to accord with his original character—We find him first an adventurous youth without friends Education or property unacquainted with the world or its manners in this Stage he becomes the Enthusiastic Devotee of Religion and becomes an Expounder of its Tenets—in this Character he establishes a basis for future greatness and by the extravagance of Piety the affections of an uninformed People—The moment opportunity presented a field for his soaring views to act upon he lays by his Divinity—Yes and When a point again was to be carried we find the humble penitent at the altar of his God before his deluded followers confessing his Backslidings and returning to piety and regenerating influence—Thrice did he fall away & twice hath he returnded even from infidelity—His Political propriety will bear the same pourtraying What did he declare to be his Creed on setting out in politics and to whom does he owe his Elevation—To the Republicans—Has he acted in consistence [. . .] good faith to that Party—No—has he not in several instances [. . .] Federalists to your notice to Fill Lucrative and important offices Register of the Land Office &c &c &c—has he not associated with Federals constantly and made entertainments Solely for them—Yes—Did he not at the Last full Election at much trouble and Expence provide an enternmaint at the Round Bottom for 400 persons (it being at a General training) and there recommend to their suffrage Ethan Stone a Declared and open Federalist as a Candidate for the Legislature—Yes and Stone succeeded by a majority of Four votes over Joseph Kitchel the Republican candidate and a relative of Aaron Kitchel Member of the Senate from N.J.

This I will not Declare but I heard a Doctor Ceely of this vicinity declare that he heard him within three months advocate a Division of the States—Johnathan Dayton is a constant theme of Panggyric with him his Miniature with Aaron Burr’s have been till very lately exhibited in his parlour—

Who did he suppose those Gun Boat Schooners were for which Coll. Burr’s German attendant was engajed in the copying the drawings of Last September in his house and under his direction.

How long did he declare that Coll. Burr had no improper views when it has since been satisfactorily proved that he had &c he J— Knew it—

How came his Son a Youth who had always acted strictly under the obedience of his Father to have home be at Chilicothe at [. . .] passing of the Law and thence carry the information to Marietta

The Legislature had no confidence left in him plainly appears by their resolution desiring him to resign his Seat—

From this Sir you will be able to Judge somewhat of the combatants—Be assured that here the Federalists are but inconsiderable in point of either numbers or Talents—(that is with the exception of the Town) but somehow they manage to possess the post offices—From what I [. . .] [hear daily] I know they would prostrate you & your administration had they the power The Republicans view this with dissatisfaction and would beg to see things in a better train to promote the General good

I am Sir assuredly yours and the true Friend of my Country

James Oliver

[Note by TJ on verso:]

See Anon. of Mar. 15. 07. declaring he has assumed the feigned name of James Oliver

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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