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Message in Reply to Notification of Election by the President-Elect

February 20, 1801

Mr. Pinckney, from the committee instructed on the 18th instant to wait on the President elect to notify him of his election, reported that the committee had, according to order, performed that service, and addressed the President elect in the following words, to wit:

The committee beg leave to express their wishes for the prosperity of your Administration and their sincere desire that it may promote your own happiness and the welfare of our country.

To which the President elect was pleased to make the following reply:

I receive, gentlemen, with profound thankfulness this testimony of confidence from the great representative council of our nation. It fills up the measure of that grateful satisfaction which had already been derived from the suffrages of my fellow-citizens themselves, designating me as one of those to whom they were willing to commit this charge, the most important of all others to them. In deciding between the candidates whom their equal vote presented to your choice, I am sensible that age has been respected rather than more active and useful qualifications.

I know the difficulties of the station to which I am called, and feel and acknowledge my incompetence to them. But whatsoever of understanding, whatsoever of diligence, whatsoever of justice or of affectionate concern for the happiness of man, it has pleased Providence to place within the compass of my faculties shall be called forth for the discharge of the duties confided to me, and for procuring to my fellow-citizens all the benefits which our Constitution has placed under the guardianship of the General Government.

Guided by the wisdom and patriotism of those to whom it belongs to express the legislative will of the nation, I will give to that will a faithful execution.

I pray you, gentlemen, to convey to the honorable body from which you are deputed the homage of my humble acknowledgments and the sentiments of zeal and fidelity by which I shall endeavor to merit these proofs of confidence from the nation and its Representatives; and accept yourselves my particular thanks for the obliging terms in which you have been pleased to communicate their will.


FEBRUARY 20, 1801

Thomas Jefferson, Message in Reply to Notification of Election by the President-Elect Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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