Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Edmund Custis, 15 March 1801

From Edmund Custis

Baltimore 15 March 1801—

Respected Sir/

When I had the honor of waiting on you with a letter from my Frd. Colo. Cabell, I had intended myself the pleasure of calling on you again, but unavoidably left the City, earlier than was intended—Permit me, Sir to take the liberty of repeating that I have been among the Number of the Unfortunate & being Verging to the Stage of Old Age & of course less able to encounter the Toiles of life than Usual, Solicit a place within your Memory & at some convt. time a hope of experiencing your friendly patronage in favouring me with some employmt. that may enable me to support a family that has been accustom’d to better fate, & this I wou’d not presume to expect, were I not found as competent to the task as many who have had a preference.—I have the pleasing satisfaction of being well known by Gentn. of first respectability, Many of whom are now Members of Congress from Virginia, & with whom have long Serv’d in a legislative capacity,—I wou’d not presume to be pointed, but being now a Citizen of Baltimore,—Employmt. thereabt. wou’d be most desirable—I am with every Sentiment

of Respect, Your Mo. Obt. Servt—

Edmd. Custis

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ as received 16 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.


Edmund Custis, serving as a delegate from Accomack County at the Virginia Convention of 1788, voted against ratification of the Constitution, as did Samuel J. Cabell, a delegate from Amherst County. They represented their respective counties in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1787 to 1789 (DHRC description begins Merrill Jensen, John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, and others, eds., The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, Madison, Wis., 1976–, 20 vols. description ends , 9:564, 907; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, Richmond, 1978 description ends , 164, 168, 172, 175).

Letter from my frd. Colo. Cabell: in a partially dated letter, Samuel J. Cabell recommended Edmund Custis to TJ and noted that they had served together in the Virginia Assembly and the Virginia Convention of 1788. Cabell recalled that “no man exceeded” Custis “in firmness and Zeal in the cause of Republicanism” and he observed that few men ever manifested a higher regard for TJ’s character (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. President of the U States”; endorsed by TJ: “Custis Capt. of Baltimore Colo. Cabell’s Ire”).

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