Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Philip M. Topham, 28 April 1808

New York Prison April 28th. 1808


Accept the warmest & most affectionate thanks of an unfortunate Prisoner for your friendly intentions towards him in signing his discharge, but which was defeated of its benevolent object by the quibbles of Lawers & the indecisive & temporising conduct of the Marshall of this City—from the gloomy Cell where for years I have been incarcerated I again address you in the full hope that you will have the goodness to break my galling fetters—from Mr. Maines report Sir I have every reason to believe that if in your power you will not hesitate to forgive a Victim to the violated laws of his Country, who was in early life drawn into a traffick at which his nature now revolts, Mr. Maine has explain’d my forlorn situation—and I have only to abjure & beseech you to restore me again to freedom, that I may again imbrace & protect a much loved Wife two helpless Infants a doated aged Mother & the friends of my youth—That once more I may revisit the scene of early life & drop the tear of filial piety over the Grave of a brave & Gallant Father, who for seven Years fought for that liberty, of which alas his favorite Son is deprived—

I am Sir with every Sentiments of respect Your most Obdt & most Humble Servt.

Philip M Topham

PS. Capt. N. Ingraham of Bristol was prosecuted & confind by virtue of the same Act with myself I mean the law against trading with Slaves passed 1794 and owed his inlargement to your humanity—I therefore humbly hope Sir that I may shortly owe my freedom to the same Philanthropick Principle

MoSHi: Bixby Collection.

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