Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Frederick Harris, 7 June 1803

From Frederick Harris

Charlottesville 7th. June 1803


Not knowing whether Mr. Mirriwether Lewis has left the City of Washington or not, have taken the liberty of inclosing a letter of importance to him under cover of one to you—If Mr. Lewis has left Washington you would conferr a singular favor on me by forwarding the inclosed letter to him, by post, & by writing me by post to Charlottesville the place of his destination & where I may direct to him, as also whether he has left any agent in or about the city of Washington or else where—I am informed by his brother Mr. Reuben Lewis that it is unknown to him whether Mr. M. Lewis, has left Washington or not, or if he has whether he has left an agent to transact his business in his absence—My presuming to address you Sir, is owing to my being intirely unacquainted with any person in the city of Washington except Mr. M. Lewis, and knowing also that he has been a member of your family for some time past; These circumstances I hope sir will plead my excuse for troubling you, in a matter of no moment to yourself but of importance to a person unknown to yourself, & can be truly stiled

Your friend & ob. sert.

Frederick Harris

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 12 June and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

Frederick Harris (1780–1842) of Louisa County, Virginia, later invested in canal and railroad development, owned real estate, a store, and slaves, and became a county political leader. He participated in the founding of the Virginia Society for Promoting Agriculture in 1811 (Malcolm H. Harris, History of Louisa County, Virginia [Richmond, 1936], 130, 146–8, 351; Mrs. William B. Ardery, “Harris of Louisa County,” VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893- description ends , 36 [1928], 254–7; Daily National Intelligencer, 21 Nov. 1827; Alexandria Gazette, 28 July 1828; Richmond Enquirer, 24 Mch. 1829, 27 July 1832; Charles W. Turner, “Virginia State Agricultural Societies 1811–1860,” Agricultural History, 38 [1964], 167; John Edmund Stealey III, “The Responsibilities and Liabilities of the Bailee of Slave Labor in Virginia,” American Journal of Legal History, 12 [1968], 345).

When Meriwether Lewis became TJ’s secretary in 1801, he gave his younger brother reuben a power of attorney over his personal estate (Thomas C. Danisi and John C. Jackson, Meriwether Lewis [Amherst, N.Y., 2009], 40).

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