Philadelphia October 17th. 1807
As an enemy to misrepresentation, I feel myself called upon to contradict, in a respectful manner, the statement in the Aurora of the 13th. Instant on the subject of General Shee’s appointment to the office of collector of this port. In doing this, I trust that the justice done to my own feelings, and the cause of truth, will bear my apology for presuming upon your attention. Without attempting an inquiry into the cause of Mr. Duan’s attack upon me, and the misrepresentation of my Sentiments of yourself personaly, and your administration, I will only observe that the high Opinion which I have uniformly expressed with Sincerity, of the general principles, which have marked and distinguished the measures of goverment, and particularly Since your Accession to the presidency, will, at least ought to excite impressions very different from those which have been so very diligently Indeavoured to be made by the Aurora. Mr. Duane, confidently presumes upon my Disapprobation of your Appointment of Genl. Shee, and endeavours to impress upon the publick mind, a belief of my having dropped my favourable Opinions of yourself and your administration. all that I wish you to be Assured of is, that the contrary is the fact. I have Asserted that the Appointment could not have fallen upon a more deserving man Amongst the Applicants Whom I understand you had before you. Mr Duane imagines, that I am not Satisfied with your choice; because it rests upon his particular friend, and because the general is friendly to Dr. Leib of Whom I do not approve. This is the logic which has led to the denounciation of many Valuable republicans in this State; a mere difference of Opinion as to men, has been Artfully magnified into an abandonment of principles; and the best men have been denounced, because they had the Spirit and independence to call the integrity of Dr. Leib into question. I have every disposition to enlarge on this Subject; but a Sense of the important concerns which must now inevitably Arrest your Attention, compells me to close this letter with a few words. Whatever may be the opinion entertained of my principles, I am happy in being con[. . .] of having preserved them unsullied and uncorrupted, through and from the termenation of our revolutionary conflict until the present moment. no political Junture which was capable of calling forth the best republican energies of the country, has found me indifferent to her interests; and if I have not always seen political Measures in exactly the Same point of Veiw, in which Mr. Duane & Dr. Leib Appeared to have Surveyd them, I defy any man to challenge the purity of my Motives, Which the general tenor of my conduct discoverd my transgressions Appear to consist in an Opposition to the Election of Dr. Leib, & Mr. Duane, of Whom as an Accuser in the case of the impeachment of Governor McKean, I was unwilling to Accept as a Judge and in this, I have the Approbation of my concience; of which neither misrepresentation nor Abuse can deprive me. As it respects my Attachment to you & your administration, believe me Sir, the heart of no man in the country beats Warmer.
I am Sir, Your Excellency’s Obdt. Humble Servt
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.