Thomas Jefferson Papers

Ambrose Spencer to Thomas Jefferson, 2 December 1816

From Ambrose Spencer

Albany Decr 2d 1816


This will be delivered to you by Doct Stewart of this City; he has requested of me, an introduction to you & I have presumed on the small acquaintance I had the honor to form with you twelve years ago, to comply with this request.

Doct Stewart is a gentleman of respectable standing & acquirements, & any acts of civility you may shew him will be thankfully & gratefully received.

I cannot close this letter without expressing to you my ardent prayer for your continued health & happiness—
with high respect & esteem Your Obdt servt

A. Spencer

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 24 Dec. 1816 and so recorded in SJL, which has the additional notation that it was delivered “by Dr J. Bradner Stuart of N. York.” RC (ViU: TJP); address cover only; with last page of Dft of TJ’s Notes on the Rent Claims of the Heirs of Bennett Henderson, [by 30 Dec. 1816], on verso; addressed: “Hon. Thomas Jefferson” by “Doct Stewart.”

Ambrose Spencer (1765–1848), public official and judge, was born in Salisbury, Connecticut, studied at Yale, and graduated from Harvard University in 1783. He relocated to the state of New York, read law, and was admitted to the bar five years later. Spencer served in the New York State Assembly, 1794, and the State Senate, 1796–1802. He switched from the Federalist to the Republican party in 1798 and became a political ally and, later, brother-in-law of DeWitt Clinton. A powerful force in New York politics for many years, Spencer was the state’s attorney general, 1802–04, and he sat on its supreme court, 1804–23, the last four years as chief justice. Though his influence waned thereafter, he was mayor of Albany, 1824–25, a member of the United States House of Representatives, 1829–31, and the president of the Whig national convention in 1844. Spencer moved in 1839 to Lyons, New York, 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 ; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 39 vols. description ends , 38:501–2; Harvard Catalogue description begins Harvard University Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates, 1636–1925, 1925 description ends , 173; Franklin B. Hough, The New-York Civil List [1858], 90, 116–8, 168; Albany Gazette, 4 Feb. 1802, 6 Feb. 1804; Albany Argus, 12 Feb. 1819; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 2 May 1844; New York Herald, 15 Mar. 1848).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Stuart, Josephus B. search
  • Spencer, Ambrose; identified search
  • Spencer, Ambrose; introduces J. B. Stuart to TJ search
  • Spencer, Ambrose; letter from search
  • Stuart, Josephus Bradner; delivers letters search
  • Stuart, Josephus Bradner; introduced to TJ search
  • Stuart, Josephus Bradner; visits Monticello search