Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Charles Jarvis to Thomas Jefferson, 8 September 1820

From William Charles Jarvis

Pittsfield September. 8. 1820

Hond Sir

I take the liberty of transmitting to you a copy of a book, which has employed a few of my leisure hours, and I beg you to do me the honour to accept it. I do not however present it to you, under a beleif that it is worthy of your perusal; I merely offer it as a testimony1 of that respect & esteem which I have invariably entertained for your private & public character. Should, however, the sentiments & veiws developed by it, be in any measure worthy of your approbation it will be the greatest satisfaction to me.—

As I am altogather unknown to you you will permit me to remark, that I am the nephew of the late Doctor Charles Jarvis of Boston, in which place I formerly resided. You will allow me to add my fervent wishes, that the evening of your days may be as serene & happy as the most enlightened phylosophy, & the gratitude of a nation, can render it=

I am

With the highest respect Your very Obt Sert

William, Charles. Jarvis

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 24 Sept. 1820 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Theodorus Bailey, 9 Sept. 1821, on verso; addressed: “Honl Thomas Jefferson Montecello Verginia”; franked; postmarked Pittsfield, Mass., 9 Sept. Enclosure: Jarvis, The Republican; or, A Series of Essays on the Principles and Policy of Free States. having a particular reference to the United States of America and the Individual States (Pittsfield, 1820; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 11 [no. 653]).

William Charles Jarvis (1782–1836), attorney and public official, was born in Boston. Having been trained in the law, he received an honorary master’s degree from Williams College in 1811 and settled in Pittsfield by the following year. Jarvis established a legal practice there, served as secretary of the Berkshire Agricultural Society, was a founder and director of the Pittsfield Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in 1822. A member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1821–25, 1826–28, and 1830–31, he was its Speaker for four terms, 1823–25 and 1826–28. After moving back to the Boston area in 1825, Jarvis was a director of the state penitentiary, a state senator in 1828–29 and, briefly, a federal customs inspector before his removal from office early in Andrew Jackson’s presidency. Apparently upset at being defrauded of some property, he killed himself with a pistol in Weathersfield, Vermont. Jarvis left real estate and personal property worth $1,786 (General Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Williams College [1920], 185; Pittsfield Sun, 20 June 1812; Pittsfield Sun, 3 Aug. 1815, 17 Mar., 5 May 1819, 8 May 1822, 18 Sept. 1828, 3 Dec. 1829; Resolves of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [Boston, 1824], 339, 501; Henry D. Coolidge and James W. Kimball, A Manual for the Use of the General Court for 1921 [1921], 260; Independent Chronicle & Boston Patriot, 30 Oct. 1822, 7 May 1825; Worcester National Ægis, 4 Jan. 1826; Salem Gazette, 24 June 1828; Jackson, Papers description begins Sam B. Smith, Harold D. Moser, Daniel Feller, and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 1980– , 10 vols. description ends , 7:552–6; Lenox Berkshire Journal, 13 May 1830; DNA: RG 29, CS, Mass., Woburn, 1830; New-Bedford Mercury, 14 Oct. 1836; gravestone inscription in Weathersfield Bow Cemetery; Middlesex Co., Mass., Probate Court Records, case no. 12515).

Jarvis also sent the enclosed book to John Adams with a brief 17 Feb. 1821 covering letter (MHi: Adams Papers).

1Manuscript: “testmony.”

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  • Adams, John; works sent to search
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  • Jarvis, William Charles; The Republican; or, A Series of Essays on the Principles and Policy of Free States search
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  • The Republican; or, A Series of Essays on the Principles and Policy of Free States (W. C. Jarvis) search