Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Munford, 10 October 1816

To William Munford

Monticello Oct. 10. 16.


According to the request of mrs Kennon and yourse[lf] I have written to the Secretary of the Navy to sollicit the place of a midshipman for her son. but having no personal acquaintance with the Secretary much cannot be expected from my application. the number of midshipmen is limited by law; the places are always full, and a long list of candidates entered on the roll, every one expecting to be called in his turn to fill the1 vacancies as they happen[.] I mention these circumstances to prevent too immediate expectations of mr Kennon’s being called into employment. an increasing stiffness in the wrist, the effect of age & an antient dislocation rendering the use of the pen painful and slow, I must pray you to communicate the above to mrs Kennon with the tender of my great respect, and to accept the assurance of it for yourself

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); on verso of a reused address cover from Benjamin Galloway to TJ; edge trimmed; at foot of text: “Wm Munford esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

William Munford (1775–1825), public official, author, and court reporter, was born in Mecklenburg County and attended the College of William and Mary, 1790–94, where he studied law under George Wythe and St. George Tucker. He represented his home county in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1797–98 and 1800–02, and sat in the Senate of Virginia, 1802–06. With his election in 1806 to the Virginia Council of State, Munford relocated permanently to Richmond. In 1811 he left the Council to become clerk of the House of Delegates, an office he held until his death. During his lengthy public career, he also wrote poetry and a play, published ten volumes of decisions of the Virginia Court of Appeals between 1807 and 1821 (the first four as coeditor with William W. Hening), and translated Homer’s Iliad into blank verse. Munford died in Richmond (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; William and Mary Provisional List description begins A Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and Members of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. From 1693 to 1888, 1941 description ends , 29; Leonard, General Assembly; Munford, Poems and Compositions in Prose on Several Occasions [Richmond, 1798]; Va. Reports description begins Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, 1798–  (title varies; originally issued in distinct editions of separately numbered volumes with Va. Reports volume numbers retroactively assigned; original volume numbers here given parenthetically) description ends , vols. 11–20; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 2093; Richmond Enquirer, 24 June 1825).

1Word interlined in place of “any.”

Index Entries

  • aging; TJ on his own search
  • Crowninshield, Benjamin Williams; as secretary of the navy search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; fatiguing to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; aging search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; and wrist injury search
  • Kennon, Elizabeth Beverley Munford; and W. H. Kennon’s military appointment search
  • Kennon, William Henry; seeks military appointment search
  • Munford, William; and W. H. Kennon’s military appointment search
  • Munford, William; identified search
  • Munford, William; letter to search
  • Navy Department, U.S.; applications to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search