Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Hasting Marks, 10 January 1792

From Hasting Marks

Fort Washington Jany 10th. 1792


I feel happy in the opportunity of expressing to you my sense of the obligations I am under to you for your kind intercessions with the President of the United States for my advancement in military life. Sensible Sir of my want of Tactical Knowledge I can only promise that the most studious exertions shall be used by me to supply that want. I conceive Sir the army to be the School of Honour. To act consistent with that idea shall be my endeavour.—My distance from the Seat of Congress prevented my exactly Knowing the time when the Gentleman whose place I now fill was promoted—nor did I until a few days past, conceive the Knowledge necessary, but some hints being thrown out of a dispute of rank taking place, I am induced to request you will add to the Obligations already conferred upon me, by making enquiry of the Secy. of War of the Period when Ensign Heath was promoted. I am conscious Sir, I am calling your attention from matters of greater moment. I shall however be ever ready, to acknowledge with gratitude the favour and am with the greatest respect and Esteem Sir Your Obedient Hbl Servt.,

Hasting Marks

RC (DLC); endorsed by Remsen as received 27 Feb. 1792 and so recorded in SJL.

TJ’s intercessions for Marks no doubt resulted in his appointment as ensign of the First Regiment in Oct. 1791, in place of John Heth, who had been promoted to lieutenant of the Second Regiment (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828 description ends , i, 86, 88). See TJ to Henry Knox, 24 Nov. 1790, and TJ to Marks, 12 Mch. 1792. Contrary to what is stated in a note to the former letter, however, this Hasting Marks was not TJ’s brother-in-law (Volume 18: 69). It is most likely that he was a nephew of Hastings Marks, husband of TJ’s sister Anna (or Nancy). His clear signature indicates he used the name “Hasting,” but it is not unusual to find TJ thinking of him as “Hastings” when mentioning him or writing to him. Moreover, his reference to him as “Hastings Marks junr.” in the 24 Nov. 1790 letter to Henry Knox is explained by the custom in Virginia of referring to younger family members with the same name as “junior” even when they were not sons of their namesakes.

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