Thomas Jefferson Papers

Certificate for John and Gabriella Brockenbrough, 29 June 1798

Certificate for John and Gabriella Brockenbrough

The bearers hereof Doctr. Brockenborough and mrs Gabriella Brockenborough his lady, proposing to visit Europe for the benefit of mrs Brockenborough’s health, I Thomas Jefferson hereby certify to all whom it may concern, that they are citizens of the commonwealth of Virginia in the United States of America, of distinction for their wealth, connections & respectability of character, & worthy the hospitality & protection of the laws, government & citizens of the countries they may have occasion to visit; and as such they are recommended, with an assurance that the laws, government & citizens of the United states are in the habit of reciprocating to strangers the good offices which it is pleasing to them should be rendered to their fellow citizens travelling in foreign countries. Given under my hand and seal at Alexandria in Virginia this 29th. day of June 1798

Th: Jefferson

MS (NHi); entirely in TJ’s hand; with TJ’s seal affixed. Not recorded in SJL.

John Brockenbrough, Jr., son of Dr. John Brockenbrough of Tappahannock, Virginia, received his medical degree from Edinburgh in 1795. He settled and developed a medical practice in Richmond, where he served as president of the Bank of Virginia for almost 40 years. Active in Virginia Republican party politics as a member of the Richmond or Essex junto, he became a close friend of John Randolph of Roanoke and supported Monroe in his 1808 campaign for the presidency. Gabriella Brockenbrough was the daughter of John Harvie, Jr., and the second wife of Thomas Mann Randolph, Sr., whom she married in 1790, reportedly being less than half his age. They had a daughter, who died in infancy, and one son, Thomas Mann Randolph, a halfbrother of TJ’s son-in-law of the same name, before Randolph’s death in 1793. Randolph of Roanoke described her as “a mind of a very high order: well improved and manners that a queen might envy” (Wyndham B. Blanton, Medicine in Virginia in the Eighteenth Century [Richmond, 1931], 86–7, 337; same, Medicine in Virginia in the Nineteenth Century [Richmond, 1933], 367; Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. to TJ, 30 Nov. 1793; WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892- description ends , 1st ser., 11 [1903], 125; Ammon, Monroe description begins Harry Ammon, James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity, New York, 1971 description ends , 273; Gaines, Randolph description begins William H. Gaines, Jr., Thomas Mann Randolph: Jefferson’s Son-in-Law, Baton Rouge, 1966 description ends , 32, 38; Hugh A. Garland, The Life of John Randolph of Roanoke, 2 vols. [New York, 1857], 2:22; Jonathan Daniels, The Randolphs of Virginia [New York, 1972], xii, 130–1, 133, 143, 195, 256; Virginius Dabney, Richmond: The Story of a City [New York, 1976), 66, 84.

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