Thomas Jefferson Papers

John T. Mason (1765–1824) to Thomas Jefferson, 5 May 1814

From John T. Mason

Montpelier 5th May 1814

Dear Sir

My old friend Doc. Wallace has just paid us a kind visit. The picture that he has presented to Mrs Mason & my self of the happiness you enjoy in your retirement from public life, is to us both, very pleasing & interesting. But when he described your efforts to make our Country more independent by promoting domestic manufactures we were gratified to find that what we were pursuing with industry and persevereance had been by you deemed an object worthy of your attention. When we retired from Geo. Town to St Marys County in 1805 we found ourselves in a Country where the materials for manufactures were unattainable. But when in May 1808 we crossed the Mountains and reached this place, the first thing we did was formally to declare War against Europe, by refusing to buy her merchandize, except such articles as ladies cannot well do without, and as cannot be made in private families. We have ever since adhered and still do adhere to this determination. Since that time we have not bought a Carpet, Blanket, Sheet or any other species of house linnen coarse or fine, we make our own stockings, cloths coarse and fine and indeed almost every thing else. To shew you the Style in which we conduct our Warfare, but more particularly to evince her respectful and affectionate remembrance of yourself, Mrs Mason has prevailed on Doc. Wallace to be the bearer to you of a Counterpain a table cloth and a napkin made by herself of which she begs your acceptance. I sincerely wish that those who direct and manage the political concerns of our Country had been as much in earnest as we were, and had persevered with as much firmness as we have done, in this mode of Warfare.

Mrs Mason, in wishes for a continuance of your health and happiness, unites with dear Sir your sincere friend and

Huml Servt

John T. Mason

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as a letter from “Mason John Thompson” received 25 June 1814 and so recorded in SJL, which indicates that TJ received it at Warren.

John Thomson Mason (1765–1824), attorney and public official, was a native of Virginia. He practiced law in Georgetown and campaigned for TJ in the elections of 1796 and 1800. Mason ran unsuccessfully for the Maryland House of Delegates in 1800. TJ appointed him United States attorney for the District of Columbia in 1801, and he served in this capacity until 1804, but Mason rebuffed TJ’s attempts to make him the nation’s attorney general in both 1802 and 1805. He served briefly as attorney general of Maryland in 1806, as a state senator by appointment, 1807–08, and as a state delegate, 1813–14. Mason moved in 1805 to Saint Mary’s County, Maryland, and then to Montpelier, his estate in Washington County, Maryland, where he lived from 1808 until his death (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 34 vols. description ends , 32:128–9, 225–6, 33:380; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:402, 405 [6, 26 Jan. 1802]; Mason to TJ, 17 Mar. 1802 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–09], 20 July 1805 [DLC]; TJ to Mason, 12 Aug. 1804 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–09]; Papenfuse, Maryland Public Officials description begins Edward C. Papenfuse and others, eds., An Historical List of Public Officials of Maryland, 1990– , 1 vol. description ends , 1:23, 42, 264; Easton, Md., Eastern Shore General Advertiser, 24 Nov. 1807; Baltimore North American, and Mercantile Daily Advertiser, 15 Nov. 1808; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 18 Dec. 1824).

Index Entries

  • household articles; counterpanes search
  • household articles; napkins search
  • household articles; tablecloths search
  • manufacturing, household; cloth search
  • manufacturing, household; household linen search
  • Mason, Elizabeth Beltzhoover (John T. Mason’s wife); mentioned search
  • Mason, Elizabeth Beltzhoover (John T. Mason’s wife); sends textile samples to TJ search
  • Mason, John Thomson (1765–1824); and domestic manufacturing search
  • Mason, John Thomson (1765–1824); identified search
  • Mason, John Thomson (1765–1824); letters from search
  • textiles; home manufacture of search
  • Wallace, James Westwood; and package for TJ search
  • Wallace, James Westwood; and TJ’s life in retirement search