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[39]

City of Washnigton, April 28th, 1804.
Dear Sir,--I reached this place on last evening. I have been detained on my journey, since I had the pleasure of meeting you, four days by high waters and an inflammation in my leg, which has in a great measure subsided, but I am not free from pain.

The President is at Monticello. He has lost his daughter, Mrs. Epps. Not a hint who is to be appointed to the government of New Orleans. I did not call to see the President. My reasons I will concisely state, and leave you to judge whether they are or not founded upon just premises. It was not known to me whether he had made the appointment. In case I had waited upon him, and the office of governor of New Orleans not filled, it would have been perhaps construed as the call of a courtier; and of all characters on earth my feelings despise a man capable of cringing to power for a benefit or office. And such characters as are capable of bending for the sake of an office are badly calculated for a representative system, where merit alone should lead to preferment. These being my sensations and believing that a call upon him under present existing circumstances might be construed as the act of a courtier, I traveled on, engaging my own feelings; and let me declare to you that before I would violate my own ideas of propriety, I would yield up any office in the government, were I in possession of the most honorable and lucrative. Who the choice is to fall on is not known here, unless to the Secretary of State. But I have reasons to conclude that Mr. Claibourne will not fill that office. I have also reasons to believe that if a suitable character can be found who is master of the French language that he will be preferred. I think that a proper qualification for the governor of that country to possess, provided it is accompanied with other necessary ones. I never had any sanguine expectations of filling the office; if I should, it will be more than I expect. But permit me here again to repeat that the friendly attention of my friends, and those particularly that I am confident acted from motives of pure friendship to me (among whom I rank you), never shall be forgotten. Gratitude is always the concomitant of a bosom susceptible of true friendship, and if I know myself my countenance never says to a man that I am his friend but my heart beats in unison with it. Permit me here, with that candor that you will always find me to possess, to state that I am truly gratified to find that your constituents alone are not the only part of the Union that think highly of your legislative conduct; it extends as far as your speeches have been read, and you are known as a member of the representative branch. May you continue to grow in popularity on the basis of your own merit,


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