Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Peregrine Fitzhugh, 25 February 1793

From Peregrine Fitzhugh

Indian Queen, 25 Feb. 1793. The enclosed will explain his embarrassing situation and the expedient adopted for his relief. The success of his lottery entirely depends on the exertions of relatives and friends as well as the support of a “Humane Public.” He would patiently accept his disappointment if only his happiness were at stake, but he can leave no means untried when his beloved wife and numerous infant childen are affected. Every husband and parent must applaud, even if they cannot help. He appeals to his military and other friends, “in which number my Feelings demand that you should be included,” to patronize a venture designed to assist one whose sacrifices in the war against Britain were as great as any other person’s. He entered military service at the age of nineteen “pretty early” in the war and thereby was deprived of the benefit of his intended profession, a loss he still feels keenly. The active role that his father and brothers played in the war cost his father an office worth £2,500 per annum and led British cruisers in Chesapeake Bay to lay waste to his father’s plantations, causing extensive property damage and the taking away of fifty of his most “valuable Servants.” Unable therefore to turn to his father for relief, he is compelled to solicit further support for his lottery, which has already been well patronized in Annapolis and its environs, as the enclosed list reveals, and also in Baltimore and various Maryland counties. Though initially reluctant to resort to a lottery, he is gratified by the discovery of so many supportive friends and the ease with which the majority of tickets have been disposed. The number of tickets and the need for timeliness, however, has induced him to approach his friends in the neighboring states.

RC (DLC); 1 p.; printed circular signed and dated by Fitzhugh; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Mch. 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found, but see below.


Peregrine Fitzhugh (1759–1811), son of Colonel William Fitzhugh of Maryland, attained the rank of captain in Baylor’s Light Dragoons and served as an aide to Washington during the Revolution. He married Elizabeth Chew in 1782 and lived in Maryland until 1799, when he and his family moved to upstate New York (VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893– description ends , viii [1900], 316).

This printed circular was a revision of one dated 9 Dec. 1792 that Fitzhugh had sent to the President on 19 Feb. 1793 with a covering letter of the same date and two enclosures that must have been substantially the same as those enclosed to TJ: an undated broadside entitled “A Lottery,” which listed prizes and detailed the circumstances which led to the offering; and an undated manuscript list of patrons of Fitzhugh’s lottery in Annapolis (DLC: Washington Papers). There is no evidence to indicate that TJ purchased a ticket.

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