Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Hempstead, 24 February 1809

Feb. 24. 09.

to the Republican young men
of the city of New London.

The approbation which you are pleased to express of my past administration is highly gratifying to me. that in a free Government there should be differences of Opinion as to public measures & the conduct of those who direct them is to be expected: it is much however to be lamented that these differences should be indulged at a crisis which calls for the undivided councils & energies of our country, & in a form calculated to encourage our enemies in the refusal of justice, & to force their country into war as the only resource for obtaining it.

You do justice to the Government in believing that their utmost endeavors have been used to steer us clear of wars with other nations, and honor to yourselves in declaring that if these endeavors prove ineffectual and your country is called upon to defend it’s rights and injured honor by an appeal to arms, you will be ready for the contest & will meet our enemies at the threshold of our country. while prudence will endeavor to avoid this issue, bravery will prepare to meet it.

I thank you fellow Citizens for your kind expressions of regard for myself, & prayers for my future happiness, and I join in supplications to that Almighty Being who has heretofore guarded our councils, still to continue his gracious benedictions towards our country & that yourselves may be under the protection of his divine favor.

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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