Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Strode, 26 February 1801

From John Strode

Culpeper 26 febry. 1801

Worthy Sir

Imprest with respectfull Awe and the most profound esteem, I presume to approach your hand; not that I conceive your friendship for an individual however small or remote, in any degree lessen’d; but because the business of your elevated Station, will continually require your attention to matters of transcendantly more importance; I beg leave to introduce to you my friend & Neighbour Robert B Voss esquire, with whom if I remember right, you said you Once had a small acquaintance in Europe; He understands there is some public Serv[ice] by commissioners to be perform’d to the southwd. in delineating the boundarys of some Indian Tribe or Nation; the pecuniary reward attach’d to that Service can be no object with a Man of Mr. Vosses Estate practice & abillitys, but that [he] has a strong desire to see that country, perhaps there are but few, if any better qualified on acct. of Mathematical and Legal knowledge, and in point of general p[erspi]casity, industry and perseverance, He is not I believe, […] to any. In my humble situation, I have small […]sions to recommend, but were I ever so worthy of At[…] One Syllable should not on that head escape me; did I not concieve, I was serving my country through the Man prop[osed] to its Service.

For some time an awful and portentous silence pervaded this country; the solemn and determined countenance of each individual bespoke the labouring Movements of His Mind; but at last, and we humbly thank God for it, the late election in Congress concluded to General satisfaction—the gloom is dispersed—and transports of Joy appear in every countenance, and that without one single disenting Voice. Gracious Heaven preserve you long very long, [in]deed preserve your precious Life, for sake of your family, your friend, and your country. So pray, many, & many a Thousand this day, but none more fervently, than, Sir, Your most Obdt hble servt

John Strode

RC (DLC); frayed at edge; at foot of text: “[Th]omas Jefferson Esqr. [Pre]sident of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 11 Mch. and so recorded in SJL, where TJ noted that he received it and James Monroe’s letter of 5 Mch. from Voss.

TJ had encountered a Virginian named voss in Europe in the mid-1780s, when Voss, perhaps for reasons of trade, traveled to Paris, Amsterdam, and London, where he also called on John Adams. Robert B. Voss lived on a Culpeper County estate called Mountain Prospect. The only correspondence between him and TJ would appear to have been an undated letter from Voss that is recorded in SJL as received from Culpeper on 26 May 1808 in support of Mordecai Barbour for the Richmond postmastership (Raleigh Travers Green, comp., Genealogical and Historical Notes on Culpeper County, Virginia. Embracing a Revised and Enlarged Edition of Dr. Philip Slaughter’s History of St. Mark’s Parish [Culpeper, Va., 1900], pt. 2:55–6; Mordecai Barbour to Madison, 12 Oct. 1808, in DNA: RG 59, LAR; Vol. 9:183–4, 364n; Vol. 10:256, 302, 305).

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