To Edward Preble
Th: Jefferson asks the favor of Capt Preble to take a family dinner with him tomorrow at half after three
Thursday Nov. 18. 1802
Tr (TJ Editorial Files); 1961 typescript of RC in possession of Dundas Preble Tucker, La Jolla, California; addressed: “Capt Preble.”
Edward preble, a moderate Federalist from Maine who had served with a Massachusetts sloop during the American Revolution, received an officer’s commission in the United States Navy in April 1798 during the Quasi-War with France. The following year he was promoted to captain and took command of the frigate Essex. Plagued by ulcers and digestive disorders throughout his life, he offered his resignation from the navy in April 1802 but was instead granted indefinite furlough. He had been in Washington only a few days when he received this invitation. He also met with Madison and Robert Smith, who considered him for future naval assignments upon the restoration of his health. In 1803, he took command of the third U.S. squadron to be sent to the Mediterranean and distinguished himself during the war against the Barbary pirates (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Christopher McKee, Edward Preble: A Naval Biography, 1761–1807 [Annapolis, Md., 1972], 88, 99–100, 105–6; Vol. 35:489n).