Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Thornton, 11 September 1802

From William Thornton

Orange County Septr. 11th. 1802—

Dear Sir

I have the honor of receiving your Letter of yesterday. I am exceedingly obliged not only by the friendly Disposition evinced, but still more so by the kind attention shewn in transmitting so soon your Directions to the Superintendant.

We return our respectful acknowledgments for the very polite Invitation we have received to visit Monticello.—We flatter ourselves with great Enjoyment in accompanying our Friends to pay our respects to you & the Ladies of your Family. The Secretary of State, whose Movements are dependent on very remote Causes will regulate our Excursions; &, I think, from the general predisposition, our visit will not long be delayed.—

We join in respectful Compliments to your Family.—

Be pleased, dear Sir, to accept the assurances of my highest Consideration.—

William Thornton

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Sep. and so recorded in SJL.

YOUR DIRECTIONS: sometime in the summer or early fall of 1802, William Thornton, functioning as a clerk within the state department, assumed the title of superintendent of the newly formed patent office (Cunningham, Process of Government description begins Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., The Process of Government under Jefferson, Princeton, 1978 description ends , 92; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 3:356).

ACCOMPANYING OUR FRIENDS: Anna Maria Thornton wrote to Dolley Madison on 24 Aug. that despite delays, the Thorntons and Ann Brodeau were eager to turn their backs on the “dull tho’ Great City” of Washington and “greet with Joy, our beloved Friends beyond the mountains.” From Montpelier, they planned to join Bishop James Madison and William Short in a visit to Monticello (Mattern and Shulman, Dolley Madison description begins David B. Mattern and Holly C. Shulman, eds., The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison, Charlottesville, 2003 description ends , 50–1; Madison to TJ, 15 Sep.).

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