To Thomas Newton
Washington Oct. 13. 1802.
I this moment recieve a letter from John Hyndman Purdie of Smithfield asking the office on which I wrote you yesterday, and another from his father George Purdie. the latter I formerly knew, and he was a man of merit. I know nothing of their politics; yet that article of character is not to be neglected: and if there be a republican who will do, he should be preferred in the state of great inequality which at present exists. I mention this application that this person may be one of the subjects of your enquiry. accept my friendly salutations & respects.
PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Colo. Thos. Newton”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.
A letter dated 8 Oct. from JOHN HYNDMAN PURDIE was recorded in SJL as received 13 Oct. with the notation “to be Surveyor Smithfield vice Thos. Blow resigned.” TJ also recorded receiving a letter of the same date from George Purdie. Neither letter has been found. The younger Purdie was a doctor who later represented Isle of Wight County in the Virginia House of Delegates for four terms, while the elder was a merchant who had long been a leading citizen of Smithfield and from whom TJ had recently tried to obtain hams (Ruth L. Woodward and Wesley Frank Craven, Princetonians, 1784–1790: A Biographical Dictionary [Princeton, 1991], 516–17; Vol. 34:229).