To Joseph Story
Monticello. June 19. 16.
I thank you, dear Sir, for the eulogy of mr Dexter, which you have been so kind as to send me; and I subscribe with sincerity to the testimonies it bears of his merits. no one rendered more justice to his virtues & talents than myself; and if, in political matters we entertained some differences of opinion, they were on both sides the result of honest conviction, and held by both as inoffensive as differences of feature. his loss was a real affliction to the friends of our Union; & especially at a crisis when a successor was in question to the important magistracy for which he was proposed. I am fond however of believing that the majority with you will still return to the sacred principle of fidelity to the union, and will see in the duties which he would have inculcated their own most important interests. Accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect.
PoC (MHi); on verso of a reused address cover from Joseph Milligan to TJ; at foot of text: “The honble Judge Story”; endorsed by TJ.
Samuel Dexter (1761–1816), attorney and public official, was a native of Boston who studied law after graduating from Harvard University in 1781. He sat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1788–90, the United States House of Representatives, 1793–95, and the United States Senate, 1799–1800. In the final year of John Adams’s presidency, Dexter served successively as secretary of war and secretary of the treasury. He was prominent in the legal profession and frequently argued before the United States Supreme Court. Dexter supported the War of 1812 even though he opposed the Embargo and Nonintercourse acts adopted during TJ’s administration. He ran unsuccessfully for governor of Massachusetts as a Republican in 1814, 1815, and 1816. Dexter died during a visit to Athens, New York (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Story, Sketch of the Life of Samuel Dexter, LL. D. [Boston, 1816; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 5 (no. 163)]; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 39 vols. description ends , 33:24; Boston Independent Chronicle, 17 Feb. 1814; Boston Repertory, 28 Feb. 1815; Boston Recorder, 14 Feb. 1816; Hudson, N.Y., Northern Whig, 7 May 1816).