Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Levi Stutson, 28 July 1801

From Levi Stutson

Boston July 28th. 1801.

Honourable Sir—

The unwarrantable Freedom which I now take, in the very singular, (and prehaps unprecedented) method of addressing You, tho’ in the most exalted station, which a Grateful and magnanimous people can place you—I humbly desire you to forgive,—nor can I doubt of the generous readiness, with which your complyance, will honour the urgent request, and especially when the cause of this application, meets with the candid discernment of your Just consideration; which is what I have taken the Liberty to solicit, from the pure inducement of necessiated Frankness, by an appeal to the dictates of your Philanthropic and unprejudiced reason;—It is with infinite regret I have to inform your Excellency, with what, under any supportable circumstances, I should feelingly forbear from the mortification of troubleing you with this address—that is the execrable misfortune of my long suffering in being designatedly placed among those, whom the arrogant intollerance of Political sentiments and party prejudice, hath long stygmatized and condemn’d to aprobrious suffering under the dorment state of civil oppression—by means of which and my firmness of attachment, to those fundamental principles, set forth in your admirable Republican Inaugural speech, the high Federalstyled rancour and malicious prejudice which so discordently sways a very considerable part of the most influencial and richer parts of this metropolis hath too evidently determined to keep me among many others within their power, in that persecuted state of Sentimental inveteracy, which your correct pen has so righteously described, and which without ambiguity by every Republican mind can never be too much confided in and admired.—

I will not further engross on your Excellencys time,—but just to beg of you the invalueable favour, to take me so far into consideration, as to afford me an opportunity to exert my endeavours in some situation which your Judgment may see fit to place me in—and I pledge myself for every exertion to do honour thereto and to afford all possible sattisfaction—The enclosed Certificate, will I humbly presume be amply characterestic of me and my abilities—

I have the Honour to remain—with the highest sentiments of duty and Esteem—Your Excellency’s Most Obt. and very humble Servt.

Levi Stutson

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ as received 20 Aug. and so recorded in SJL with notation “Off.” Enclosure: Certificate of William Donnisison, William Andrews, and 14 other inhabitants of Boston, dated 27 July 1801, describing Stutson as “well experienced in the Mercantile and Commercial business, as well as a competant accountant” and recommending him for “any Situation of confidence and capacity similar thereto, which might be committed to his charge” (same). Enclosed in Stutson to “Honourable Sir,” 28 July 1801, asking that his letter be presented to the president and to forward any reply to William Andrews, Summer Street in Boston (same).

The letter printed above is the only correspondence with Levi Stutson recorded in SJL. A sea captain of that name is listed in the 1800 Boston city directory as residing on Sea Street. He commanded the ship Polly, which made voyages to the southern states, Spain, and the West Indies around this time. He was deceased by early 1807 (The Boston Directory. Containing the Names of the Inhabitants, Their Occupations, Places of Business, and Dwelling-Houses [Boston, 1800], 103; Boston Massachusetts Mercury, 26 Apr., 12 July 1799; Charleston Carolina Gazette, 11 Dec. 1800; Boston Constitutional Telegraphe, 21 Nov. 1801; Boston New England Palladium, 21 Apr. 1807).

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