Thomas Jefferson Papers

Excerpts from John Randolph’s Notebook, 31 January 1809

Jan 1809


Granger, Gideon. P.M.G.—holds his office by a certain tenure. When a prosecution was commenced, at common law, in Connecticut for a libel upon mr J. he wrote to Granger confidentially & entrusted certain papers to him relating to mrs W—’s affair which the wary Yankee refused to give up. He was alternately threatened & soothed by the P. & his agents but to no purpose—& altho he is for the best reasons hated by mr M—n, & what is of more moment by mrs M—n he boasts that he will retain his place under the new P. His pamphlet (Al: Sidney) is already trumpetted by the ministerial prints which have their cue; Intellr. Enqr: &c. See Lear Tobias.


Jefferson Thomas.

Gen. Washington kept a diary which with other papers were put into the hands of Tobias Lear, after his death. When they were returned to Bushrod W. every thing in the diary which related to Mr. Jefferson was cut out. See Lear Tobias.

Much diplomacy has been exerted to prevail upon my colleague [. . .] to give up the treaty negotiated with his father in law & the accompanying documents. Hitherto he has resisted & he was advised to resist all importunity if he valued the honour of his wife’s family. He expressed a fear [. . . .], to destroy these evidences of his dishonour should cause his house to be set on fire during his absence. 1811-12

Jefferson Thomas. see Logan. Granger. Lear

About the commencement of the 2d. Session of the 9th. Congress, mr J. asked the S. of the Treasury, who would be chairman of the Committee of Ways & Means? mr G. said J.R.—J. said it would never do. G. replied that as chairman of W. & M. J R. had given all proper support to his measures of finance & that he could see no objection to his appointment. J. “who else could be selected?” G. “There is no one else fit for the chair of that committee but J. Clay, & in case Randolph should not be here, which I think not improbable, Macon I have no doubt will appoint him.” (There was a report that I would not be at the opening of the session) J. “Clay will not do. He is Randolph’s friend. but Macon will not have an opportunity of appointing him, as the committees will be selected by ballot.” Accordingly a proposition to that effect was brought forward by mr Sloane. [GRAPHIC IN MANUSCRIPT] I have this information from the most direct & authentic source. for letter to Callendar see my portfolio. Repertory

Mr. Richd. Brent told me this night (thurs day june 22d. 1809) that mr Jefferson declared to him, on the 4th. of March last, that mr Robt. Smith had been forced on the administration as Secry: of State by mr Giles. That he (mr J.) had done every thing in his power to resist it but was compelled to yield: that he knew as well as mr B. that the Smith’s were not republicans—that they were men of no talents—but selfish intriguers.


Logan Geo: esqr. says we are now (Jan. 1809) going on as our opponents were in 1798. When this true patriot returned from his voyage to France after having preserved his country from a war with the Directory, so fearful was the then Vice-President that the Doctor’s movement in that affair might be ascribed to his agency, that he suggested to Logan “that he should assign to the public the religious opinions (those of the Quakers) in which he had been bred as the cause of his interference with the French Govt.” To which the other replied that “he could not for it would be a Lie.”

They have convinced the Dr. that they are desirous of peace with G.B. altho not of the wisdom of the measures which they are taking (as they say) to attain it. Qu: is this to prevent his going to England? (myself.) It is fashionable now with the majority to say of this really honest patriot “He is going to England”—& then revile him as Harper &c: did in 1798. for going to France.

[Lanman burnt in Effigy for his miss[. . . .] act [. . . .] ]

Lear Tobias formerly private Secretary to Gen. Washington was after that great man’s death entrusted by Bushrod W. with the case of his papers until the historian of his life should be fixed upon. When the Biographer came to look over the correspondence, which was most accurately arranged by Gen. W. all the letters from mr Jefferson were missing. ’Tis needless to add, what is generally known, that Lear obtained from mr J. an honorable & lucrative appointment, which he still holds.+. See also, Jefferson, Thomas, for an anecdote respecting Gen. W.’s diary.


Monroe said to Jno. Mercer & Gen. Minor in the upper palour of the Columbian Inn, Fredericksburg, that mr Jefferson was as great a hypocrite as any in the U.S. except Tim: Pickering.

H.T. understood him to say that the transactions in Europe & here (relative to the treaty & sending an extra-Envoy) were designed by Madison & Jefferson to sacrifice him to an intrigue for the Presidency. Difficult part of negotiation thrown upon his shoulders after he had brought the other points to a situation that rendered them comparatively easy, & they were given to Pinkney. Pinkney was the obstacle—the delay—Fox’s death. 1807-8. (Hugh Mercer, George Strother. James Semple. Phil. Doddridge Daniel Sheffy. supposed by H.T to have conversations with ______ to above effect.

+ by no precarious tenure.


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