Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Andrew Moore, 5 August 1801

To Andrew Moore

Monticello Aug. 5. 1801

Dear Sir

A marshal for the Western district of Virginia having been wanting I had appointed a mr Caruthers, who however has declined. it has been suggested to me as possible that you might be willing to accept the office. had this been supposed at first you would unquestionably have had the first offer, as I deem it highly advantageous to the U.S. to have their offices filled not only with men of probity & understanding, but who are extensively known to be such. in the possibility of your acceptance I now take the liberty of proposing this office to you. I have with me a blank commission, which on recieving your permission I will fill up with your name & forward it. let me only ask the favor of an answer by the first post, as I am told some inconvenience is experienced from the delay already occasioned by mr Caruther’s declining. accept assurances of my high esteem & consideration.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Colo. Andrew Moore.”

Andrew Moore (1752–1821), born near Staunton, Virginia, of Scotch-Irish parents, read law under George Wythe at William and Mary, and was admitted to the bar in 1774. During the Revolutionary War, Moore raised a company of riflemen from Augusta County, which became a part of Daniel Morgan’s select corp known as Morgan’s Rangers. Promoted to captain, Moore fought with his company at Saratoga in the fall of 1777. After the war he rose to the rank of major general in the Virginia militia. In 1780, Moore began serving as a delegate from Rock-bridge County in the Virginia General Assembly, allying himself with Madison. He voted for ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788 and served in Congress from 1789 to 1797, where he opposed Hamilton’s policies. Moore briefly retired from politics to rebuild his law practice but again entered the Virginia assembly in 1799 to help secure passage of Madison’s Virginia Resolutions in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts. Moore was elected to the Eighth Congress but served only a few months before being appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, where he served as a Jeffersonian Republican until 1809. Upon his retirement from the Senate, he accepted an appointment as U.S. marshal of Virginia, a position he held until shortly before his death (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, Richmond, 1978 description ends , 139, 217).

On 29 July, TJ informed Valentine White, of Hot Springs in Bath County, Virginia, that the office of Marshal for the western district of Virginia was still vacant because TJ’s candidate had returned the commission. TJ noted that he would fill the position shortly from Monticello, where he planned to spend August and September. The president was responding to White’s letter of 21 July (now missing), which was being sent to the secretary of the Treasury “to [give] you the information you desire” (PrC in MoSHi: Jefferson Papers; faint; at foot of text: “Mr Valentine White”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso).

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