Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Stevens, 9 November 1803

From James Stevens

Stamford Novr. 9th A 1803

Hond. Sir

Without the happiness of being personally known to you I take the liberty to solicit of you a favor; which I have no doubt will be granted provided it be Consistent with the publick good:—I say without being1 personally known to you, for the presentment to you which, I had the honor to procure through the agency of Mr John Griffiths in January 1799 at Philedelphia must long Since have given place in your mind to more important objects—

The late cession by France to the United States of the Territory of Louissiana togather with the proceedings of Congress theron, has left the Executive of the United States the temporary government of that Territory togather with the appointment of proper officers to Execute it:—I have entertained an inclination to see that part of the world, and if any Subordinate office Should remain vacant which I might be capacitated to fill it would be highly gratifying to me to be appointed thereto—

I confess prudence has much to do in the Solicitation, perhaps more than ambition; Still I have so much ambition that I Should dread no punishment worse than filling an office with Small dignity—Should any office remain unfilled I do not Solicit2 an appointment thereto untill I shall forward my Charracter by some freind in whom you may repose confidence, I am only giving you this early trouble because Mr. Edwards through whom I intend to Solicit is [not at] hand; and I wish not to fail for want of favourable application—

Should your weightier concerns leave time to inform me whether any such vacancy exists it would much oblige Sir your most Obedt. Huml. Servt.

James Stevens

Note I have not specified any office by name as it may depend on what one may remain unfilled and also3 on the nature of my recommendation

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); torn; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire President of the U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as received 14 Nov. and “for employment in Louisiana” and so recorded in SJL.

James Stevens (1768-1835) of Stamford, Connecticut, studied law and served in the state legislature for several terms beginning in 1804. On his list of candidates for employment in Louisiana, TJ recorded his name with the adjacent comment “illiterate.” Stevens received a recess commission as principal assessor for the second collection district of Connecticut in 1816 and became a probate district judge in 1819. He was elected that year as a Republican to the Sixteenth Congress, serving a single term in the United States House of Representatives (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 3:26, 31; list of candidates for office in Louisiana, undated MS in DLC: TJ Papers, 119:20570-1, printed in Vol. 43: Appendix II).

mr. edwards: possibly Pierpont Edwards of New Haven.

1MS: “being being.”

2Preceding four words interlined.

3MS: “als.”

Index Entries