Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Lucy F. Smith, 31 May 1813

To Lucy F. Smith

Monticello May 31. 13.


Your favor of May 13. is duly recieved, requesting my application to the government for a midshipman’s warrant for mr Walter Jones, son of the late Meriwether Jones. could I permit myself in any case to make such an application, I should surely do it in favor of the son of mr Jones, for whose character I had a just respect, and whose labors in support of the sound principles of our government were great & meritorious. when I first retired from the government in 1809, sollicitations from my friends, to aid them in their applications for office, drew from me an unwary compliance, until they so multiplied that, however indulgently they were attended to, they became embarrassing to the government, and afflicting to myself, as keeping me ever before them in the attitude of a Suppliant solliciting favors. an occasion, long wished for, of putting an end to these unceasing importunities, offering itself on the change of that part of the administration to which they were chiefly addressed, I availed myself of it by a determination to stop at that point, and relieve the government & myself from this source of uneasiness to both. to this I have stedfastly adhered, and I find it’s rigid observance too necessary for my own satisfaction, & to preserve the friendship of the administration, to permit myself ever more to depart from it. I should regret this necessity the more in the present case, but for the friendship of Colo Monroe towards the late mr Jones, whose zeal and situation cannot fail to render all auxiliary application unnecessary. with every wish that your desires may recieve the gratification of which I do not doubt, I beg leave to tender you the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MoSHi: TJC); at foot of text: “Mrs Smith”; endorsed by TJ.

Smith’s earlier favor was actually dated 23 May 1813.

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; patronage search
  • Jones, Meriwether search
  • Jones, Walter F.; recommended for naval appointment search
  • Monroe, James; and W. F. Jones search
  • Navy Department, U.S.; applications to search
  • patronage; TJ on search
  • Smith, Lucy Franklin Read Jones; and son W. F. Jones search
  • Smith, Lucy Franklin Read Jones; letters to search
  • women; letters to; L. F. Smith search