Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Currie, 16 March 1803

From James Currie

Richmond Virginia
March 16th. 1803

Dr Sir:

I take the liberty by this, of doing myself the honor of introducing to your acquaintance the Honble. Captain John Murray of the Royal British Navy, a son of the Earl of Dunmore, whom you will find, perfectly deserving of those Civilities & polite attentions (for which you have ever been remarkable, to Respectable Strangers) & to which I beg leave & take the pleasure to recommend him; ‘tis not improbable he may impart to you some communication, in regard to some matters that nearly concern him, in which Event I have impressed him to expect any information or advice (if necessary—) in your power that might with propriety be expected or wished for

I remain Dr Sir with the most Sincere Esteem & great regard Your most Obedt. Hble. Servt

James Currie

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “His Excelly Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 19 Apr. “by Capt Murray” and so recorded in SJL.

john murray consulted with a number of Americans in an effort to secure land claims acquired by his father while royal governor of New York and Virginia (Julius Goebel, Jr., and others, eds., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary, 5 vols. [New York, 1964–81], 1:263–4; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 35 vols., Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 9 vols., Pres. Ser., 1984- , 7 vols., Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , 4:20–1n; DNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, In Association with The British Academy, From the Earliest Times to the Year 2000, Oxford, 2004, 60 vols. description ends , s.v. “Murray, John, fourth earl of Dunmore”). In February, he solicited the views of one of his contacts, the Virginian Ralph Wormeley, and forwarded them to Robert Hobart, the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. In his letter, Wormeley blasted TJ’s subversion of the Washington and Adams administrations and his affection for France, particularly his failure to reprobate the “monster Robespierre,” but concluded that given France’s uncertain intentions with regard to Louisiana, TJ was “prepared now to draw the chords of Amity and Alliance” with Great Britain. Should France rebuff James Monroe’s efforts to secure free navigation of the Mississippi, Monroe’s orders were “to repair to London, and to propose a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive” between Great Britain and the United States. “The President,” Wormeley continued, “is a man of good sense, and now having a commanding Horizontal view of all our political affairs, can form a better judgement of them, than when he was in a less elevated situation, and, has certainly overcome and banished those prejudices which were wont to dim the eyesight of his judgement” (Ralph Wormeley to John Murray, undated, Dupl in Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies: Archives of the Earls of Buckinghamshire; enclosed in Murray to Robert Hobart, 1 Mch. 1803, RC in same).

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