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Boudinot, Elias (1740-1821) to Jacob Burnett re: Jefferson inaugural, Napoleonic wars

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05242 Author/Creator: Boudinot, Elias (1740-1821) Place Written: Philadelphia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1801/04/25 Pagination: 3 p. + docket + addr 32.8 x 19.8 cm

Background Information: Beginning in his first day in office, Jefferson sought to demonstrate his administration's commitment to republican principles. At noon, March 1, 1801, clad in clothes of plain cloth, he walked from a ...nearby boarding house to the new U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. and took the presidential oath of office. In his inaugural address, he sought to allay fear that he planned a Republican reign of terror. "We are all Republicans," he said, "we are all Federalists." Echoing Washington's Farewell Address, he asked his listeners to set aside partisan and sectional differences. He also laid out the principles that would guide his presidency: a frugal, limited government; reduction of the public debt; respect for states' rights; encouragement of agriculture; and a limited role for government in peoples' lives.
In the following letter, Elias Boudinot (1740-1821), a leading New Jersey Federalist who had served as president of the Continental Congress, describes the reaction to Jefferson's inaugural address and then comments on recent events in Europe, which hold out the prospects of radical shifts in European power relations. As the letter makes clear, the United States was born during a period of war and revolution, which presented the country both with great opportunities for territorial expansion and grave perils to its political and economic independence.
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Full Transcript: …We have but little political News--the Presidents inauguration Speech gave great hopes that he would pursue such measures, as to reconcile all parties--but some turnings out of appointments have a ...little roused the Jealousy of the federalists to fear the worst-- However there seems a prevailing disposition to give the present administration fair play, and to make no opposition, till a full experiment is made--
Great Brittain has experienced a great reverse of her fortune--Lately she was in league with all the Powers of Europe ag[ainst] France--Now all the Powers of Europe seem to be leagued ag[ainst] her--The King is again quite insane--a dreadful scarcity, if not a famine, prevails thru the united Kingdoms. Mr. Pitt has again assumed the reins of government, and the Dogs of War are let loose afresh to destroy mankind--France & Spain are invading Portugal, and a deadly stroke at the trade of great Brittain, is [making] by all the northern Powers, joined by France and Russia--

Thus it is that the Powers of Europe seem to be overturning, overturning & will still be overturning "till' he whose right it is, shall rule & reign."…
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People: Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
Burnett, J., fl. 1789

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: American StatesmenPresidentInaugurationInaugural AddressPresidential Speeches and ProclamationsMilitary HistoryGlobal History and CivicsForeign Affairs

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison

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