Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Henry Dearborn, 27 June 1801

To Henry Dearborn

June [27.] 1801.

Th:J. to the Secretary at War.

Colo. Smith the writer of one of the inclosed letters is the republican […] in the place of Page lately elected to Congress in Virginia. a man of very great respectability. setting that aside, our service is not so urgent as to render it necessary to drag sons from their fathers. the affection of citizens to their government is worth cultivating as it’s best support. these considerations would plead for [the] discharge of mr Burras’s son according to his request. but the fact [that] his son is under age, gives him a compleat right in Virginia to [take him from] the military by a Habeas Corpus, which any of the state’s […] will give [him]. of this I have known examples. I therefore refer to the Secretary [at War] to give such orders in the case as the circumstances in his judgment […] proper.   mr Burras tells me Capt Mc.Call has about 70. men. a guard of these therefore, if there be none at Staunton might […] to New London for the purpose which was the subject of our conversation yesterday; to wit to guard the magazine at that place. […]

PrC (DLC); faint. Enclosures: John Smith to TJ, 16 June, and Strother G. Settle to TJ, 22 June, neither of which has been found, but both of which are recorded in SJL as received 27 June with notation “Burras’s case.”

John Smith of Frederick County, Virginia, who had tried unsuccessfully to win a seat in the House of Representatives in 1793, was elected to the Seventh Congress (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; Vol. 25:533, 534n).

Capt Hugh McCall had been an officer of the U.S. Army since 1794. On the same day that TJ wrote the letter above, Dearborn ordered the discharge of Bartholomew Burrus, who was at Winchester under McCall’s command. Burrus, a minor who had enlisted in the army on or about 26 May, was obliged to return the bounty and clothing he had received upon enlistment (Dearborn to Major Thomas H. Cushing, 27 June, Lb in DNA: RG 107, LSMA; Heitman, Dictionary description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 1:653).

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