Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Henry Dearborn and Elbridge Gerry, 2 October 1809

To Henry Dearborn and Elbridge Gerry

Monticello Oct. 2. 09.

Dear General1

The bearer of this is mr Thomas M. Randolph half brother of my son in law of that name whom you know.2 he is proceeding to Harvard college to enter there as a student. having lived at a distance from me, I can say little of him from my personal knolege, but I am authorised by those in whom I have confidence to say that he is a youth of good dispositions & correct conduct. his father was my most intimate friend, having been brought up together almost from the cradle. from these different considerations I feel a just interest in his welfare, & take the liberty of presenting him to you, as he will be in a land of strangers. any countenance you shall be so good as to shew him, or counsel you shall give him, will be considered as a favor done to3 Dear General

Your’s affectionately

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViU: TJP, photostat); at foot of text: “Genl Dearborne.” RC (NNPM); addressed: “Elbridge Gerry esquire Cambridge”; endorsed by Gerry. FC (MHi); note in TJ’s hand describing the Gerry letter, of which he retained no other copy, as “verbatim the same” as that to Dearborn; endorsed by TJ. Enclosed in TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph (1792–1848), 2 Oct. 1809.

Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), merchant and political leader, was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts. After graduating from Harvard in 1762, his public service began with his election to the Massachusetts General Court in 1772. A signer of the Declaration of Independence and a delegate to the 1787 Philadelphia Convention who opposed the federal constitution drafted there, Gerry served in the Continental Congress, 1776–80 and 1783–85, and the United States House of Representatives, 1789–93. A strong political supporter of TJ, Gerry won a term as governor of Massachusetts, 1810–11, but was defeated for reelection. He served as vice president of the United States from 1813 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 ; Sibley’s Harvard Graduates description begins John L. Sibley and others, eds., Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 1873– , 18 vols. description ends , 15:239–59; George Athan Billias, Elbridge Gerry: Founding Father and Republican Statesman [1976]).

1Gerry RC: “Dear Sir.”

2Preceding three words omitted in Gerry RC.

3Gerry RC concludes: “Dear Sir Your antient & constant friend.”

Index Entries

  • Dearborn, Henry; introduced to T. M. Randolph search
  • Dearborn, Henry; letters to search
  • Gerry, Elbridge (1744–1814); identified search
  • Gerry, Elbridge (1744–1814); introduced to T. M. Randolph search
  • Gerry, Elbridge (1744–1814); letters to search
  • Harvard University; T. M. Randolph (1792-1848) attends search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction from search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1741–93) (father of Thomas Mann Randolph [1768–1828] and Thomas Mann Randolph [1792–1848]) search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1792–1848) (son of Thomas Mann Randolph [1741–93]; half-brother of Thomas Mann Randolph [1768–1828]); attends Harvard University search