Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Harriott, 1 August 1793

From John Harriott

Baltimore Augst: 1. 1793

Right Honble: Sir

Landing last Night at Baltimore, after a tedious Passage of ten Weeks, I take the earliest opportunity of sending the accompanying Letters and Parcells, with the care of which, I have been much honored by Mr. Pinckney. Mr. Pinckney having likewise favored me with a Line of Introduction, I shall be proud of an opportunity of delivering it in Person, whenever it may offer. At present I am disagreably confin’d by lameness. And finding Baltimore no ways suitable to fix my Family in, while I make excursions in the different States to find Land likely to answer my purpose for Agriculture, I am at an uncertainty where I shall remove to for the present with my Family, whether the Neighborhood of New York, Rhode Island, or directly up into the back Country.

I have long had a predilection for this Country and Government. I have now cast the Die with a bold Hand (being sensible of the risque with so large a family) and must trust the Event to Providence. I have the Honor to subscribe myself Right Honble: Sir Your Devoted & faithful Hble Servt:

John Harriott

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 3 Aug. 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: Thomas Pinckney to TJ, 11, 15 May 1793, the latter not found (see note to TJ to Pinckney, 22 Aug. 1793).

John Harriott (1745–1817), a native of the county of Essex, England, had a colorful career which included travel to the West Indies and the Levant while serving in the Royal Navy, visits to America as a ship’s mate on merchant vessels, a wound incurred while leading sepoys in battle in India, and the reclamation from the sea of an island in Essex, which he farmed until a disastrous fire led him to immigrate to the United States. In this and a subsequent stay he tried farming near Newport, Rhode Island, and on Long Island, but in 1796 he moved back to England permanently, where he patented several inventions and in 1798 helped found the Thames River police, which he served as resident magistrate until just prior to his death (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds. Dictionary of National Biography, 2d ed., New York, 1908–09, 22 vols. description ends ; John Harriott, Struggles Through Life, 2d ed., 2 vols. [London, 1808], esp. ii, 10, 90, 158–64, 190–1; Harriott to TJ, 4 Oct. 1793).

Thomas Pinckney’s line of introduction of 11 May 1793 is summarized in note to Pinckney’s other letter to TJ of that date.

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