Manuscript/Mixed Material Image 1 of Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton, April 22, 1800

About this Item


Philadelphia Apr. 22. 1800.

Dear Sir, —A little reflection enables me to understand the appearances of neglect which you were kind enough to mention to me the other day. It was in March, 1797 you did me the honor of calling on me. I had then come up to Philadelphia only to take the oath of office. On that occasion I received the visits not only of every one in the city who had known me, but of great numbers who did not. The Senate adjourned finally the same day; so that being to return immediately, it was impossible to repay the numerous visits I had received. I counted therefore on finding my excuse in the impossibility of the thing. Your distance from the town prevented your knowlege of this circumstance, while those who were in the city saw & felt my justification in my departure. During the ensuing summer came on the war-fever. Those who caught it seemed to consider every man as their personal enemy who would not catch their disorder, and many suffered themselves to think it was a sufficient cause for breaking off society with them. I became sensible of this on my next arrival in town, on perceiving that many declined visiting me with whom I had been on terms of the greatest friendship & intimacy. I determined, for the first time in my life, to stand on the ceremony of the first visit, even with my friends; because it served to sift out those who chose a separation. I was happy to be informed by yourself that your declining to visit was on a different ground; a ground too, which while it might well appear otherwise to you then, you will now be sensible I hope was involuntary & unavoidable on my part. I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. During the whole of the last war, which was trying enough, I never deserted a friend because he had taken an opposite side; & those of my own state who joined the British government can attest my unremitting zeal in saving their property, & can point out the laws in our statute book which I drew, & carried through in their favor. However I have seen during the late political paroxysm here numbers whom I had highly esteemed; draw off from me, in so much as to cross the street to avoid meeting me. The fever is abating and doubtless some of them will correct the momentary wanderings of their heart, & return again. If they do, they will meet the constancy of my esteem, & the same oblivion of this as of any other delirium which might happen to them. I am happy to find you as clear of political antipathies as I am; & am particularly

About this Item

Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton, April 22, 1800
Created / Published
Subject Headings
-  Correspondence
Call Number/Physical Location
series: Series 1: General Correspondence. 1651-1827
Microfilm Reel: 022
Source Collection
The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Digital Id
Online Format
online text

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Credit Line: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.

The following items are included in this Collection with permission:

The essay "American Sphinx: The Contradictions of Thomas Jefferson" by Joseph J. Ellis was originally published in the November-December 1994 issue of Civilization: The Magazine of the Library of Congress and may not be reprinted in any other form or by any other source.

The essay "The Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London: A Conservator's Perspective" by Sylvia R. Albro and Holly H. Krueger was originally published in a slightly different form in Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of the Institute of Paper Conservation, 6-9 April 1997 and may not be reprinted in any other form or by any other source.

Rembrandt Peale's 1800 Thomas Jefferson portrait on the Thomas Jefferson Time Line is from the White House Collection, courtesy of the White House Historical Association.

The image of Thomas Jefferson on the home page is from a photomechanical print held in the Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs Division, Presidential File, and is a reproduction of the popular 1805 Rembrandt Peale portrait in the collection of the New-York Historical Society.

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Chicago citation style:

Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton. -04-22, 1800. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

(1800) Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton. -04-22. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

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Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton. -04-22, 1800. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.