George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 24 November 1792

From Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Nov. 24. 92.

Th: Jefferson returns to the President mister Cooper’s pamphlet which he has perused with much satisfaction, & is thankful for the opportunity of perusing it, furnished him by the kindness of the President.1


1Jefferson apparently enclosed the pamphlet that had been written recently by British native Thomas Cooper (1759–1839), who traveled to France in the spring of 1792 to lend support to the radical faction of the French Revolution. A denunciation of Cooper by Edmund Burke led to Cooper’s publishing in London later this year A Reply to Mr. Burke’s Invective against Mr. Cooper, and Mr. Watt, in the House of Commons, on the 30th of April, 1792. Cooper’s call for reform of Britain’s political, economic, and social systems in this pamphlet and other writings resulted in persecution that convinced him to depart for the United States in 1794. He practiced law in Pennsylvania for several years before settling permanently in South Carolina in 1820 as a professor of chemistry and later president of South Carolina College. Cooper’s political sympathies lay with Jefferson’s Democratic followers, and he was tried in 1800 for libel under the Sedition Act of 1798 for his criticism of President John Adams. Found guilty, he was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $400.

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