Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Elizabeth House Trist, 13 August 1801

From Elizabeth House Trist

Birdwood August 13th 1801

Dear Sir

Among the numerous recommendations which you daily receive for appointments I beg leave to Step forward in favor of my friend Mr David Easton whose Merits are I know equal to his Misfortunes, and whose talents and integrity are fully commensurate to the duties of the Office he solicits. His necessities have been occasion’d by the late Merciless captures, but notwithstanding by Sacraficeing every species of his property as well as that of which his Wife was possess’d, his character has been unimpeach’d.

Mrs Easton is the Daughter of the late Colonel Harrison who you may remember as Secretary to General Washington, Mr Easton is a native of Scotland a resident of this Country Sixteen Years, a Citizen fourteen and being a Commercial Character his object is a Consulship The Gentleman that has been appointed to that Situation at Hamburgh he understands declines accepting the Office, shou’d that be the case it wou’d be a situation most desireable if not, that of Glasgow or any other wou’d be acceptable—He has been offerd recommendations for this appointment particularly by Governor Stone of Maryland who no doubt will Authenticate what I have above written—.

Was I not affraid of being too prolix I wou’d unfold to you the sensations of my heart the emotions of which have on this occasion been particularly excited—therefore conclude with a request that you will peruse the inclosed letters—In truth believe me

Your obliged friend

E. Trist

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ as received 14 Aug. and “David Easton to be Consul” and so recorded in SJL.

David Easton was an Alexandria merchant and importer of rum and citrus from Grenada. Late Merciless Captures: Easton, along with William Wilson and John Potts, suffered losses in August 1793 when their brigantine Jessie and its cargo were captured by the French privateer Sans Pareille and sold at Charleston (Miller, Alexandria Artisans description begins T. Michael Miller, comp., Artisans and Merchants of Alexandria, Virginia, 1780–1820, Bowie, Md., 1991–92, 2 vols. description ends , 1:123; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:291; 5:315).

Mrs. Easton: Sarah Easton was the widow of Captain John Jordon and the daughter of Robert Hanson Harrison, a native of Charles County, Maryland, who served as one of George Washington’s aides-de-camp during the Revolution (George T. Ness, Jr., “A Lost Man of Maryland,” Maryland Historical Magazine, 35 [1940], 315–36).

Trist was under the impression that Benjamin Grayson Orr, who had hoped for a Consulship at Bordeaux, had been offered a consulship at Hamburg, and had until October to determine if he would accept it (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 2:235; Trist to TJ, 24 Oct. 1801).

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