Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Stevens Thomson Mason, 4 January 1798

From Stevens Thomson Mason

Phila Jany 4th 1798

Dear Sir

I subjoin an extract of a letter which I informed you I had received

from Colo Normand Bruce of Frederick County Maryland and am With great regard Your Obt Sert

Stes. Thon. Mason

“I am just informed that Mr Jefferson has requested Capt Perry Fitzhugh to procure information of Michael Cresap’s conduct relating to the murder of the Indians in spring 1774. I have no doubt but that Capt Fitzhugh (who is a most friendly man) will exert himself to serve Mr Jefferson. but the great distance he lives from where the affair happened, as well as his want of sight, must render this very inconvenient to him. it may be doubtful whether he may be able to obtain a satisfactory statement of facts, to procure which, it would seem, that Mr Jefferson ought to apply to some intelligent person near the neighbourhood where the transactions happened, which was, about cross creek in Ohio County; where no doubt many persons are yet to be found who were in that part of the Country at the time. Being a stranger to Mr. Jefferson you will excuse my intimating this to you. I know little of Cresap and nothing of the transactions but from hearsay. but he […] censured at the time.”

RC (DLC); bottom edge mutilated; endorsed by TJ as received 4 Jan. 1798 and so recorded in SJL.

Scion of an influential Stafford County family, Stevens Thomson Mason (1760–1803), a son of Thomson Mason and a nephew of George Mason, studied at the College of William and Mary and read law, subsequently establishing himself at his family’s Raspberry Plain plantation in Loudoun County. He began his political career with election to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1783, later serving in the state senate and as a delegate to the ratifying convention, where he opposed the adoption of the federal Constitution. Elected to the United States Senate in 1794 and serving there for the remainder of his life, he gained notoriety for releasing the text of the Jay Treaty in 1795 and assisted Matthew Lyon and James T. Callender when they were prosecuted under the Sedition Act (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ).

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