Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Charles Morris, 4 January 1818

To Charles Morris

Monticello Jan. 4. 18.


The bearer hereof, mr Mann Randolph, a midshipman in the navy of the US. proceeding by orders to Boston, where he expects to be under your command, naturally wishes to be favorably presented to your notice. he is a young man of correct conduct, good dispositions, and of estimable character generally. he is a nephew of Colo Randolph my son in law, whom you saw here, and a somewhat1 more distant relation of mine. our family therefore feels anxiety for his success in the career he has adopted, as we also do that his conduct may merit it: and we avail ourselves of the advantage of our short acquaintance with you while we had the pleasure of possessing you here to assure you that any friendly attentions of which you may think him worthy will be gratefully acknoleged by us all, and especially by Sir

Your most obedt servt

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; at foot of text: “Commodore Morris”; endorsed by TJ.

Charles Morris (1784–1856), naval officer, was a native of Woodstock, Connecticut. He entered the United States Navy in 1799 as a midshipman and, after a successful tour of duty in the Mediterranean, was promoted to lieutenant in 1807. During the War of 1812 Morris distinguished himself as a junior officer on board the USS Constitution and was elevated to captain in 1813. Following the conflict he continued to serve the navy in various capacities on land and sea. Morris commanded the naval installation at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1817–23, was a member of the Board of Navy Commissioners, 1823–27 and 1832–41, transported Lafayette back to France in 1825–26, and oversaw the Boston naval yard, 1827–32. He headed the navy’s Bureau of Construction, 1844–47, and the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, 1851–56. At the time of his death in Washington, D.C., Morris was the “senior retained officer of the United States Navy” (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 ; James R. Soley, ed., The Autobiography of Commodore Charles Morris [1880]; Callahan, U.S. Navy description begins Edward W. Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900, 1901, repr. 1969 description ends , 2, 4–5, 392; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:47, 327, 333 [7, 8 Jan. 1807, 24 Feb., 3 Mar. 1813]; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 28 Jan. 1856).

1Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction from search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Morris, Charles search
  • Morris, Charles; identified search
  • Morris, Charles; letter to search
  • Morris, Charles; T. M. Randolph (1798–1835) introduced to search
  • Morris, Charles; visits Monticello search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); family of search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1798–1835) (son of TJ’s cousin Thomas Eston Randolph); introduced by TJ search