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Thomas Jefferson wrote letter to residents of Newberry Township in 1801

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson in his first year of his presidency sent a letter thanking several supporters in Newberry Township in northeastern York County. His letter later appeared in various friendly newspapers around the country. A copy of the Connecticut Courant from June 1, 1801, has been listed for auction on eBay and the seller is featuring the article reprinting Jefferson’s letter. While not Civil War related as most of my blog posts, nevertheless I found this interesting.

Newberry Township in the early 19th century was a progressive community, with a regular lyceum offering debates and lectures on a wide-ranging, diverse set of topics from slavery to social reform. Traveling speakers, many of them Quakers, came from throughout the area to espouse their views. Residents of the township became an early force in the anti-slavery movement, and much of the initial traffic on the Underground Railroad in York County passed through Lewisberry and the nearby farms and Quaker meeting houses.

With such a literary and social focus, it is no wonder that the citizens’ support for Jefferson’s candidacy did not go unnoticed or unanswered.

Here is the newly elected third president’s response to Newberry Township, as printing in the Hartford newspaper…

Newberry letter Jefferson

President Jefferson, in his reply to an address from sundry inhabitants of Newbury Township, Pennsylvania, says.

“Assurances of attachment and support from any description of my fellow-citizens, are accepted with thankfulness and satisfaction. I will ask that attachment and support no longer than I endeavour to deserve them by a faithful administration of their affairs in the true spirit of the constitution, and according to the laws framed in consonance with that. The sentiments expressed on my undertaking the important charge confided to me, were expressed in the sincerity of my heart; and after the freedom and security of our common country, no object lies to near my heart as to heal the wounded confidence of society, and see men and fellow citizens in affectionate union with one another. I join, therefore with the inhabitants of Newbury township, who have been pleased to address me through you, in earnest desires that a spirit of benevolence and mutual toleration may soothe the great family of mankind once more into order and peace.”