Manuscript/Mixed Material Image 1 of Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, February 18, 1801

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Washington, Feb 18, 1801.

Dear Sir, —Notwithstanding the suspected infidelity of the post, I must hazard this communication. The minority in the H of R, after seeing the impossibility of electing B, the certainty that a legislative usurpation would be resisted by arms, and a recourse to a convention to re-organize and amend the government, held a consultation on this dilemma, whether it would be better for them to come over in a body and go with the tide of the times, or by a negative conduct suffer the election to be made by a bare majority, keeping their body entire & unbroken, to act in phalanx on such ground of opposition as circumstances shall offer; and I know their determination on this question only by their vote of yesterday. Morris of V withdrew, which made Lyon's vote that of his State. The Maryland federalists put in 4. blanks, which made the positive ticket of their colleagues the vote of the State. S Carolina & Delaware put in 6. blanks. So there were 10. States for one candidate, 4. for another, & 2. blanks. We consider this, therefore, as a declaration of war, on the part of this band. But their conduct appears to have brought over to us the whole body of the federalists, who, being alarmed with the danger of a dissolution of the government, had been made most anxiously to wish the very administration they had opposed, & to view it when obtained, as a child of their own. They [ illegible ] too their quondam leaders separated fairly from them, and themselves relegated under other banners. Even Hamilton & Higginson have been partisans for us. This circumstance, with the unbounded confidence which will attach to the new ministry as soon as known, will start us on right ground. Mr. A. embarrasses us. He keeps the offices of State and War vacant, but has named Bayard M P to France, and has called an unorganized Senate to meet the fourth of March. As you do not like to be here on that day, I wish you would come within a day or two after. I think that between that & the middle of the month we can so far put things under way, as that we may go home to make arrangements for our final removal. Come to Conrad's, where I will bespeak lodgings

About this Item

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, February 18, 1801
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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Thomas Jefferson to James Madison. -02-18, 1801. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

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(1801) Thomas Jefferson to James Madison. -02-18. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

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Thomas Jefferson to James Madison. -02-18, 1801. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.