Thomas Jefferson Papers

Charles F. Welles to Thomas Jefferson, [ca. 11 August] 1809

From Charles F. Welles

Athens Feb. 29th [ca. 11 Aug.] 1809

Respected Sir

Of the two pieces of Poetry which I have ventured to enclose No 1. is an invective against yourself & No 2 is a Reply, written by the youth who intrudes on your leisure—I should have taken no notice of a Slander so weakly & miserably written on any other account than the credit & station of its Author whose name is Chas Miner (formerly Editor of the paper in which both pieces originally appeared) for the two last years the leading Federal member in our State Legislature & now an aspirant to a higher delegation. The Inhabitants of Luzerne & Lycoming were well pleased to see “a boy in his teens,” (seldom before an obtruder) step forth & rebuke a vain, presumtuous & overbearing pretender to Poetry Eloquence & a Seat in Congress.

It is not solely from vanity that I present such a performance to such a judge as Thomas Jefferson must be; but with the view of obtaining some acknowledgment, if it be no more than a mere Receipt from the pen of him who was selected from the congregated wisdom of America

         “to rear

A nation’s standard in its awful sphere”

The Address of this is entirely private & the honor your letter will confer will be equally so—

With veneration Your Son

Chas F. Welles

RC (MiU-C: Thomas Jefferson Collection); misdated, with corrected date inferred from second enclosure printed below; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire” and “Athens Lycoming Co Penn:”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Nov. 1809 and so recorded in SJL.

Charles Fisher Welles (1789–1866), attorney, was a native of Glastonbury, Connecticut, who moved with his family in 1798 to Athens Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. From its creation in 1812 out of parts of Luzerne and Lycoming counties until 1818, he served as prothonotary, register, recorder, and clerk of the various courts of Bradford County, residing in Towanda. From 1822 Welles lived in Wyalusing in the same county, where he engaged in farming and dealt in real estate (Clement F. Heverly, Pioneer and Patriot Families of Bradford County Pennsylvania 1800–1825 [1913–15], 2:23–4; Heverly, History and Geography of Bradford County Pennsylvania 1615–1924 [1926], 68, 153, 175, 205, 242).

Index Entries

  • Miner, Charles; “Poem on Thomas Jefferson,” search
  • Welles, Charles Fisher; identified search
  • Welles, Charles Fisher; letters from search
  • Welles, Charles Fisher; praises TJ search