Thomas Jefferson Papers

Oliver Pollock to Thomas Jefferson, 19 November 1811

From Oliver Pollock

Richmond 19th November 1811


I had the honor of receiving your letter dated on the 4th of may, some time back and delayed making an acknowledgement until I could do it fully to my own Satisfaction.

I find to my regret that you do not retain as particular a recollection of the transactions of the Government of Virginia as I had hoped, this indeed is not surprising considering the numerous and important offices which you have since filled and the lapse of thirty two years—but yet I am confident that you will remember what was a matter of much notoriety both then and afterwards, first. that I acted as the official public Agent of Virginia at New orleans—secondly—that I incurred large Debts in that Character—thirdly—that my agency resulted in great benefits to the Public, not only in the destruction of a dangerous Enemy—but in the acquisition of a Valuable Country to the United States.

I am of opinion that a testimonial under your hand clearly ascertaining these facts will be of service to me and Will be highly gratifying to my feelings to have such co-operating testimony from a name so high and respectable, by that means additional Validity will be given to what has been stated by others, and particularly by the late Col. William Heth, in his Character as Agent for settling the Accounts relating to the Conquest of the Isilinois. Col. Heth’s letter is the last document in a pamphlet now sent, and I refer you to it to refresh your memory as to some particulars which may not be at once recollected.

I cannot doubt that it will afford you pleasure to comply with a request which has for its object nothing more than the exhibition of truth, to which may be added the gratification of the feelings of an old and very Zealous, but unfortunate public Servant—and likewise

Your friend and very Hble. Servt.

Olr Pollock.

Please to direct to me here as soon as possible

RC (DLC); adjacent to signature: “Thomas Jefferson Esq.”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Dec. 1811 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Pollock, To the Honourable the Legislature of Virginia. The Memorial of Oliver Pollock, of the State of Maryland (1811).

In his 12 Mar. 1806 letter to Pollock, william heth confirmed Pollock’s important role in supplying George Rogers Clark’s expedition, admitted that in his capacity as an agent to settle Pollock’s accounts he had originally doubted but ultimately fully accepted his claims and his veracity, and affirmed that Pollock’s fortunes were ruined by his “zeal to discharge the trust and confidence reposed in him” (Pollock, Memorial, 12). Clark’s conquest of the isilinois (Illinois) region secured to the United States what would become known as the Northwest Territory.

Index Entries

  • Clark (Clarke), George Rogers; 1779expedition of search
  • Heth, William; and Revolutionary War claimants search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Northwest Territory; U.S. conquest of search
  • Pollock, Oliver; letters from search
  • Pollock, Oliver; seeks reimbursement from Va. search
  • Pollock, Oliver; To the Honourable the Legislature of Virginia. The Memorial of Oliver Pollock, of the State of Maryland search
  • To the Honourable the Legislature of Virginia. The Memorial of Oliver Pollock, of the State of Maryland (Pollock) search