To Thomas Jefferson April 20, 1805 (2)

To Thomas Jefferson April 20, 1805 (2)

N[ew] Y[ork],

NEW ROCHELLE,

DEAR SIR:

I wrote you on 1st January from N[ew] Rochelle mentioning my intention of spending part of the winter at Washington; but the severity of the winter and the bad condition of the roads and rivers prevented me and I stayed at N[ew] York. I wrote you from that place a second letter of more than nine pages on a variety of subjects accompanied with a Hamburgh Gazette and a letter from a revolutionary sergeant at Kentucky. On the 10th February which I judge was about a fortnight after my second letter was sent. I received a letter from you of the fifteenth January acknowledging the receipt of my first letter of January 1st., but of the second letter enclosing the Hamburgh Gazette and also proposals from a Hamburgh merchant to bring German redemptioners to New Orleans I have heard nothing. I did not put the letter into the post office myself but I sent it by a friend who assures me he delivered it.

The enclosed half sheet marked No. 1 is part of a letter which I began the latter part of last summer but as I then intended to make further experiments I suspended finishing it, for I do not permit the whole of my mind, nor ever did, to be engaged or absorbed by one object only. When I was in France and in England since the year 1787, I carried on my political productions, religious publications, and mechanical operations, all at the same time, without permitting one to disturb or interfere with the other. The piece No. 2 is part of a third letter which I began after the receipt of yours of January 15th. This confusion and interference of dates arise from the uncertainty I am in with respect to the fate of my second letter.

I intend continuing my letters addressed "To the Citizens of the United States." The last, No. 7, published the summer before the last was chiefly on the affairs of New Orleans. I distinguish those letters from others of a less public character, as the remarks on Gouverneur Morris's funeral oration on Hamilton, that on the Ana Memorial, and the piece to Hulbert.

The reflections which Hulbert threw out with respect to your letter to Mr. Dawson arose from some half equivocal qualifying paragraphs which appeared I believe in the National Intelligencer before my arrival. Dr. Eustis1 wrote me from Washington more than two years ago: "Those paragraphs and which are supposed to be under Mr. Jefferson's direction, have embarrassed Mr. Jefferson's friends in Massachusetts. They appeared like a half denial of the letter or as if there was something in it not proper to be owned, or that needed an apology. I was [most] offended by one which I saw while in Paris and which determined me not to come by a national ship. It was copied from the National Intelligencer, a Baltimore federal newspaper, and introduced into that paper with the words in capitals "Out at Last." It owned the receipt of a letter from me in which I pressed a wish to return by a national ship and the paragraph concluded thus, "permission was granted," as if the giving it was an act of charity, or of great [illegible] had the appearance of apologizing. Hulbert introduced the letter by way of convicting you of something you had appeared to disown, or given cause to your friends to disown. I have given Hulbert the [illegible]

he deserved, and you the credit the letter merits, but had no equivocation [illegible] made of the letter Hulbert could not have made the use of it he did.

Yours in friendship

THOMAS PAINE.

  1. Dr. William Eustis, formerly a student of Dr. Joseph Warren, the eminent Revolutionary physician, was a staunch follower of Jefferson. He was a member of the House of Representatives.

Jefferson wrote to Paine, on June 5, 1805: "Dr. Eustis' observation to you that certain paragraphs in the National Intelligencer' respecting my letter to you, 'supposed to be under Mr. Jefferson's direction, had embarrassed Mr. Jefferson's friends in Massachusetts; that they appeared like a half denial of the letter, or as if there was something in it not proper to be owned, or that needed an apology,' is one of those mysterious half confidences difficult to be understood. That tory printers should think it dangerous to identify me with that paper, the Aurora, etc., in order to obtain ground for abusing me, is perhaps fair warfare. But that any one who knows me personally should listen one moment to such an insinuation, is what I did not expect. I neither have, nor ever had, any more connection with those papers than our antipodes have; nor know what is to be in them until I see it in them, except proclamations and other documents sent for publication. The friends in Massachusetts who could be embarrassed by so weak a weapon as this, must be feeble friends indeed. With respect to the letter, I never hesitated to avow and to justify myself to contradict anything which is said. At that time, however, there were certain anomalies in the motions of some of our friends, which events have at length reduced to regularity. Jefferson Mss., Library of Congress.-Editor.