Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Daniel D. Tompkins, 18 May 1814

To Daniel D. Tompkins

Monticello May 18. 14.


Altho’ I have not had the honor of a personal acquaintance with you, yet our respective public duties have heretofore produced an intercourse of letters which rendering us not entire strangers furnish the grounds of addressing this letter to you. it will be handed by mr Rives, a young gentleman of this state, an eleve of mine in the law, of great abilities, learning and worth, and one who will undoubtedly in the fulness of time become one of the prominent characters of our Union. before entering on the stage of public life, he wishes to see more of our country at large, and proposes to take New York in his course. I take the liberty of presenting him to your attentions, which cannot be bestowed on a more worthy subject; which I do the more willingly, as it furnishes me the occasion of assuring you of the high estimation in which I hold your character and public services and of repeating former assurances of my great esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: William C. Rives Papers); at foot of text: “H. E. Governor Tompkins.” PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ. Recorded in SJL as a letter to be delivered “by mr Rives.”

Daniel D. Tompkins (1774–1825), attorney and public official, was a native of Westchester County, New York. He graduated from Columbia College (later Columbia University) in 1795 and was admitted to the New York bar two years later. Tompkins soon embarked on a political career as a Jeffersonian Republican. He served in New York State constitutional conventions in 1801 and 1821, sat in the lower house of the state legislature in 1803, and was appointed to the New York Supreme Court the following year. Tompkins was governor of New York, 1807–17, strongly supporting the Embargo of 1807 and the War of 1812, and vice president under James Monroe, 1817–25. At his request the New York legislature passed a law in 1817 that abolished slavery in the state effective ten years later. Tompkins’s final years were strained by political and financial complications resulting from his wartime management of state finances. He died on Staten Island (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 ; Hugh Hastings, ed., Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, 3 vols. [1898–1902]; TJ to Tompkins, 10 Dec. 1807 [DLC]; New-York Evening Post, 13 June 1825).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • Rives, William Cabell; introduced by TJ search
  • Tompkins, Daniel D.; identified search
  • Tompkins, Daniel D.; letters to search
  • Tompkins, Daniel D.; TJ introduces W. C. Rives to search