Th: Jefferson requests the favour of The Honble Mr. Dwight Foster to dine with him the day after tomorrow—at half after three, or at whatever later hour the house may rise.
Monday Feb 1st. 1802.
The favour of an answer is asked.
To Dwight Foster, February 1, 1802
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders make efforts to connect with their opponents.
I have featured Jefferson’s dinner invitations before, drawing attention to his use of his name alone, rather than his predecessors’ practice of including their title, “President Washington/Adams requests …” This invitation shows another aspect of the President’s thinking.
Foster was a lawyer and Massachusetts Federalist, a former Congressman and now Senator. We don’t know the agenda for that dinner, but we know this: Jefferson invited a political opponent to join him for an evening meal at the President’s House. Chances are the primary focus was intellectual discussion over good food and wine. Anything political would have come later. Bridge-building, 101.