Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Pinkney, 5 August 1809

To William Pinkney

Monticello. Aug. 5. 09.

Dear Sir

The bearers hereof, mr Alexander McRae, & Major John Clarke proposing to go to Great Britain on their private concerns, I take the liberty of presenting them to your notice & patronage. mr McRae, a lawyer of distinction, has been a member of the council of state of Virginia & Lieutt Governor, highly esteemed for his talents & correctness of principle moral & political. Majr Clarke was long also in public employ as Director of the Armoury of this state, recommended as such by his great mechanical ingenuity & personal worth. any good offices you may be so kind as to render them will be deservedly bestowed; & their knolege of the present state of our affairs may enable them to add acceptably to your information.

I am happy in an occasion of expressing to you my great esteem for you personally, and the satisfaction with which I noted the correctness, both as to matter & manner, with which you discharged the public duties you were so kind as to undertake at my request. I witnessed too with pleasure the esteem with which you inspired my successor, then more immediately engaged in correspondence with you. Accept the just tribute of mine also, & of my great respect & consideration.

Th: Jefferson

RC (MdHi: photostat in Vertical Files); addressed: “His Excellency William Pinckney esq Minister Plenipotentiary of the US. of America at London.” PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ. Enclosed in TJ to Alexander McRae, 5 Aug. 1809.

William Pinkney (1764–1822) was American minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain, 1807–11. During a long public career he opposed the new federal constitution at the 1788 Maryland ratification convention; sat in that state’s legislature and on its executive council; served in London as a claims commissioner under the Jay Treaty, 1796–1804; and returned to England in 1806 as joint commissioner with James Monroe, with whom he negotiated a commercial treaty that TJ immediately rejected. One of America’s preeminent lawyers, Pinkney frequently argued cases before the Supreme Court and was United States attorney general, 1811–14. With a stint in between as minister plenipotentiary to Russia and to Naples, 1816–18, he represented Maryland in the United States House of Representatives, 1815–16, and in the Senate from 1819 until his death (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 ; Robert M. Ireland, The Legal Career of William Pinkney, 1764–1822 [1986]; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:35 [19, 21 Apr. 1806]).

Index Entries

  • Clarke, John (1766–1844); and silk-manufacturing project search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction from search
  • manufacturing, household; silk manufacturing in Va. search
  • McRae, Alexander; and silk-manufacturing project search
  • Monroe-Pinkney Treaty (1806) search
  • Pinkney, William; and J. Monroe search
  • Pinkney, William; and Monroe-Pinkney Treaty search
  • Pinkney, William; identified search
  • Pinkney, William; letters to search
  • Pinkney, William; TJ recommends A. McRae and J. Clarke to search
  • textiles; silk manufacturing search