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Alexander Murray to Thomas Jefferson, 29 November 1815

From Alexander Murray

Nassau N. P. Bahamas Novr 29th 1815—


The annexed Letter will I hope prove my apology for addressing you; particularly as I am given to understand, that you are almost the only acquaintance now left; which my Deceased Father (The late Earl of Dunmore) had, when Govr of Virginia—

As such, and from the High Situations you have held in that State (as well as in the Union) I cannot have a doubt but that you are fully informed respecting the promise alluded to; and consequent claim stated in my Sister’s letter—In support of which, I have a full conviction of your doing all in your power to further her views, that your acknowledged rectitude of principle, and worth of Character will warrant, if not from her afinity to your old acquaintance; yet from her afinity to the State of which you are so distinguished a Member, and on whose Protection as such, she has her claims:—indeed your kindness to my Brother Capt Murray some years ago, when on a Visit in Virginia, gives me the most sanguine hope, that you will extend it to his Sister; by taking the trouble of making known her claims to that Body which is to decide on them, and of furthering them with your powerful interest.—

I shall only further intrude on your time, to inform you, that I have had the annexed for a considerable time by me;—but that the times were not favorable for its presentation—

Trusting that you will forgive my so long intruding on your leisure—I shall only add that I am Sir with great respect your

Humble Servant—

A Murray

RC (DLC); at foot of first page: “Thos Jefferson Esqr &c &c &c”; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Jan. 1817 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Lady Virginia Murray to TJ, [before 29 Nov. 1815].

Alexander Murray (1764–1842), British soldier and public official, was born in Edinburgh, the son of John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore. In 1774 Murray, his siblings, and their mother joined Lord Dunmore at Williamsburg, where the latter was serving as governor of Virginia. Murray promptly enrolled at the College of William and Mary, but colonial unrest the following spring precipitated his return to Great Britain in 1775. He entered the British army as an ensign in 1778 and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1788 Dunmore, now governor of the Bahamas, granted his son over 1,000 acres of land there. The following year Murray lost an election for a seat in the colonial assembly, but Dunmore appointed him king’s agent and collector of customs at Turks Islands. Murray became customs collector at Nassau by 1815. He died in Frimley, England, where he had been living (Sir James Balfour Paul, ed., The Scots Peerage [1904–14], 3:389–90; Williamsburg Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon], 3 Mar. 1774, and [Purdie], 30 June 1775, supplement; WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 2d ser., 1 [1921]: 120, 124; Sandra Riley, Homeward Bound: A History of the Bahama Islands to 1850 [1983], 171, 181; London Diary; or, Woodfall’s Register, 1 Oct. 1789; Federal Gazette and Philadelphia Advertiser, 7 Aug. 1793; New York Daily Advertiser, 29 Dec. 1804; Rosanne Marion Adderley, “New Negroes from Africa”: Slave Trade Abolition and Free African Settlement in the Nineteenth-Century Caribbean [2006], 138–9, 218; United Service Magazine and Naval and Military Journal [1842]: 600).

n. p.: New Providence Island. Murray’s brother, John Murray, visited Monticello about 19 Apr. 1803 (James Currie to TJ, 16 Mar. 1803 [MHi]; John Page to TJ, 16 Mar. 1803 [DLC]).

Index Entries

  • Dunmore, John Murray, 4th Earl of; colonial governor of Va. search
  • Dunmore, John Murray, 4th Earl of; family of search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Murray, John search
  • Murray, Alexander; and claim of V. Murray search
  • Murray, Alexander; identified search
  • Murray, Alexander; letters from search
  • Murray, John (1765–1805); visits Monticello search
  • Murray, Lady Virginia; claim against Va. search