Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 30 October 1817

To James Monroe

Monticello Oct. 30. 17.

Dear Sir

There will be some cases wherein it will be out of my power to refuse my testimony of worth to applicants for appointment, who may request me to say to you what I know of them. to these solicitations however I shall never yield, nor become troublesome to you but where the claims on me are peculiar. I do not know whether you were acquainted with George Stevenson while he pursued in our neighborhood his course of education with his father in law the late inestimable Peter Carr. in that situation I knew him intimately as a youth of fine genius and of a generous & elevated character. he left us to try his fortune in mercantile pursuits in Baltimore under the patronage of his uncles the mr Smiths & mr Holland and of mr Buchanan. he failed; but came pure out of the trial, with the increased confidence & attachment of the mercantile body. he proposes now to establish himself at the Havana, & will carry with him the unlimited confidence of the commercial community as well as the warmest wishes of his strong political connexions, himself having been, in the worst of times, one of the most decided republicans. the appointment of Commercial agent at the Havanna would start him on high & hopeful ground, and that he would discharge the duties of the appointment with zeal & ability his sound understanding & the integrity of his former life are pledges. these are the truths which I have to testify, and I am sure you will do on them what is most for the public good, and with the more pleasure if, in doing that, it enables you to rehabilitate unsuccesful worth. I salute you with constant affection & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NN: Thomas Jefferson Papers); at foot of text: “the President of the US.” PoC (DLC); on verso of portion of reused note, possibly related to Joseph Milligan, reading in an unidentified hand: “Bal 1 Hot pressed”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosed in TJ to George P. Stevenson, 30 Oct. 1817.

Stevenson’s uncles included the Baltimore merchants Samuel Smith and William S. Hollins (holland) (Jerome R. Garitee, The Republic’s Private Navy: The American Privateering Business as practiced by Baltimore during the War of 1812 [1977], 39).

Index Entries

  • Buchanan, James A.; family of search
  • Carr, Peter (1770–1815) (TJ’s nephew); family of search
  • Havana; commercial agent at search
  • Hollins, William S.; family of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • Monroe, James; and appointments search
  • Monroe, James; letters to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • Smith, Samuel (of Maryland); family of search
  • Stevenson, George Pitt; bankruptcy of search
  • Stevenson, George Pitt; family of search
  • Stevenson, George Pitt; merchant search
  • Stevenson, George Pitt; seeks appointment search