Caesar Rodney (Physiognotrace)

Artist/Maker: Charles Févret de Saint-Mémin (1770-1852)[1]

Created: 1800

Origin/Purchase: Washington D.C.

Materials: engraving

Dimensions: 5.6 (2 3/16 in.)

Owner: Library of Congress

Historical Notes: Jefferson appointed Delaware Congressman Caesar Rodney as United States attorney general in January 1807. Almost immediately Rodney was given the task of organizing the government's case in the impending treason trial of Aaron Burr.[2] He secured William Wirt and Alexander Mcrae to represent the United States, directing the summoning of witnesses, and gathered depositions.[3] Jefferson also charged Rodney with leading the investigation into Burr's activities.[4]

A warm letter from Rodney, enquiring after Jefferson's health during his retirement, prompted Jefferson to recall:

the sociability, the friendship, and the harmony of action which united personal happiness with public duties, during the portion of our lives in which we acted together. Indeed, the affectionate harmony of our Cabinet is among the sweetest of my recollections.[5]

Rodney's career after Jefferson left office was an active one. He served as attorney general during Madison's administration, fought in the War of 1812, and was appointed minister to Argentina by Monroe.[6]

Footnotes

  1. This article is based on Stein, Worlds, 204.
  2. Malone, Jefferson, 1:274.
  3. Ibid., 5:296-297, 306.
  4. Ibid., 5:302-303.
  5. Thomas Jefferson to Caesar A. Rodney, Monticello, March 16, 1815, in L&B, 14:282. Polygraph copy available online from the Library of Congress.
  6. DAB, "Caesar Rodney."

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