Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Kilty, 27 May 1801

From William Kilty

Annapolis May 27th 1801


At the request of Major Thomas Harwood of Calvert County in this State, I take the liberty of addressing you in his behalf.

He has been informed of the resignation by Mr Dent of the office of Marshall of the Patowmac district, and Means to Sollicit the appointment

I have been many Years acquainted with Mr Harwood and Can with Confidence recommend him to You, as deserving of this office—He is a Man of Good Understanding and sufficiently Conversant in business—He engaged in the Service of his Country at an early period of the Revolution, and Served with reputation

The Principles of Liberty by which He was then actuated have never been deserted by him and He has been ever Since and Still is a firm and decided Republican. It may not be improper to add, that the Situation of himself and his family, which is numerous and very deserving, is such as to render an establishment of this Kind Very important to him, And Altho this Circumstance alone would not induce me to recommend him, it may merit Consideration where the Candidates may be otherwise equal.

I beg leave to Mention also that Altho Mr Harwood has been unfortunate in his Pecuniary Concerns He has always Supported a fair and Honourable Character

Presuming that in the exercise of Your duty in appointing to offices it will be agreeable to you to receive information Where You have not a Personal Knowledge of the Candidates I flatter myself that no apology will be necessary for my troubling you on this occasion

I have the Honour to be Sir With great respect Your Most Obt. Servt

Willm Kilty

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ. Recorded in SJL as received 28 May with notation in brackets connecting letters from Kilty, Gabriel Duvall, John T. Mason, Rose Nelson, and John F. Mercer: “Majr. Thos. Harwood to be Marshal of Potomac.”

Thomas Harwood may have delivered this recommendation to the president on 28 May, along with that from Gabriel Duvall, at Annapolis, dated the 27th, supporting him for marshal for the Potomac district. Duvall noted that the bearer of the letter had served with reputation in the American Revolution and characterized Harwood as a “genuine Republican” who had been “undeviatingly Republican through all the Revolutions in the public sentiment.” Duvall reviewed Harwood’s public career, noting his service as a state legislator, county court judge, and justice of the peace. Characterizing Harwood as “a gentleman of good understanding, & of unblemished private character,” Duvall noted that “unfavourable circumstances” had left him “considerably embarrassed” with a large family to support (RC in same; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson, Esq. President of The United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 28 May and “Majr. Thomas Harwood to be Marshal of Potomac” and so recorded in SJL with brackets connecting it with other letters recommending Harwood received on 28 May).

Harwood may have delivered two other recommendations. Writing from Annapolis on 27 May, John Thomson Mason described Harwood as “an old soldier, an undeviating republican, of respectable connections and needy in his circumstances.” Mason noted that he had not seen Harwood for two or three years, but had heard nothing to indicate that his good reputation had been tarnished by his financial difficulties. Rose Nelson, also writing from Annapolis on 27 May, proclaimed to know Harwood as “a Man of Good understanding and great Probity.” Nelson reported that Harwood’s “unpleasant” financial condition was “Occasioned more by untoward Circumstances, than any imprudencies of his own” (RCs in same; endorsed by TJ as received 28 May and so recorded in SJL with brackets connecting them with other letters received on that date recommending Harwood).

A letter from John F. Mercer dated 29 May at West River noted that Harwood had served with reputation in the Maryland line during the Revolutionary War and subsequently in other public stations. He believed Harwood would faithfully discharge the duties of marshal and noted that he had “a large & respectable family reduced in circumstances by mercantile losses” (same; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 29 May received the 28th and so recorded in SJL with brackets connecting it with other letters received on that date recommending Harwood).

For the resignation of George Dent and the appointment of William Baker to the marshalship, see TJ to Baker, 30 May.

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