Thomas Jefferson Papers

Mary B. Briggs to Thomas Jefferson, 7 March 1816

From Mary B. Briggs

Wilmington Del: 3rd moth 7th 1816

Although personally unacquainted,—I have, from my infancy, been taught to love and revere Thomas Jefferson!—those sentiments were early implanted in my mind by, my father, who ever felt for him the most high respect and affectionate esteem—and now—when I hear, from that beloved & excellent father, of the renewed instances of the generous goodness, we have admired—and when every grateful feeling is excited to enthusiasm in my mind—I cannot deny myself the pleasure of offering, with my father’s; my thanks;—Wilt, thou accept, dear, kind, friend, the artless but sincere offering of one who knows herself capable of feeling—but regrets her total inability to make thee sensible of the fervor of those feelings by any expressions—the simple assurance of my grateful sense of obligation is all I can offer—may this be accepted?—“Had it not been for his kindness” says my father, in his letter “I could not have sent Anna & Mary to weston School”—I feel the obligation particularly—oh! that I could suitably acknowledge it; but now let me again assure thee, on the behalf of a large family and myself, that if our prayers to Him who is able to bestow every blessing on the deserving, and which will be prefered in the sincerity of our hearts, if they are heard and granted—the happiness of Thomas Jefferson will be so great in this life as to be capable of little addition in that which is to come.

I would ask thee to excuse my freedom of style—but that I believe one, more studied, would be less acceptable—I know that freedom & friendship are synonymous, and where I feel the latter I cannot divest myself of the former.—

With sentiments of the most respectful esteem and high consideration,—I shall ever be thy friend

Mary B Briggs

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 9 Apr. 1816 and so recorded in SJL.

Mary Brooke Briggs (Brooke) (1798–1875), the second child of Isaac Briggs and Hannah Brooke, married her cousin Richard Brooke in 1824. The couple settled at Falling Green, a Brooke family plantation in Sandy Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland (Anna Briggs Bentley, American Grit: A Woman’s Letters from the Ohio Frontier, ed. Emily Foster [2002], 6, 16, 315; MdU: Brooke Family Papers).

anna Briggs Bentley was the eldest of the Briggs children (Bentley, American Grit). Westtown (weston) School was established in 1799 as a boarding school for Quaker boys and girls. It is located in West Chester, Pennsylvania (Watson W. Dewees and Sarah B. Dewees, Centennial History of Westtown Boarding School, 1799–1899 [1899]).

Index Entries

  • Bentley, Anna Briggs; education of search
  • Briggs, Isaac; family of search
  • Briggs, Mary Brooke; family of search
  • Briggs, Mary Brooke; identified search
  • Briggs, Mary Brooke; letter from search
  • Briggs, Mary Brooke; praises TJ search
  • education; coeducational search
  • Quakers; schools of search
  • schools and colleges; Westtown School (West Chester, Pa.) search
  • Westtown School (West Chester, Pa.); coeducational Quaker institution search
  • women; letters from; M. B. Briggs search