Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – I was asking the question as to whether or not Patrick Henry was correct when he predicted that the office of President is to become a great and powerful king and he is to be supported in extravagant magnificence. What did Jefferson, when he succeeded John Adams to the office of the President, say to those he was corresponding with about what he was about to do? There are a couple of instances we have here. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Walter Froge writes:
Is it not ironic that presidents and wannabe presidents spend millions of other people’s dollars to get the right to live in Washington, DC and then spend as much time as possible being in other places if they win the office? Not one of them ever changed residence to Washington, DC after their term is up.
Mike: Name the former president that lives in Mordor on the Potomac River, name one. Give me one, just one. Jimmy Carter lives in Georgia. Bill Clinton lives in Aliquippa, New York. George W. Bush lives in Crawford, Texas, I believe. Ronald Reagan is dead. Pappy Bush lives somewhere in Texas, Houston or somewhere thereabouts. Have I covered them all? I believe that’s it. So no, we don’t have any presidents that take up residence inside the capital emerald city. I was asking the question as to whether or not Patrick Henry was correct when he predicted that the office of President is to become a great and powerful king and he is to be supported in extravagant magnificence. What did Jefferson, when he succeeded John Adams to the office of the President, say to those he was corresponding with about what he was about to do? There are a couple of instances we have here. I have a small collection of letters. The first is 21 March 1801 to Joseph Priestley. In this letter he writes about all kinds of things that are on his mind. This is a long letter so I’m going to jump around.
Those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy, — the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man, — endeavored to crush your well-earnt & well-deserved fame. But it was the Lilliputians upon Gulliver. Our countrymen have recovered from the alarm into which art & industry had thrown them; science & honesty are replaced on their high ground; and you, my dear Sir, as their great apostle, are on its pinnacle. It is with heartfelt satisfaction that, in the first moments of my public action, I can hail you with welcome to our land, tender to you the homage of its respect & esteem, cover you under the protection of those laws which were made for the wise and good like you, and disdain the legitimacy of that libel on legislation, which under the form of a law, was for some time placed among them…
I have been, above all things, solaced by the prospect which opened on us, in the event of a non-election of a President; in which case, the federal government would have been in the situation of a clock or watch run down. There was no idea of force, nor of any occasion for it. A convention, invited by the republican members of Congress, with the virtual President & Vice President, would have been on the ground in 8 weeks, would have repaired the Constitution where it was defective, & wound it up again.
Mike: That’s what he wrote, in part, to Priestley, who he was having an ongoing conversation with. To George Jefferson, no relation to George “movin’ on up” Jefferson and the 1970s TV show, on 27 March 1801.
The resolution you so properly approved had long been formed in my mind. The public will never be made to believe that an appointment of a relative is made on the ground of merit alone, uninfluenced by family views; nor can they ever see with approbation offices, the disposal of which they entrust to their Presidents for public purposes, divided out as family property. [Mike: Jefferson is saying: Dude, you’re related to me. I can’t give you a gig. He’s refusing this George Jefferson character a job. He’s saying: No, I can’t do it, nepotism. We’re not a monarchy here.] Mr. Adams degraded himself infinitely by his conduct on this subject, as General Washington had done himself the greatest honor. With two such examples to proceed by, I should be doubly inexcusable to err. It is true that this places the relations of the President in a worse situation than if he were a stranger, but the public good, which cannot be affected if its confidence be lost, requires this sacrifice. Perhaps too it is compensated by sharing in the public esteem. I could be not satisfied until I assured you of the increased esteem with which this transaction fills me for you. Accept my expressions of it.
Mike: To Samuel Adams, 29 March 1801 – this is Thomas Jefferson as president here. You notice the trend of how humbly he accepts the office and says: This is really, really above me and I really don’t want to screw this up, and I certainly don’t want to violate the public trust. Oh, to have another Thomas Jefferson around.
When I have been told that you were avoided, insulted, frowned on, I could but say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” [Mike: He’s quoting Jesus.] I confess I felt an indignation for you, which for myself I have been able, under every trial, to keep entirely passive. However, the storm is over, and we are in port. The ship was not rigged for the service she was put on. We will show the smoothness of her motions on her republican tack. [Mike: That’s with a little “r” again. How many of you are owners of [r]epublican accoutrement and merchandise available at the Founders Tradin’ Post? Jefferson keeps referring to it in his early days in office, doesn’t he?] I hope we shall once more see harmony restored among our citizens, and an entire oblivion of past feuds. Some of the leaders, who have most committed themselves, cannot come into this. But I hope the great body of our fellow-citizens will do it. I will sacrifice every thing but principle to procure it. A few examples of justice on officers who have perverted their functions to the oppression of their fellow-citizens, must, in justice to those citizens, be made. But opinion, and the just maintenance of it, shall never be a crime in my view; nor bring injury on the individual. Those whose misconduct in office ought to have produced their removal even by my predecessor, must not be protected by the delicacy due only to honest men. How much I lament that time has deprived me of your aid. It would have been a day of glory which should have called you to the first office of the administration. But give us your counsel, my friend, and give us your blessing: and be assured that there exists not in the heart of man a more faithful esteem than mine to you, and that I shall ever bear you the most affectionate veneration and respect.
Mike: So just a smattering there of what the great TJ wrote his first week in office and who he wrote to: Sam Adams, Joseph Priestley — not to be confused with actor Jason Priestley — and George Jefferson — not to be confused with George “movin’ on up” Jefferson, all in a humble manner, saying he had to discharge a duty, some things people weren’t going to like but he had to do it, and that republican principle required it of him. How interesting and intriguing. Do you think he scheduled any string quartet concerts at the White House at public expense? Just wondering out loud.
End Mike Church Show Transcript