Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Monroe to Thomas Jefferson, 21 December 1818

From James Monroe

washington Decr 21. 1818

Dear Sir.

General King of the District of maine [mass:] expressing a desire of being known to you personally, & his intention, to make you a visit, I take much interest in forwarding his views, by giving him this introduction. His uniform support of the republican cause, & useful services, in the late war, are I presume known to you. I hear with great pleasure that your health is completely restord. with best wishes for its continuance, I am

Dear Sir very respectfully your friend & servant

James Monroe

RC (DLC); brackets in original; endorsed by TJ as received 30 Dec. 1818 and so recorded (with additional bracketed notation: “Genl King”) in SJL.

William King (1768–1852), merchant and public official, was born in Scarborough, Massachusetts (later Maine). He was educated at home, attended one term at Phillips Academy in Andover, and worked in sawmills beginning at age thirteen. In 1791 King formed a mercantile partnership with his brother-in-law in Topsham, Massachusetts (later Maine), eventually moving in 1800 to nearby Bath, where he prospered as a merchant and shipowner. His long political career included service in the Massachusetts General Court representing Topsham, 1795 and 1799, and Bath, 1804–06, and as a state senator for Lincoln County, 1807–11 and 1818–19. King became a major general of militia in 1808 and called out his forces when the British occupied eastern Maine during the War of 1812. After Massachusetts failed to assist in defending Maine during the war, King became a leader of the movement to make it a separate state. When statehood was achieved in 1820 he was elected Maine’s first governor. In 1821 King resigned the governorship to become a commissioner settling claims under the Adams-Onís Treaty and served in this capacity for three years. He was federal customs collector at Bath, 1830–34. King began his political career as a Federalist, became a Republican in 1803, and ran again for governor, unsuccessfully, in 1835 as a Whig. He visited TJ at Monticello in December 1818. King’s financial fortunes declined later in life, and he died in poverty in Bath (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 ; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 4:45, 81–2, 376 [14 Jan., 25 Mar. 1830, 22 Mar. 1834]; Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, 23 June 1852; gravestone inscription in Maple Grove Cemetery, Bath).

On this date Monroe wrote a similar letter introducing King to James Madison (Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 1:396).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • King, William (of Maine); identified search
  • King, William (of Maine); introduced to TJ search
  • Monroe, James; introduces W. King search
  • Monroe, James; letters from search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; King, William (of Maine) search