Thomas Jefferson Papers

John D. Vaughan to Thomas Jefferson, 30 November 1816

From John D. Vaughan

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Nov. 30th 1816.

Honoured Sir

I fear you will think me bold in thus addressing a gentleman who does not know me; and who perhaps has never seen me. But upon your benevolence and your intimacy with my father, *Doctor John Vaughan of Wilmington Delaware I rely. Sir upon this ground I am emboldened to write to you and ask a favour which if granted shall never be forgotten. I wish to enter the Navy and I solicit you Sir to speak to the Secretary thereof in my behalf. I am at present studying medicine1 with an uncle in this place. I have just completed my fifteenth year, am very healthy and I hope I will not be a disgrace to the Navy. I presume there are no persons in this place who have any influance with Government but I have no doubt any of the Gentlemen from Delaware or Peter Little of Baltimore would speak favourably of me. But if you| will be so kind as to speak to the Secretary of the Navy in my behalf and let me know as soon as convenient I shall ever remember you with Gratitude. Believe Honourable Sir that nothing but circumstances under which I labour, your friendship for my father, my ardent desire to enter the Navy and my high opinion of your benevolence could have prevailed upon me to have thus addressed you and ask a favour which I have no just right to expect.

With the most profound sentiments of respect I subscribe2 myself.
Your most obedient Humble Servant

John D. Vaughan

* Who died in 1807.

 A distant relation.

| Under the patronage of a gentleman of your standing I cannot fail.

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 18 Dec. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Barnes, 31 Dec. 1816, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Late President of the United States. Montecello”; franked; postmarked Pittsburgh, 1 Dec.

John Dickinson Vaughan (1800–34), attorney, was a son of John Vaughan, a physician in Wilmington, Delaware. Receiving no military appointment, he returned by 1819 to his hometown, where he married, started a family, and helped organize and administer a local fire company. By 1827 Vaughan had moved to Wayne County, Indiana, and become a lawyer. He passed away in Richmond, Indiana, from an “Inflammation of the Brain, preceded by an attack of Asiatic Cholera” (Gilbert Cope, comp., Genealogy of the Sharpless Family [1887], 622–3; Philadelphia Friends’ Intelligencer, 20 Oct. 1900; J. Thomas Scharf, History of Delaware. 1609–1888 [1888], 1:493, 2:676; Henry Clay Fox, ed., Memoirs of Wayne County and the City of Richmond Indiana [1912], 1:273; Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 5 Sept. 1834).

1Word interlined.

2Manuscript: “subscibe.”

Index Entries

  • Crowninshield, Benjamin Williams; as secretary of the navy search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Little, Peter; and J. D. Vaughan search
  • Navy Department, U.S.; applications to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Vaughan, John (d.1807); physician in Wilmington, Del. search
  • Vaughan, John Dickinson; desires military appointment search
  • Vaughan, John Dickinson; identified search
  • Vaughan, John Dickinson; letter from search