Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 6 October 1809

To William Eustis

Monticello Oct. 6. 09

Dear Sir

Sollicited by a poor man in an adjoining county who states his case in the inclosed letter, & truly, as far as I can learn, I take the liberty of putting it under cover to you, in the hope you will be so good as to put it into the hands of the proper clerk, that whatever is right may be done, &, if nothing can be done, that the clerk may certify the grounds, so as to inform the applicant & put him at rest. the paper, if inclosed to me, shall be safely conveyed to him.

I am glad of an occasion of congratulating you as well as my country on your accession to a share in the direction of our Executive councils. besides the general advantages we may promise ourselves from the employment of your talents & integrity in so important a station, we may hope peculiar effect from it towards restoring deeply wounded amity between your native state & her sisters. the design of the leading federalists, then having direction of the state, to take advantage of the first war with England to separate the N.E. states from the union has distressingly impaired our future confidence in them. in this, as in all other cases, we must do them full justice, and make the fault all their own, should the last hope of human liberty be destined to recieve it’s final stab from them. I salute you with great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (MHi: Letters to William and Caroline Eustis); at foot of text: “The honble Dr Eustis”; endorsed by Eustis. PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: John Porter to TJ, 17 Sept. 1809 (not found, but recorded in SJL as received from Louisa on 25 Sept. 1809).

William Eustis (1753–1825), physician and political leader, was a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Following his graduation from Harvard in 1772 and subsequent medical training, he served as an army surgeon during the American Revolution. He later helped found the Society of the Cincinnati and was vice president of its Massachusetts chapter. Eustis represented Boston in the lower house of the Massachusetts legislature, 1788–94, and sat in the United States House of Representatives, 1801–05, during which he established himself as a moderate Republican. James Madison appointed Eustis secretary of war in March 1809. During his tenure Eustis reorganized his department and the army, with mixed results that led to his resignation in December 1812. He served as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the Netherlands, 1814–18, returned to the House of Representatives, 1820–23, and was governor of Massachusetts from 1823 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 , 18:70–84; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:118–20, 595, 596 [6, 7 Mar. 1809, 16, 17 Dec. 1814]).

Index Entries

  • Eustis, William; as secretary of war search
  • Eustis, William; identified search
  • Eustis, William; letters to search
  • Federalist party; in New England search
  • New England; Federalists in search
  • Porter, John; claim for compensation search
  • Porter, John; letters from accounted for search