George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joseph Anderson, 2 November 1796

State of Tennessee Jefferson County 2nd November 1796


Impress’d with that deference with which from a Very early period of my life—I have been taught to Venerate and respect, your great and exalted Charecter—permit me—once more (perhaps for the last time) to adress you.

The great the important era, which will e’er long deprive the Citizens of the United States—of the Patronage to which they have been long accustomed; and under which they have become, a great, free, and independant people—will I fear from the disposition, that too evidently prevails in our public Councils—prove distructive of the happiness and dignity of our riseing Republic—The adress great Sir with which you have favord the american people Contains precepts, and a train of reasoning, which cannot fail to impress the mind, of every thinking Citizen—Those precepts being Supported by your example, dureing an arduous administration; may perhaps, preserve some degree of Political Unanimity, in the General Government, dureing the remainder of your days, which may the Author of our being greatly prolong. But even upon that ground I have my fears—party I doubt, hath already taken too deep a root—It hath even extended its baneful influence, to the infant State of Tennessee—A leading Charecter of this Country—and who is now one of the Senators—when pressing some of the most influential Men to agree, to become a Member State of the General Government—gave as a Cogent Political reason, that it wou’d give the Southern interest the ballance of power in the Senate—Such sentiments thus inculcated, are of pernecious consequence in every Government, they teach the Citizens of one State, to View with a Jealous eye, those of another, as possessing interests directly repugnant—and those Sentiments being Nurtur’d, among the Citizens, of the respective States—they are carried from thence, into the General Government—The Charecter above alluded to, hath already established a most decided party in this State, in favor of those Sentiments—It gives me Sensible pain, when I contemplate the injury that Such Conduct, (if not check’d) must one day bring upon my Country—Tis now upwards of twenty years, since I engaged in its Service—though then young, I considerd the States, as haveing but one Common interest—that Series of Observation, hath confirm’d me, in my former Opinion; and I am now firmly convinc’d, that naught but Unanimity, can long preserve, our Consolidated existance—With Sorrow I behold, almost all the great officers of this State, of a party—establishd by the influence and designs of one man—and yet not content—I have Solid reason to believe, that the same man (and who is now a Senator) means if practicable, to procure another Gentleman of the same party, to be appointed District Judge of this State—There are too persons I am told in Contemplation—one of them is a young man, now about five and twenty—whose name is Claibourne—and who about three years ago—wrote as a Clerk in Mr Becklys office—The other is a Gentleman of the Bar, who hath been Sometime in practice, in this Country—of the name of Rhea—a decided party man—and under the immediate influence, of the Charecter above Mention’d, one of those two persons, is if possible to be appointed District Judge—in exclusion of Judge Campbell—To whom, it hath been Supposed, the appointment might probably be given, he ha[veing] been the Seneor Territorial Judge—against him nothing can be Objected, but his haveing been rigid, in the execution of the Laws, and in Supporting the Treaties of the United States, when a Judge—and a man of such [a] Charecter, will in my Opinion, best Suit the Meridian of this Country—In the Judiciary, Judge Campbell ha[s] already been tryed—and I think him much better qualif[yed] to fill that important appointment, than either of the Gentlemen, of whom I have Spoken—I must crave your pardon Great Sir, for presuming to Suggest to you a Sing[le] Idea, upon the Subject of any appointment—And had I [not] seen your late adress to the Citizens of America, I shoud not have dar’d to adress you, a line upon the Subject—but impress’d as I am, with the Justice of its precepts, and the Solidity of reasoning therin Containd; and intending to pass the remainder of my days in this Country; I feel myself call’d upon, to give if possible a check to the rageing disposition of party—by Suppressing it in States, it may be a means of preserving harmony in those little Republics—and thereby lessen its influence in the Grand Councils of the Nation. with Sincere wishes, for your Temporal and eternal happiness I am with great Respect—your most obedt Servt

Jos: Anderson

DNA: RG 59—ML—Miscellaneous Letters.

Index Entries