Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Fenner to Thomas Jefferson, 19 October 1819

From James Fenner

Providence Oct. 19th 1819.


The Bearer, Mr Nathaniel Helme, being about to reside in your vicinity as an Instructor, requests of me the favour of a letter to you—

He is a son of James Helme Esq, who is one of the most respectable Citizens of the County of Washington, in this State, one of your ardent political friends, and on one occasion was one of your Electors—

I learn from the Rev President Messer, who is at the head of our University in this Town, that the young gentleman is amiable in disposition studious and diligent in his habits and unblemished in reputation—

Such civilities as may be extended to him, I am confident, may be considered as shewn to a young gentleman of merit—

You will, I hope, pardon the liberty which I have taken, and believe me to be

With the highest regard and consideration Your friend

James Fenner.

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Hon Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 19 Oct. 1820 received 7 Nov. 1820, and so recorded (with additional notation: “by mr Helm”) in SJL.

James Fenner (1771–1846), attorney and public official, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, graduated from Rhode Island College (later Brown University) in 1789, and received an honorary degree from that institution in 1825. Fenner served in the United States Senate, 1805–07, and was governor of Rhode Island, 1807–11, 1824–31, and 1843–45. He was the first president of the Rhode Island Historical Society, president of an 1842 state constitutional convention, and the first governor under the resulting constitution. He died at his home in Providence (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Brown University Catalogue description begins Historical Catalogue of Brown University, 1764–1904, 1905 description ends , 76; TJ to Fenner, 14 Feb. 1807 [NjP: Andre deCoppet Collection]; Newport Mercury, 25 Apr. 1846).

james helme served as an elector for TJ in 1800 and 1804 (Providence Impartial Observer, 10 Nov. 1800; Providence Phœnix, 24 Nov. 1804). our university: Brown University.

Index Entries

  • Fenner, James; identified search
  • Fenner, James; introduces N. Helme search
  • Fenner, James; letter from search
  • Helme, James; as presidential elector search
  • Helme, James; family of search
  • Helme, Nathaniel; introduced to TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Messer, Asa; as president of Brown University search