Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William G. Stewart, 14 July 1802

From William G. Stewart

Philada. July 14th. 1802


Presuming on your freindship to my Father now at your Estate—and on my having been in the Service of the United States, on board the United States Frigate Philadelphia in her previous Cruize when Commanded by Captn Decatur & in her late Cruize Under Captn. Barron, under whom I served as masters mate—I have to beg of you your friendly influence in my behalf for the purpose of obtaining the Warrant of a Midshipman.

If, a Recommendation of my Character, or of my Conduct during my Service be necessary, I beg leave to refer you to Captain Barron now at the City of Washington or to our Late Commander Captain Decatur, now in this City—Should you be pleased to grant this I Shall allways hold it in gratefull Remembrance meantime believe me your Excellencys

Most Obedt and very Humble Servant

William G. Stewart

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at head of text: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 July and so recorded in SJL; also endorsed by TJ: “to be Midshipman.”

William G. Stewart was the son of Monticello blacksmith William Stewart. TJ brought Stewart’s application to the attention of Robert Smith, describing him as “a young man of correct conduct” who possessed “an extraordinary mechanical genius.” Stewart received his midshipman’s warrant in November 1802 and was assigned to the brig Argus (NDBW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers, Washington, D.C., 1939–44, 6 vols. and Register of Officer Personnel and Ships’ Data, 1801–1807, Washington, D.C., 1945 description ends , Register, 53; TJ to Robert Smith, 22 Oct. 1802).

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