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To Thomas Jefferson from Larkin Smith, 10 November 1804

From Larkin Smith

King & Queen Novr. 10th. 1804

Dear Sir

I have heretofore taken the liberty of addressing two letters to you, and confess that I feel myself mortified that neither of them have received from you the smallest attention. I did think myself entitled at least to some notice. to this communication I neither expect, or wish an answer; my last letter which was founded in the strictest truth, wore some appearance of humiliation, this I did not feel, because it contained a statement of facts. since writing that letter I have married the Daughter of your acquaintance the late Mr. Henry Tazewell, her patrimony has in a great degree relieved me from my pecuniary embarrasments. I therefore Sir am no longer an applicant for office, nor should I ever have been, but for the forcible reasons offered heretofore.

When I reflect on the toils attendant on a seven years war, with the ravages which have been made on my constitution; and that my best services throughout my life have been devoted to my country; added to which that I am one of the very few revolutionary characters who opposed their chief in politicks (believing that he had departed from sound principles) and when I view the circumstances which have produced this letter, there surely is some cause for the chagrine which I have expressed in the early part of it.

Being placed on the republican electoral list, I shall probably be chosen an elector for this state; in which case I shall certainly vote for you as President of the U. States for two reasons, first because I disdain to suffer anything of a private nature to affect me in the discharge of my public duties. & seconly because I think your conduct as the Presiding member of our Government has been eminently calculated to give prosperity & happiness to your country.

I am with great respect your Excellencies Obt. Servt.

Larkin Smith

RC (MoSHi); addressed: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Esqe. President of the U.States”; franked; postmarked Williamsburg, [21] Nov.; endorsed by TJ as received 25 Nov. and so recorded in SJL.

Virginian Larkin Smith (1745–1813) was a Revolutionary War captain in the Fourth Continental Dragoons. For much of 1784-1803, he represented King and Queen County in the Virginia General Assembly. The rise of Smith, a staunch Republican, to speaker of the House of Delegates in 1799 was applauded as a major victory by those eager to purge the assembly of Federalists. In 1802, he initiated a successful assembly resolution condemning Federalist editors for the “extreme licentiousness” of their attacks on TJ. In May 1804, he married Sophia Ann Tazewell Taliaferro, the sister of Littleton Waller Tazewell. TJ appointed Smith customs collector for the district of Norfolk and Portsmouth in 1807, a position he held until his death (Bruce F. Jamerson, Speakers and Clerks of the Virginia House of Delegates, 1776-1996 [Richmond, 1996], 35; Heitman, Register description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1793, new ed., Washington, D.C., 1914 description ends , 505; Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia 1776-1918 and of the Constitutional Conventions [Richmond, 1918], 429; Baltimore Federal Gazette, 21 Dec. 1802; Norfolk Gazette and Publick Ledger, 2 Oct. 1813; RS description begins J. Jefferson Looney and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, Princeton, 2004- , 15 vols. description ends 1:88n; Vol. 31:250-1; Vol. 39:147; TJ to the Senate, 9 Nov. 1807).

two letters to you: Smith wrote to TJ on 19 Aug. 1803 requesting a post as loan officer and on 16 Apr. 1804 applying for the collectorship at Norfolk. Neither letter has been found (Vol. 41:737; Vol. 43:692).

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