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To Thomas Jefferson from Josiah Tattnall, Jr., 25 August 1801

From Josiah Tattnall, Jr.

New York. 25th. August 1801

Dear Sir,

Mr. Clarke the Son of the late General Clarke of Georgia, an old & celebrated Officer of the late Revolutionary War, being Solicitous of the honor of an introduction to the Chief Majistrate of the Union, in which character he participates with his fellow Citizens of Georgia in viewing you Sir with unfeigned Satisfaction; I take the liberty of recommending him to your attention as a gentleman of Science & merit—Mr. Clarke having graduated at Yale College in Connecticut is now on his way to the City of Washington, where he contemplates engaging in the Study of Law: Mr. Baldwin had recommended Mr. C. to Mr. Jno. T. Mason, but he has since found that the Office of that gentleman is already too much thronged: If it will not be encroaching too much on your time & goodness you will Sir very much oblige me by assisting Mr. C with your advice as to a Suitable character under whom to pursue his Studies—With every Sincere wish for your health & happiness, I have the Honor to be very Respectfully

Dr Sir; Your obedt. Humle. St.

Josiah Tattnall Junr.
of the State of Georgia

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Thos. Jefferson Esquire President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Oct. and so recorded in SJL with notation “by mr Clarke.”

Josiah Tattnall, Jr. (1764–1803) was a prominent militia leader in Georgia and a political ally of James Jackson. In 1796 he was elected to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jackson and served until 1799, when he was replaced by Abraham Baldwin. TJ approved of the change, noting that Tattnall’s “want of firmness” in the Senate “had produced the effect of a change of sides.” Tattnall became governor of Georgia in November 1801, but poor health forced his resignation the following year (Kenneth Coleman and Charles Stephen Gurr, eds., Dictionary of Georgia Biography, 2 vols. [Athens, 1983], 2:960–2; Vol. 31:10).

Elijah Clarke, Jr., graduated from Yale in 1801. Returning to Georgia, he was recommended to TJ by John Milledge for the office of secretary of legation in London, but did not receive the appointment. He served briefly in the state legislature and as a solicitor general before relocating to Louisiana. His father, Elijah Clarke (d. 1799), earned fame as a partisan fighter during the American Revolution and as a controversial postwar militia and political leader on the Georgia frontier (Dexter, Yale description begins Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College with Annals of the College History, New York, 1885–1912, 6 vols. description ends , 5:434–5; Louise Frederick Hays, Hero of Hornet’s Nest, A Biography of Elijah Clark, 1733 to 1799 [New York, 1946], 301–2, 366; Dictionary of Georgia Biography, 1:190–2; Milledge to TJ, 25 Nov. 1802; Elijah Clarke to TJ, 10 Oct. 1803).

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