Thomas Jefferson Papers

Henry Clay to Thomas Jefferson, 26 February 1820

From Henry Clay

Washington 26 Feb. 1820.

Dr sir

Mr. Horace Gray of Boston, who will present you this letter, is making a tour of the Southern States, and is desirous of visiting that spot which to the stranger, the curious and the philosopher is the most attractive in Virginia, in order that he may present in person his respects to you. May I ask the favor of your kind reception of him? He is the son of Mr. Gray of Boston so well known every where for his merits and enterprize.

With the strongest wishes for your health & prosperity

I am Cordially & faithfully Your obedient servant

H. Clay

RC (NNPM); endorsed by TJ as received 5 Mar. 1820 “by mr Gray” and so recorded (with the addition of Gray’s first name) in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to William F. Gray, 23 Mar. 1820, on verso; addressed: “Tho. Jefferson Esqr Monticello” to be delivered by “Mr. Gray.”

Horace Gray (1800–73), merchant, was the son of William Gray, a prominent Massachusetts merchant and public official, and the brother of Francis C. Gray and William R. Gray, the former of whom visited TJ in 1815. Gray was born in Medford, Massachusetts, and lived in Salem until the family settled in Boston in 1809. He graduated from Harvard University in 1819, joined his father’s mercantile firm, and began a long career as a merchant, ultimately operating under the name of Horace Gray & Company. In 1837 Gray headed a list of proprietors of what would become the Boston Public Garden, and he was a primary supporter of the garden until he suffered financial reverses in 1847. That same year he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Gray died in Boston (William P. Marchione, Boston Miscellany: An Essential History of the Hub [2008], 70–4; Edward Gray, “William Gray of Lynn, Massachusetts, and Some of His Descendants,” Essex Institute, Historical Collections 52 [1916]: 119–21, 128–9; Harvard Catalogue description begins Harvard University Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates, 1636–1925, 1925 description ends , 195; American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Book of Members, 1780–2005 [2006], 162; DNA: RG 29, CS, Mass., Boston, 1840–60; Boston Daily Globe, 1 Aug. 1873; Boston Post, 1 Aug. 1873; gravestone inscription in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Mass.).

Index Entries

  • Clay, Henry; introduces H. Gray to TJ search
  • Clay, Henry; letters from search
  • Gray, Horace; identified search
  • Gray, Horace; introduced to TJ search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Gray, Horace search