1800.028: A Vindication of the Conduct of Thomas Jefferson.

Published: 1800

Full Title: Richmond, April 12th, 1800. Dear Sir, The General Committee having been informed that efforts were making in many parts of the state to injure Mr. Jefferson and his friends ...

Author: Republican Party of Virginia. General Committee.

Place Issued: Richmond

Issuing Press: Samuel Pleasants

Description: 8 pgs.; 22 cm. (8vo).


A circular letter designed to counter persistent Federalist charges that Jefferson had badly mismanaged the state as governor during the British invasion of the spring of 1781, and had evinced cowardice by retiring from office while warfare continued in Virginia. Under the signature of chairman Philip Norbonne Nicholas, the committee presented documentation that refuted the charges, attested to by Samuel Coleman, who had been assistant clerk of the House of Delegates during Jefferson's gubernatorial term. Nearly all surviving copies of this title are bound with, and after, a second vindication letter (1800.027) concerning the controversial General Ticket Law that had been enacted during the most recent General Assembly session; that act changed the election of presidential electors from a district-by-district process to a state-wide vote for a slate of electors – the so-called ticket – pledged to a particular candidate. The law became a campaign issue during the spring 1800 elections for the following Assembly. Federalist aspirants in these elections also raised the issue of Jefferson's conduct in order to discredit their Republican opponents, so leading to the circulation of these two letters together in one combined imprint. Evans listed each letter separately, while noting that he thought the vindication of Jefferson was always "affixed" to the ticket-law vindication, despite their differing pagination. Yet the separate survivals of copies of each element show that both circulated independently from one another, even as they were most often paired together, as in the copies that Evans saw. Swem followed Evans by listing both letters as one imprint under one entry number. The copy filmed by the Early American Imprints Series is a part of a copy of the combined imprint, with a simple target [I.e., source] card holding the place of this item in their system.

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