Thomas Jefferson Papers

Micajah Davis to Thomas Jefferson, 3 September 1816

From Micajah Davis

Elysian Fields Miss. Ter. 3rd Sep. 1816

Honored sir

Often times hath the Record of the public expression of your praise met Mine eyes and as often hath a feeling involuntarily pervaded my Mind which testified to the justice of the merited Sentiment & rare it is that an occasion occurs that a grateful country does not pay you that tribute so justly due is it possible that a human being Can possess a more Soothing Reward of Recompense. is it not the beginning of your Heaven whilst you are yet on earth the foretaste of things which are to come

Many of those who have held the reins of Government in their hands have outshone you in pomp & Splendor & the abundant means placed in their hands have secured to them their flatterers but where is the crowned head that can recline upon So downy a pillow as yours, These few Sentiments are Solemn & Serious, the offspring of impressions repeatedly made on my mind I am very well aware how far you are above any thing in the Stile of flattery & too well know how far it is out of my power were I vain enough to attempt it all that I have in view is to afford you the addetion of one more testimony of approbation & myself the honor of Rendering it to the man who in my judgment has always deserved it in the first degree

Very Respectfully your devoted friend

Micajah Davis

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 5 Oct. 1816 and so recorded in SJL, where TJ mistakenly entered it as a letter of 24 Sept. 1816. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Wayles Eppes, 24 Jan. 1817, on verso; addressed: “Mr. Thomas Jefferson Monticello Va.” by “mail”; franked; postmarked “Elysian Fields, M.T.,” 3 Sept.

Micajah Davis (ca. 1753–1821), merchant, was a Virginia native who lived in Louisa and Hanover counties as a young man. In 1782 he relocated with his wife and growing family to Campbell County, where he operated a store and mill. Davis represented Virginia at a national convention of abolition societies in Philadelphia in 1796. Having returned to the Richmond area by 1799, he continued his mercantile business and served as a penitentiary inspector, 1801–03. In 1805 Davis was expelled from the Society of Friends for allowing his eldest daughter to marry outside the Quaker faith. Within two years he had migrated to the Mississippi Territory, where he served in the territorial legislature, 1807–10, became chief justice of Amite County in 1809, and was a deputy postmaster eight years later (National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Patriot Index [2003], 1:709; William Wade Hinshaw and others, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy [1936–50; repr. 1969–77], 6:171, 240, 306–7; Ruth H. Early, Campbell Chronicles and Family Sketches Embracing the History of Campbell County, Virginia, 1782–1926 [1927], 53, 89–90; Minutes of the Proceedings of the Third Convention of Delegates from the Abolition Societies Established in different Parts of the United States, assembled at Philadelphia [Philadelphia, 1796], 4; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , 9:295, 297, 373; Richmond Enquirer, 2 June 1804; Missisippi Herald & Natchez Gazette, 8 Sept., 21 Oct. 1807; Dunbar Rowland, ed., Mississippi [1907], 1:80, 111; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 6:33–4, 152; A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the thirtieth day of September, 1817 [Washington City, 1818], 22; Natchez Mississippi State Gazette, 6 Feb. 1819).

Index Entries

  • Davis, Micajah; commends TJ search
  • Davis, Micajah; identified search
  • Davis, Micajah; letter from search