Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Sampson to Thomas Jefferson, 10 June 1819

From William Sampson

New York June 10th 1819

Dear Sir

By the mail of this day I take the liberty of sending you a copy of “an essay on the necessity of improving our national forces.” This work is from the pen of the son of my brave and distinguished friend Theobald Wolfe Tone, who fought, and when fighting could no longer avail, died for his Country. His son inherits his virtues and with them the affections of his father’s friends. After his fathers death he was adopted by the French nation and educated as a child of the public. After finishing his education at the Military school he entered the army where he served from 1810 to 1815, and left it with the most honorable testimonials of his Courage and fidelity. after receiving a number of wounds and being left lifeless on the field of battle at Leipswick and other causualties attending a military carreer, he resigned his Commission on the overthrow of Napoleon and came to identify himself with freedom in this Republic. He has been three years studying its laws and Constitution with me, and has given me proofs that he has a mind suited to the acquirement of any knowledge that is not inconsistent with a liberal and enlarged way of thinking, but more especially fitted for the duties of his former profession. He has a clear head and quick apprehension of whatever engages his attention and being expert at matters of detail as well as capable of extensive views I have long wished that he was known to those who could appreciate him and employed where he Could be most useful. Mr Calhoun has been informed by better authority than mine of his talen[ts] and has expressed a desire to place him in his department on the first vacancy. He is too modest to obtrude himself and stands in need of encouragement to do himself justice. It was therefore that at his request I have the honor of presenting his work to you and on my own behalf I beg leave to recommend him to your favor. Please Sir to receive our joint assurance of every sentiment of esteem and attachment due to your person and your name

William Sampson

RC (MHi); edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ as received 17 June 1819 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Brown (1757–1837), 3 Nov. 1820, on verso; addressed: “Mr Jefferson Monticello”; franked; inconsistently postmarked New York, 9 June.

William Theobald Wolfe Tone (1791–1828), soldier and author, was born in Dublin, the son of the Irish nationalist Theobald Wolfe Tone. In 1795 the Tone family traveled to the United States, and though the father only stayed a few months, the younger Tone and his mother remained until 1798, when they rejoined him in Europe. Later that year Tone’s father committed suicide in a Dublin prison the day before his scheduled execution, having been captured as a member of the French army during the Irish rebellion. Tone lived with his mother in France, where he was educated in a military academy and became a naturalized citizen. He fought in Napoleon’s army as a lieutenant and aide-de-camp, resigning in 1815 after the second restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Tone then moved to Georgetown, D.C. He studied law under William Sampson in New York City and married his daughter in 1825. Tone rose from second to first lieutenant of artillery in the United States Army, 1820–26. His publications include an Essay on the Necessity of Improving Our National Forces (New York, 1819; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 11 [no. 689]), School of Cavalry; or, System of Organisation, Instruction, and Manœuvres, Proposed for the Cavalry of the United States (Georgetown, 1824), and a two-volume Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone (Washington, 1826). Tone died in Georgetown (ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends , 54:957–65; autobiographical appendix in Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone, 2:542–674; Calhoun, Papers description begins description ends , 3:450, 4:483, 503; Heitman, U.S. Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1903, repr. 1994, 2 vols. description ends , 1:965; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 21 Sept. 1825, 11 Oct. 1828).

Napoleon’s army was defeated at the Battle of Leipzig (leipswick), 16–19 Oct. 1813.

Index Entries

  • Calhoun, John Caldwell; as secretary of war search
  • Essay on the Necessity of Improving Our National Forces (W. T. W. Tone) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books and Library; works sent to search
  • Leipzig, Battle of (Battle of the Nations) (1813) search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; abdicates search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; armies of search
  • Sampson, William; andEssay on the Necessity of Improving Our National Forces (W. T. W. Tone) search
  • Sampson, William; letters from search
  • Tone, Theobald Wolfe search
  • Tone, William Theobald Wolfe; Essay on the Necessity of Improving Our National Forces search
  • Tone, William Theobald Wolfe; identified search
  • Tone, William Theobald Wolfe; W. Sampson recommends search