Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 24 March 1809

To James Madison

Monticello Mar. 24. 09.

Dear Sir

I inclose you several letters which must have been intended for the office, & not the person named on the back. they belong therefore to your files, and I will pray you particularly as to those asking office on this & all other occasions to consider me merely as the channel of conveyance, & not as meaning to add an atom of weight to the sollicitations they convey. unless indeed I know any thing on the subject & mention it particularly. as in the case of Francis Page, being acquainted with him it is my duty to say that he is a most amiable young man, educated to the bar, perfectly correct in his conduct, and, as the son of our late friend, of good standing. I do not presume that York can present a more worthy or unexceptionable subject.

Among these letters is one from Ray author of the War of Tripoli. he sent me one of his books, & in answering him with thanks I used the complimentary phrase he quotes. he lays hold of it to beg 100.D. of which I shall not be the dupe. I inclose it to you, as I think he has too much genius for the low station in which he was in the navy, and to place him in your recollection, if any occasion should arise wherein such a man can be useful in the navy or elsewhere. I send Mazzei’s letter for your perusal. the part for your attention is in 「 」 altho’ no part of it is secret. I intended, but forgot to mention to you Genl Dearborne’s son for a military commission. I should have named him; but mr Smith of the W.O. told me Pickering had been collecting some stories to oppose his nomination, which might have weight if not answered. I desired him therefore to write to the General & in the mean time to hold up the nomination. God bless you & prosper you.

Th: Jefferson

Mazzei’s letter to be returned, but not the others

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); at foot of text: “Pr. US.” PoC (DLC); lacks postscript; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: William Ray to TJ, 7 Mar. 1809.

The several letters enclosed probably also included the following missing items, all of which were recorded in SJL as received on 23 Mar. 1809 and for all of which, as well as the Ray letter, TJ recorded “P” next to the SJL entry, presumably to indicate that the subject matter was presidential or that he had sent them to the president: (1) Anonymous to TJ, 2 Jan. 1809 (with the notation “land speculns”). (2) Joseph Crocket to TJ, Lexington, 14 Feb. 1809. (3) William Sampson to TJ, New York, 12 Mar. 1809. (4) St. George Tucker to TJ, Richmond, 17 Mar. 1809 (with the notation “Page”). (5) Gershom Tuttle and others to TJ, Watertown, undated (with the notation “Jereme”).

Madison had already given a recess appointment to francis page, son of our late friend John Page, as collector and inspector of revenue at Yorktown (Madison to TJ, 28 Mar. 1809; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:123, 125 [16, 21 June 1809]).

The extant text of mazzei’s letter of 28 Oct. 1808 (ItPiAFM; printed in Mazzei, Writings description begins Margherita Marchione and others, eds., Philip Mazzei: Selected Writings and Correspondence, 1983, 3 vols. description ends , 3:494–7) lacks TJ’s brackets, but the highlighted section was probably that which dealt with payment to Giuseppe Antonio Franzoni of one hundred Spanish pieces. Among other things Mazzei’s wide-ranging letter also discussed his past attempts to discover from Latrobe the welfare of Franzoni and his fellow sculptor Giovanni Andrei. Mazzei had hired them in 1805 and established the terms of their payment and accommodations in the United States. Two earlier Mazzei letters forwarded to Latrobe through TJ had not elicited any news on this matter. Mazzei enclosed in the 28 Oct. letter a third copy of his letter to Latrobe, probably similar to that of 20 July 1807 (DLC) (Mazzei to TJ, 20 July 1805, 22 June 1807, 29 Mar. 1808 [ItPiAFM]).

John smith was chief clerk of the War Department.

Index Entries

  • Andrei, Giovanni; sculptor for U.S. Capitol search
  • Capitol, U.S.; sculptors at search
  • Crocket, Joseph search
  • Dearborn, Henry Alexander Scammell; military commission of search
  • Franzoni, Giuseppe Antonio; sculptor at U.S. Capitol search
  • Horrors of Slavery: or, The American Tars in Tripoli (W. Ray) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; recommendations for office search
  • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry; and payment for Italian sculptors search
  • Madison, James; letters to search
  • Mazzei, Philip; and sculptors for U.S. Capitol search
  • Page, Francis; recommended for collector of Yorktown search
  • Page, John; family of search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • Pickering, Timothy; opposes H. A. S. Dearborn’s nomination search
  • Ray, William; Horrors of Slavery: or, The American Tars in Tripoli search
  • Sampson, William; letters from accounted for search
  • Smith, John (chief clerk of War Department); and commission for H. A. S. Dearborn search
  • Tucker, St. George; letters from accounted for search
  • Tuttle, Gershom; letters from accounted for search