Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Graham, 25 April 1809

To John Graham

Monticello Apr. 25. 09

Dear Sir

A gentleman of Dumfries of your name, & I think he was your brother, was so kind as to promise me a pair of wild geese, & to say he would take some occasion of sending them to Washington by water. I would now prefer their remaining where they are, as being so much nearer than Washington, & I will send for them as soon as the roads are good. not knowing the Christian name of mr Graham nor exactly his address, I have ventured to trespass on your friendship by this letter, presuming you will know the person I describe, & that you will be so good as to convey to him my request to retain the geese until I can send for them. with my excuses for this liberty I tender you the assurances of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Graham”; endorsed by TJ.

John Graham (1774–1820), was born in Dumfries, graduated from Columbia College in 1790, and moved to Kentucky, serving in the state legislature in 1800. TJ appointed him secretary of legation at Madrid in 1801 and secretary of Orleans Territory in 1804. Late in 1806 Graham went to Ohio as TJ’s confidential agent to gather information on the suspected conspiracy of Aaron Burr, testifying the following year at Burr’s treason trial. James Madison appointed Graham chief clerk of the State Department in 1807, a position he held until James Monroe placed him on a three-member fact-finding mission to study the Spanish provinces in South America in 1817. Named minister plenipotentiary to Portugal at Brazil in 1819, Graham found the climate too severe and returned to the United States, dying shortly thereafter (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:401, 405, 476, 477 [6, 26 Jan. 1802, 11, 12 Dec. 1804]).

Index Entries

  • Burr, Aaron (1756–1836); treason trial of search
  • geese; wild search
  • Graham, John; and wild geese search
  • Graham, John; identified search
  • Graham, John; letters to search
  • Graham, Robert; and wild geese search