Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Theophilus Harris, 12 April 1803

From Theophilus Harris

Alexandria April. 12th. 1803


It gives me no small satisfaction to have the honour of forwarding to you a Cask of Ale sent by Messrs. Bakewell of Newhaven Connecticut to me for your use, which they beg of you to have the goodness to accept—May I, Sir, be allowed on this occasion to observe that this act affords me peculiar pleasure because I view it, tho’ trifling in itself, as an act of homage paid to those principles which I have ever been proud to advocate, and of which you have always rank’d as a distinguish’d supporter—Permit me Sir to take this opportunity of expressing my best wishes for your happiness, and to have the honour of Subscribeing myself with all due respect

Sir, Your most obedient Servant

Theophilus Harris

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 12 Apr. and so recorded in SJL.

A native of Wales, Theophilus Harris (1769–1841) emigrated to the United States from England in 1794 with his wife, Mary. He ran a wet and dry goods shop in Alexandria, Virginia, from 1796 to at least 1798, and advertised the sale of porter and brown stout in early April 1803. Sometime around 1805, perhaps after the death of his wife, he moved to Philadelphia. There he purchased farm land in Lower Dublin from Baptist minister Samuel Jones and eventually married his widowed daughter, Sarah Jones Henderson. Harris was active in civil and religious affairs, becoming a director of the Philadelphia Bank and the Philadelphia Society for the Encouragement of Domestic Manufactures as well as a justice of the peace and clergy member of the Philadelphia Baptist Association (John Hammond Moore, “Theophilus Harris’s Thoughts on Emigrating to America in 1793,”WMQ, 3d ser., 36 [1979], 602–14; Hywel M. Davies, Transatlantic Brethren: Rev. Samuel Jones (1735–1814) and His Friends: Baptists in Wales, Pennsylvania, and Beyond [Bethlehem, Pa., 1995], 261–2; Miller, Alexandria Artisans description begins T. Michael Miller, comp., Artisans and Merchants of Alexandria, Virginia, 1780–1820, Bowie, Md., 1991–92, 2 vols. description ends , 1:189; Constitution of the Philadelphia Society for the Encouragement of Domestic Manufactures [Philadelphia, 1806; Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819, New York, 1958–63, 22 vols. description ends , No. 11157], 10; Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which Commenced at Lancaster, the Second Day of December, in the Year of Our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Six [Lancaster, 1806], 153; Alexandria Expositor, 1 Apr. 1803; Paxton’s Philadelphia Directory and Register, for 1819 [Philadelphia, 1819], xcii).

For the cask of ale sent from the Bakewell brewery, see Vol. 39:478–9.

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