Thomas Jefferson Papers

Robert Brent to Thomas Jefferson, 18 August 1815

From Robert Brent

City of Washington Aug. 18th 1815

Dear Sir

Mr Wm P Rathborne of New York being on a Journey which will take him thro Charlotteville, most probably, is desirous, when in your neighbourhood of paying his respects to you—Being however a Stranger to you personally, I have ventured upon the liberty of giving him this letter of Introduction which I certainly would not presume to do were I not well acquanted with his Character & merit—which entitles him to confidence & respect. he takes with him on his tour his amiable Lady.

I have the honor to be

With every Sentiment of respect & Esteem Dear Sir your Obt Ser

Robert Brent

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 3 Oct. 1815 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Glendy, 22 Oct. 1815, on verso; addressed: “The Honble Thomas Jefferson Esq Monticello Virga” by “Wm P Rathborne Esq.”

William P. Rathbone (1784–1862), businessman, was a New York City merchant at the time of this letter. He was the United States Army paymaster in the New York District, 1814–15; an active member of New York’s Republican Party; a federal contractor supplying rations for American troops in Ohio and at various posts throughout the northern territories; a New York City alderman, 1825–26; and a member of its Board of Health in 1826. Rathbone later moved to New Jersey, representing that state at the Democratic Party’s national convention in 1835 and serving as a judge of the court of common pleas for Bergen County in 1838. By 1842 he had purchased land along Burning Springs Run, near Parkersburg, Virginia (later West Virginia), on which he successfully drilled an oil well in 1860 (Longworth’s New York Directory description begins Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory, New York, 1796–1842 (title varies; cited by year of publication) description ends [1814]: 261; [1816]: 358; Heitman, U.S. Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 1:817; New York Columbian, 21 Feb. 1814; New York National Advocate, 6 Apr. 1816; Letter from the Secretary of War, transmitting statements of contracts made in the year 1817 [Washington, 1818]; David T. Valentine, Manual of the Corporation of the City of New-York for 1852 [1852], 190; Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York 1784–1831 [1917], 15:612; Baltimore Niles’ Weekly Register, 30 May 1835; James M. Van Valen, History of Bergen County New Jersey [1900], 45; John T. Harris, ed., West Virginia Legislative Hand Book and Manual and Official Register [1917], 590–1; “An Act for the relief of the heirs of William P. Rathbone, deceased,” 3 Feb. 1863, in Acts of the General Assembly, of the State of Virginia [Wheeling, 1863], 44–7; gravestone inscription in Riverview Cemetery, Parkersburg, W.Va.).

Index Entries

  • Brent, Robert; introduces W. P. Rathbone to TJ search
  • Brent, Robert; letters from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Rathbone, Martha M. V. and William P. search
  • Rathbone, Martha M. V. (William P. Rathbone’s wife); visits Monticello search
  • Rathbone, William P.; identified search
  • Rathbone, William P.; visits Monticello search