Thomas Jefferson Papers

Isaac Hillard to Thomas Jefferson, 10 September 1810

From Isaac Hillard

New York 10th Day of Septr 1810

Honored Sir

Your Late Exalted Situation places You So much above me that it Is with the Greatest Diffidence that I venture to present the Inclosed I have wished for A number of Years that I might have an oppertunity to See the man that has Been So Columniated and Extolled for the Same Act my poverty and Age forbids it Sir you will pardon the Liberty I have taken to present you with a Small peice of the Production of a poor old man who finished his Education In An A B C School at Six years of age as you will See In my pamphlet their my Age Education place of my nativity &c my father had had four Sons All at one time Embarked In the Cruel war three had Commissions I had two Sons During the war one Deceast 2d of Last May A wounded Involead I had A property I Sacrefized for the Blessings we now Enjoy I am wonderfully Blessed with health And memory And A Good old Aged wife and we Are obliged to Subsist on what Little we Can Earn we have had thirteen Children1 the Last Embers of my2 Expireing fire was Covered up with the Ashes of old age But the Sarmon preached at Boston Last may Rekindled It and it Blazed out as you will See if this Sir Should In the Least Degree meet your aprobation or not I Beg you will Deign to write me a Line and if it Is a frown I shall take it as a fatherly Correction knowing Your philantrophick3 Disposition I Shall Close my Life with Greater Sattisfaction Those pamphlets are Just published I am now In new York In hopes to Sell Enough to Remunerate the printer if not he must Loos his Work Great Sir I hope you will not think it Impudent or presuming I knew it was all the way that I Could Show the Great Respect I had for you this Is a widows might all that I have Sir You have Returned to your family friends with Loaded Blessing of the Greatest4 part of the Citizens of the united State & may that God that has Conducted you through the Red Sea of Difficulties and Led the people Into this Canaan5 and Blessed You higher than he Did moses By Letting You Enjoy the Land & the Blessings there of and when it Shall pleas God to Remove you from this Earthly Canaan may you be Rec’d Into the Mansions of the Heavenly Canaan & have the Blessing of well Done Good & faithfull Servent Is the prayer of A poor old man with the Greatest Respect—

Isaac Hillard

NB Sir if You Should Condecend to Write Pleas to Direct to Sharon Connecticut to Cpt Isaac Hillard As their Is two of the name


RC (MHi); dateline below postscript; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Sept. 1810 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Hillard, A Retaliation: Containing some Strictures on Doctor Parish’s Infamous Sermon: Preached last May to the General Assembly convened at Boston (Somers Village, N.Y., 1810).

Isaac Hillard (1737–1823), poet, was born in Little Compton, in a part of Massachusetts that was annexed by Rhode Island early in his life. He lived most of his life in Connecticut, serving in the state’s 1st Regiment during the French and Indian War in 1762 and becoming a lieutenant in the 1st Battalion during the Revolutionary War, 1776–77. Hillard opposed slavery and became involved in a seven-year legal battle to prosecute residents of Connecticut who violated the state’s 1788 prohibition of the slave trade. The Federalist press criticized his patriotic narratives and pro-Republican commentaries, especially his 1804 poem entitled The Federal Pye (Hillard, A Short Poetical History of Fragments, collected from past and present times [Danbury, Conn., 1803], 3, 6; Victor Grant Hillard Jr., “William Hillard of Duxbury, Massachusetts,” Mayflower Descendant 50 [2001]: 122; James N. Arnold, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636–1850 [1893], vol. 4, pt. 6, p. 128; Albert C. Bates, ed., Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755–1762, vol. 2, in Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society 10 [1903]: 307; Charles Burr Todd, The History of Redding Connecticut, 2d ed. [1906], 68, 132–3; Hillard, To the Public (defending his anti-slave trade activities) [Connecticut?, 1797], 2–3).

Hillard’s pamphlet responded to a sermon preached by Elijah Parish, A Sermon, Preached at Boston, before his Excellency Christopher Gore, … upon the annual election, May 30, 1810 (Boston, 1810). well done good & faithfull servent quotes the Bible, Matthew 25. 23.

1Preceding five words interlined.

2Hillard here canceled “Life.”

3Manuscript: “plilantrophick.”

4Hillard here canceled “portion.”

5Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • A Retaliation: Containing some Strictures on Doctor Parish’s Infamous Sermon (Hillard) search
  • A Sermon, Preached at Boston, before his Excellency Christopher Gore (Parish) search
  • Bible; Matthew referenced search
  • Hillard, Isaac; A Retaliation: Containing some Strictures on Doctor Parish’s Infamous Sermon search
  • Hillard, Isaac; identified search
  • Hillard, Isaac; letters from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Parish, Elijah; A Sermon, Preached at Boston, before his Excellency Christopher Gore search
  • sermons; sent to TJ search