Thomas Jefferson Papers

Edward Bolling to Thomas Jefferson, 29 March 1813

From Edward Bolling

Buckingham March 29th 1813

Hond Sir

This letter will be handed you by Mr Thos Roberts, who is anxious to obtain a commision in any of the military establishments now organizing, and in order to attain his wish, has solicited me to address you uppon that subject, and give you my opinion Respecting his qualifications &.c.  

I shou’d be false to true friendship, was I to neglect him, where there was the smalest probability1 of my Rendering him a service. I have had the pleasure of being acquainted with this Gent. several years, and it gives me great satisfaction, to find its in my power, to say he wants nothing but experience, (which can be acquired only by practice) to make him fully competent, to any commision his government may think proper to bestow upon him, or in other words any that he wou’d accept conscious as I am, that he wou,d receive no appointment, he thought himself incapable of conducting with the utmost propriety. Shou,d you think it expedient, to favor him with a letter of recommendation to the Honourable Secretary of war, I am convinced his friends, nor his government, will never have cause to complain, therefore in expectation of your assistance I remain with high consideration & respect

Yor Mot obt & very humble Servt

Edwd Bolling

RC (MHi); between dateline and salutation: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Apr. 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

Edward Bolling (1772–1835) was the son of John Bolling and TJ’s sister Mary Jefferson Bolling. In 1800 he inherited property in his native Goochland County from his father. Bolling owned twenty-three slaves there a decade later. He subsequently moved to Buckingham County, and the 1820 census for that county credited him with the possession of eight slaves. In his capacity as executor of his father’s estate, Bolling was a longtime debtor to TJ (“Register of St. James Northan Parish, Goochland County,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 1st ser., 15 [1906]: 119; Chesterfield Co. Will Book, 5:291–3; DNA: RG 29, CS, Goochland Co., 1810, Buckingham Co., 1820; TJ to James Lyle, 24 June 1811; Tarlton Saunders to TJ, 9 Apr. 1821; Louise Pecquet du Bellet, Some Prominent Virginia Families [1907], 309–10, 320; Wyndham Robertson and Robert A. Brock, Pocahontas, Alias Matoaka, And Her Descendants [1887], 35, 42).

1Manuscript: “brobability.”

Index Entries

  • Bolling, Edward; identified search
  • Bolling, Edward; letters from search
  • Bolling, Edward; recommends T. Roberts to TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Roberts, Thomas (of Virginia); seeks military appointment search