Thomas Jefferson Papers

Henry Wheaton to Thomas Jefferson, 20 August 1810

From Henry Wheaton

Providence 20th August, 1810.


I take the liberty of enclosing to you an Essay on the history & means of preserving that independence you so greatly contributed to acquire; and humbly hope that however great may be the imperfections your eye will discern in the composition, that you will pardon them for the sake of the sincere attachment to those principles which made us free, the merit of which I may justly claim. It is your glory, Sir, to have adhered to those principles in a degenerate age; & I may therefore presume upon your approbation of every effort, however feeble, to recall back our countrymen to their first faith. That you may long enjoy the blessings you have procured for all your fellow citizens is the sincere prayer of, Sir,

Your obedient, humble servant.

H. Wheaton.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The Hon. Thomas Jefferson, Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 10 Sept. 1810 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Wheaton, An Oration, Delivered before the Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, and the Republican Citizens of Providence and its Vicinity at the Town-House, on the Anniversary of American Independence, July 4th, 1810 (Providence, 1810; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4689).

Henry Wheaton (1785–1848), attorney and diplomat, was a native of Providence who graduated from the College of Rhode Island (later Brown University) in 1802 and joined the Rhode Island bar in 1805. He moved to New York City to edit the Republican National Advocate, 1812–15, and served on the marine court of New York City, 1815–19. Wheaton took part in a New York state constitutional convention in 1821 and served in the state legislature two years later. As court reporter for the United States Supreme Court, 1816–27, he compiled twelve volumes of court arguments and adjudications, and he also published influential works on maritime and international law. Wheaton served as American chargé d’affaires to Denmark, 1827–35, chargé d’affaires to Prussia, 1835–37, and envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the latter country from 1837 until his recall in 1846 (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 ; Boston Daily Advertiser, 15, 16 Mar. 1848).

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