Thomas Jefferson Papers

Edward F. Bond to Thomas Jefferson, 5 January 1813

From Edward F. Bond

Baltimore Jany 5th 1813—

The conviction that a man of your Standing in the Republick of the United States is often pestered with addresses Pettitions and Requests for favours gives birth to an almost unconquerable Diffidence, and induces me thus to Preface the Object of the Present Epistle with an appolegy for the Liberty I take, I once had the Honour of an Introductio[n] by Doctr Archer a member from Harford County state of Maryland who was an Intimate friend of my Fathers at another time I brought a Letter from Genl Smith conformably to the wishes of Genl James Wilkinson who has been Like a Father to me in Louisiana, Consequently had the Honour to have two personal Interviews with the Chief Magistrate of a Great and Rising Republick the Love of which is interwoven with every Ligament of the Heart the Earth quake at New Madrid caused to Embark my Property in a Kentuck ship & Descend the Mississippi with my family to orleans where I Improvidentially made a shipment to the Medeterranean, which I have Reason to believe has fallen into the Hands of the Barbary Powers, and me made a Poor man. I find the Congress has passed a Law to Build 74s & frigates which will Augment our navy Considerably, I have spent the Earlier part of my Life on the ocean in the quality supercargo merchant &c having learnt the french and spanish Languages fluently, & whilst at sea on Long voyages attended to the Duties of a officer for Amusement Learnt1 Lunar observations & other parts of Navigation 37 years old now 12 of which I breathed the air of old occean feel confident of my abilities to discharge the Duties 2nd or third Lieutenant of a ship of War as for Native Valour I have more than once tried my mettle with Powder & Ball, Politicks the theme. my Country my Idol Washington & Jefferson my titulary Deities one Englishman & one frenchman Bit the Dust, at the Trial of Aaron Burr, I accompanied B H Latrobe to Richmond Conformably to a wish of yours as made known to me by that Gentleman with whom I have corresponded at various times ever since, some time in the summer I addressed this Gentleman Wherein I Requested him to Obtain for me a commission of Captaincy in the Army his Answer was accompanied with advice to applly to you he had Lost his influence with the Governt (if ever he had any) were his words I think I however seeing such Complaints in the Publick prints Respecting the2 provisions &c of the Army on the Part of the opposition Party Particularly some of our Federal neighbours some since the failure of the Battle of Queenstown &c &c Augmenting the Privations of the Officers and men Distorting or misrepresenting the Difficulties of a Camp anger Determined me to seek an office in the Army for next spring for this Purpose I wrote Mr Latrobe accompanied by an Introductory Letter for Shadrach Bond Esqr member of Congress from Illinois Territory who has Lately Intermarried with my sister Requesting Mr Latrobe to urge my Claim to procure an appointment but on a Due Examination I find my natural Propensities Lead me to the sea, my family connexions numerous & of old standing myself is the only one who has travelled by sea & stand single for application of this kind & have been with only one or two Exceptions friends to the Interests of the Poor man in their Politicks & have supported the Genl Government since the time of the Reverend Adams, Jno Montgomery of Harford formerly now Atty Genl for this state has known me from Infancy. Young Archer also then Let one Indebted to Thomas Jefferson for an appoint. of 2nd Leiutenant on Board one of the 74s or frigates that I may assist my countrymen this Portion of them to whom I have assimilated my manners, to Convince our old English master that freemen will not be trod on with impunity Revenge Sir is Deemed a Little Passion which Contracts the Heart, I suffer it not too approach mine3 Which ought to be the seat of all the moral virtues that Dignify our nature but Certainly I should feel Pleasure in going on board an English ship Dictate to its officers & Like them when on board our vessels invite them Politely with a Bend of the body4 to Drink some of the Porter & wine which was found in the Looting of the prize, with Deffe & Respect I have the Honour be your most obt Hle Sert

Edwd F, Bond

RC (MHi); first page chipped; between dateline and text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 8 Jan. 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

Edward Fell Bond (b. ca. 1775), a native of Harford County, Maryland, traveled extensively through Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Ohio and Indiana territories before settling about 1800 near the Mississippi River in the Cape Girardeau district of what is now Missouri. In 1805 he described himself as a man who had led a “wandering life” but now wanted to become a farmer. Two years later Benjamin Henry Latrobe characterized Bond as “a somewhat violent Man, but intelligent & honorable” (Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 13:175–8, 389; Bond to TJ, 17 Oct. 1806 [DLC]; Latrobe, Papers description begins John C. Van Horne and others, eds., The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1984–88, 3 vols. description ends , 2:480, 481n).

doctr John Archer taught medicine, served as a 1797 presidential elector on the Jeffersonian ticket, and was a Maryland member of the United States House of Representatives, 1801–07 (Princetonians description begins James McLachlan and others, eds., Princetonians: A Biographical Dictionary, 1976–90, 5 vols. description ends , 1748–68, pp. 300–2). Samuel smith introduced Bond to TJ in a letter dated 16 June 1807 (DLC). On 2 Jan. 1813 the United States congress acted to augment the American naval fleet by authorizing construction of four 74-gun ships and six 44-gun frigates (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, 1845–67, 8 vols. description ends , 2:789). Latrobe’s 12 Sept. 1812 answer to Bond observed that “whatever the favor of the administration might have done for me in Mr Jefferson’s administration, the case is different now.” Latrobe advised Bond “to strengthen your application by all possible means & as Mr Jefferson introduced you to me, try to get a letter from him to the Secretary at War. It will be very effectual” (MdHi: Latrobe Letterbook). Shadrach Bond was appointed the first congressional delegate to represent the Illinois Territory in 1812, two years after he married Edward F. Bond’s sister Achsah Bond, a distant cousin (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; George L. Johnson and Anna M. Johnson, Scattered Leaves: Genealogy of the Johnson-Bond and Utermoehlen Brederhoeft Families [1973], 12). young archer may have been John Archer’s son Stevenson, a native of Harford County who represented Maryland in the United States House of Representatives, 1811–17 and 1819–21 (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, 1989 description ends ).

1Manuscript: “Leartt.”

2Bond here canceled “supplies.”

3Reworked from “my Heart.”

4Word interlined in place of “Head.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; mentioned search
  • Archer, John search
  • Archer, Stevenson search
  • Bond, Achsah search
  • Bond, Edward Fell; identified search
  • Bond, Edward Fell; letters from search
  • Bond, Edward Fell; seeks appointment search
  • Bond, Shadrach search
  • Burr, Aaron (1756–1836); treason trial of search
  • earthquakes; near New Madrid search
  • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry; and E. F. Bond’s application search
  • Montgomery, John search
  • Navy Department, U.S.; gunboats of search
  • Queenston Heights, Battle of search
  • Smith, Samuel (of Maryland); introduces E. Bond search
  • Washington, George; praised search
  • Wilkinson, James; acquaintances in La. search