Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Return J. Meigs, 16 March 1815

To Return J. Meigs

Monticello Mar. 16. 15.

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to mr Meigs, and having recieved a letter from mr Josiah Meigs dated at Washington, and not knowing to what place to address the answer he has taken the liberty of putting it under cover, and of asking the favor of mr Meigs to superscribe the proper direction of place. he salutes him at the same time with great esteem & respect.

RC (Nancy McGlashan, Queens, New York, 1998); dateline at foot of text; addressed: “R. J. Meigs esquire Post master Genl Washington”; franked. Enclosure: TJ to Josiah Meigs, 16 Mar. 1815.

Return Jonathan Meigs (ca. 1765–1825), attorney and public official, was born in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of Return Jonathan Meigs (1740–1823), a prominent Continental army officer and Indian agent, and the nephew of Josiah Meigs. He graduated from Yale College (now University) in 1785 and was admitted to the bar in 1788. In the latter year Meigs moved to Marietta in the Northwest Territory, where he was a postmaster, territorial judge and legislator, and chief justice of the new state of Ohio’s supreme court, 1803–04. After brief stints as a judge in the Louisiana and Michigan territories, he returned to Ohio and served in the United States Senate, 1808–10, and as governor, 1810–14. Meigs was a conservative Republican whose strong support of the War of 1812 helped him to his appointment as United States postmaster general in 1814. He resigned this post in 1823, citing ill health, and retired to Marietta, where he died (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 ; Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College [1885–1912], 4:428–30; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:261, 2:8, 13, 511, 3:343 [9, 12 Feb. 1798, 20 Dec. 1805, 3 Jan. 1806, 17 Mar. 1814, 8 Dec. 1823]; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 37 vols. description ends , 36:470n; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 11, 18 Apr. 1825; tombstone inscription in Mound Cemetery, Marietta).

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