Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Dugald Stewart, 29 October 1799

From Dugald Stewart

Edinburgh 29 October—99


I take the liberty of introducing to your Acquaintance, & of recommending to your good offices, my friend Mr. James Oswald, who proposes to make a Tour through the United States, with a view to his own information & improvement. The Ardor & liberality of mind which have prompted him to this Undertaking will, I am persuaded be a Sufficient motive to you for honouring him with your notice & protection; but I cannot help adding, that he is the Nephew of the late Mr. Richard Oswald (who was an intimate friend of Dr. Franklin, & well known to Such of your Countrymen as were at Paris at the time of the peace 1783); And that his Father, Mr. Alexander Oswald of Glasgow, is one of the most enlightened friends of Liberty at present in Scotland.

Accept of my best wishes for your own prosperity, and for that of the country to which your Services have been So Successfully devoted; and believe me to be, with the greatest respect,

Dear Sir, Your Obliged, & most Obedt. Servant

Dugald Stewart

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr. Jefferson Vice-President of the United States of America”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 Feb. 1800 and so recorded in SJL.

Years later, James Oswald (1779–1853) of Shieldhall was prominent in a group of reform-minded Glasgow merchants known as “the Clique.” He was elected to Parliament in 1832. Beginning in the latter part of the eighteenth century the Oswald family, heavily involved in the Atlantic trade as marketers of tobacco, sugar, and other commodities, also became cotton manufacturers (Joe Fisher, The Glasgow Encyclopedia [Edinburgh, 1994], 225, 244, 264; T. M. Devine and Gordon Jackson, eds., Glasgow. Volume I: Beginnings to 1830 [Manchester, 1995], 157, 166; W. Hamish Fraser and Irene Maver, eds., Glasgow. Volume II: 1830 to 1912 [Manchester, 1996], 18, 104, 189–92; George Stewart, Curiosities of Glasgow Citizenship, as Exhibited Chiefly in the Business Career of its Old Commercial Aristocracy [Glasgow, 1881], 233; DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., Dictionary of National Biography, 2d ed., New York, 1908–09, 22 vols. description ends 14:1223–4).

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