Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Turpin to Thomas Jefferson, [received 5 November 1809]

From William Turpin

[received 5 Nov. 1809 ]

Most Respected Sir

this will be handed you by my Neighbor Thos Mitchell, he intends calling on you as he passes through Albemarle, you will find him a Man of information and friendly to the present administration.

the high esteem which I have for you, has originated in the love and good will, which I have discovered in your writings as well as in almost every public act of your administration, the more perfect any Mans works are the more good may be hoped for, from opening and canvassing of them, if you should be disposed to admit of Such a Correspondence, with an humble unambitious Citizen, its possible that I may take Some Texts from Jeffersons Notes on Virginia if happily I might glance a Ray of Light that might be improved, Towards releaving the distress of any part of Creation, I doubt not it will be acceptable to your inlightened mind.

Several of my communications to you when in Office was without Signature that you might have the benefit of the information without Knowing from whence it Came, to avoid a surmise, that I wished to ingraciate myself into favor, as my only object was to defeat the designs of those who by a mistaken polecy might endanger the peace of our Country.

We are Sorry that your abode is so far from the Seat of Government, where your Councel might be of the utmost importance at this Trying time, altho we have full confidence in your successor, and hope that the experiments which he has ventured to make, of accepting the British deceptive propositions, and admitting their Ships of War into our Ports, will have a good effect to conciliate ourselves, which is a desirable object, for now their are but few amaricans that will openly dare to Espouse their Cause, unity among ourselves is of more Consiquince to us, than the Smiles or frowns, of any of the Powers at War, if they are to be Scourged let the hand of desolation destroy them alone, let us follow your policy and have as little as possible to do with them, if we are anywise Connected with either of them, and partake of their Crimes, we must partake of their Punnishment also, therefore its our safest way to Stand a far off, from any connection with either, until their destiney is determined, you See that Great Britain has ordered all her desposable force into foreign Service, if they should continue this Plan and they Should be intraped, may not the fall of their own Island be the natural Consiquince,

Mr Mitchell is able to inform you of every thing in this part of the Country that you may wish to Know

Your Friend

Willm Turpin

RC (MHi); undated; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Nov. 1809 “(by mr Mitchill of S.C.)” and so recorded in SJL.

William Turpin (ca. 1755–1835), a prominent Charleston merchant, held a variety of local positions and represented St. Philip and St. Michael parishes in the South Carolina House of Representatives briefly in 1809. He owned property in South Carolina and in New York City, where he spent the last years of his life. Turpin later advocated the colonization of slaves and in 1825 sent TJ an abolitionist tract and urged him to follow Turpin’s lead by freeing his slaves in his will and sending them to Haiti (BDSCHR description begins Walter B. Edgar and others, eds., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1974– , 5 vols. description ends , 4:574–5; Turpin to TJ, 29 Mar. 1825).

Thomas Rothmahler mitchell served with Turpin in the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1809 (BDSCHR description begins Walter B. Edgar and others, eds., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1974– , 5 vols. description ends , 4:404–5). Turpin wrote TJ without signature at least twice, on 30 May and 1 June 1808 (DLC).

Index Entries

  • anonymous correspondence; letters from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; anonymous letters to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on the State of Virginia search
  • Mitchell, Thomas Rothmaler; visits Monticello search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Mitchell, Thomas Rothmaler search
  • Notes on the State of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson); revised edition proposed search
  • Turpin, William; identified search
  • Turpin, William; letters from search
  • Turpin, William; on foreign relations search
  • Turpin, William; opposes slavery search
  • Turpin, William; praises TJ search
  • Turpin, William; writes TJ anonymously search