Manuscript/Mixed Material Thomas Jefferson to Tench Coxe, December 31, 1800

About this Item


December 31, 1800.

I shall neither frank nor subscribe my letter, because I do not chuse to commit myself to the fidelity of the post-office. For the same reason, I have avoided putting pen to paper through the whole summer, except on mere business, because I knew it was a prying season. I received from time to time papers under your superscription, which shewed that our friends were not inattentive to the great operation which was agitating the nation. You are by this time apprised of the embarrassment produced by the equality of votes between the two republican candidates. The contrivance in the Constitution for marking the votes works badly, because it does not enounce precisely the true expression of the public will. We do not see what is to be the issue of the present difficulty. The federalists, among whom those of the republican section are not the strongest, propose to prevent an election in Congress, and to transfer the government by an act to the C. J. (Jay) or Secretary of State, or to let it devolve on the Pres pro tem. of the Senate, till next December, which gives them another year's predominance, and the chances of future events. The republicans propose to press forward to an election. If they fail in this, a concert between the two higher candidates may prevent the dissolution of the government and danger of anarchy, by an operation, bungling indeed & imperfect, but better than letting the Legislature take the nomination of the Executive entirely from the people. Excuse the infrequency of my acknowledgments of your kind attentions. The danger of interruption makes it prudent for me not to indulge my personal wishes in that way. I pray you to accept assurances of my great esteem.

About this Item

Thomas Jefferson to Tench Coxe, December 31, 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

Rights & Access

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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 Tench Coxe. -12-31, 1800. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

(1800) Thomas Jefferson to Tench Coxe. -12-31. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Thomas Jefferson to Tench Coxe. -12-31, 1800. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.