Thomas Jefferson Papers

Peter Ludlow and James B. Sheys to Thomas Jefferson, 10 February 1819

From Peter Ludlow and James B. Sheys

New York February 10th 1819—

Highly Esteemed sir,

Having been advised to arrange an unbiassed history of the events which have grown out of the late Seminole War, especially, as relating to the conduct of Genl Jackson we assume the liberty of requesting your Generous aid in an undertaking which we esteem laudable and important—

In calculating the difficulties which might impede our project we were persuaded that no plan could be pursued, preferable to the one proposed—

Your Excellency’s opinions upon the various interesting Questions arising from the recent operations of Genl Jackson—the proceedings of Congress in regard to the same and such other assistance as your Excellency may be pleased to present—will be alike honorable to the Publishers and invaluable to the Readers of the contemplated volume—And indeed sir we cannot conceive of any more useful or pleasing pursuit than that of acquainting our fellow Citizens with the high and disinterested sentiments of him whose time has been spent and whose energies have been employed to atchieve for them that independence of soul and community which is their present glory and their duty to perpetuate—

May we request an early answer from your Excellency to this letter!—if we are presumptuous permit the motive to excuse our offence—

Be pleased Esteemed sir to accept of our sincere wishes for your happiness and the assurance
of our deep Consideration
We are sir Your obt. & humbl. servants
Peter Ludlow jr
James B. Sheys.

Address—Peter Ludlow Junr New-York

RC (DLC); in Ludlow’s hand, signed by Ludlow and Sheys; endorsed by TJ as a letter from Ludlow received 7 Mar. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Martin Baker, 8 Mar. 1819, on verso; addressed by Sheys: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire Monticello State of Virginia”; franked; postmarked New York, 15 Feb.

Peter Ludlow (1797–1837), clergyman, was born in Enfield, Connecticut. In 1815 he attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), where he joined the Cliosophic Society. Forced by illness to leave the school without receiving a degree, Ludlow studied law before finding his calling as a Christian minister. In 1823 he was ordained and installed as pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Providence, Rhode Island. Two years later continued ill health induced Ludlow to relocate his ministry to Georgetown, South Carolina. His tenure there was also brief, chronically weak lungs having rendered him incapable of sustained labor. During the last decade of his life, Ludlow preached intermittently in New York and South Carolina. He died in New York City (Sprague, American Pulpit description begins description ends , 6:727–8; Francis Olcott Allen, ed., The History of Enfield Connecticut [1900], 3:2350; Catalogue of the Cliosophic Society, instituted in the College of New Jersey, 1765 [1840], 15; New York Evening Post, 8 May 1837).

James (Jacobus) Bryant Sheys (1798–1857), attorney and notary, moved while young from Paterson, New Jersey, to New York City, where he published a number of poems. By 1820 he was studying law. Admitted to the bar in 1824, Sheys was active in Tammany Hall, served as a New York City justice during the 1840s, and maintained a private practice in that city until shortly before his death there (William Nelson, History of the Old Dutch Church at Totowa, Paterson New Jersey, 1755–1827 [1892], 111; Charles A. Shriner, History of the Catholic Church of Paterson, N.J. [1883], 20–1; Baltimore American Farmer, 12 May 1820; New York National Advocate, 24 July 1820; Longworth’s New York Directory description begins Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory, New York, 1796–1842 (title varies; cited by year of publication) description ends [1827]: 438; [1832]: 601; The New-York State Register, for the year of our Lord 1830 [1830], 209; DNA: RG 29, CS, N.Y., New York, 1830–50; Washington Globe, 28 Sept. 1832; Journal and Documents of the Board of Assistants, of the city of New-York 16 [1840]: 160; John Doggett, The Great Metropolis: or New York in 1845 [2d ed., 1844], 124; The New-York City Directory, for 1854–1855 [1854], 644; N-Ar: N.Y. state census, New York City, 1855; New York Herald, 6 Mar. 1857).

On the following day Ludlow and Sheys sent nearly identical letters to John Adams (MHi: Adams Papers) and James Madison (Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 1:411–2).

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; opinion of sought search
  • books; on history search
  • Congress, U.S.; and A. Jackson’s W. Fla. campaign search
  • Indians, American; Seminole search
  • Jackson, Andrew; W. Fla. campaign of search
  • Ludlow, Peter; and A. Jackson’s W. Fla. campaign search
  • Ludlow, Peter; identified search
  • Ludlow, Peter; letter from search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); opinion of sought search
  • Seminole Indians search
  • Sheys, James (Jacobus) Bryant; and A. Jackson’s W. Fla. campaign search
  • Sheys, James (Jacobus) Bryant; identified search
  • Sheys, James (Jacobus) Bryant; letter from search
  • West Florida; A. Jackson’s campaign in search