Thomas Jefferson Papers

St. George Tucker to Thomas Jefferson, 21 October 1809

From St. George Tucker

Richmond Octo: 21st 1809.

Will Mr Jefferson have the goodness to accept the enclosed Attempt, from the pen of one who has not for more than thirty years thought of a composition in Latin, as a small tribute of the most sincere respect, esteem; and as a Testimony of the best wishes of his friend.

St: G: Tucker

RC (DLC); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 21 Oct. 1809 and so recorded in SJL.

St. George Tucker (1752–1827), judge and poet, attended the College of William and Mary early in the 1770s and studied law under George Wythe. During the Revolutionary War, Tucker smuggled arms and ammunition to the colonists from his native Bermuda, and during service with the Virginia militia he witnessed the British surrender at Yorktown. He served as commonwealth’s attorney for Chesterfield County, 1783–86, attended the Annapolis Convention the latter year, but later opposed the ratification of the United States Constitution. Tucker was elected to the Virginia General Court in 1788 and served as professor of law at William and Mary from 1790–1804. He served on the Virginia Court of Appeals, 1803–11, and was judge of the federal court for the district of Virginia from 1813 until he resigned due to poor health in 1825. A prolific writer throughout his career, Tucker composed numerous poems, edited William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England to suit American republican sensibilities, and wrote works supporting the gradual abolition of slavery and TJ’s purchase of Louisiana (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 ; Charles T. Cullen, “St. George Tucker,” in W. Hamilton Bryson, ed., Legal Education in Virginia, 1799–1979: A Biographical Approach [1982], 657–86; Phillip Hamilton, The Making and Unmaking of a Revolutionary Family: The Tuckers of Virginia, 1752–1830 [2003]; William S. Prince, ed., The Poems of St. George Tucker of Williamsburg, Virginia, 1752–1827 [1977]).

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