Thomas Jefferson Papers

Spencer Roane to Thomas Jefferson, 1 August 1821

From Spencer Roane

Richmond, Aug. 1st 1821.

Dear Sir.

my young friend and neighbour Mr George W: Bassett, of Hanover, going to the springs, and passing through your neighbourhood, is desirous of being presented to you. I have encouraged this desire in him, and I introduce him to you with pleasure.—The repose which you have so well merited, and which, perhaps, you so much need, must be subject to occasional interruptions. They are the natural consequences resulting from the illustrious part you have acted in life:—and I am sure you will readily excuse the desire, in one of the rising generation. That desire, alone, is no small proof of merit: and I take the liberty to add, that Mr Bassett, though young, is every how respectable.

with the greatest respect & Esteem, I am, Dear sir, your friend & obt Servant,

Spencer Roane

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 19 Sept. 1821 (with bracketed notation: “Geo. W. Bassett”) and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Bernard Peyton, 12 Dec. 1822, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire Monticello” and “favd by Mr Bassett.”

George Washington Bassett (1800–78), attorney and planter, was born at Farmington, his family’s estate in Hanover County, and attended the College of William and Mary, 1818–19. Late in the 1820s he was living in Spotsylvania County at the Landsdowne estate near Fredericksburg and kept a law office at his home, from which he appeared at the courts in the surrounding counties. Bassett and his family returned to Hanover County in 1844 and moved into Clover Lea, a newly completed structure. Bassett chaired the committee that in 1833 supervised the cornerstone laying for an intended monument to Mary Ball Washington in Fredericksburg, and he was a manager of the Fredericksburg Colonization Society. He also helped to strengthen the Episcopal Church in the vicinity of Hanover County. In 1860 Bassett owned real estate and personal property worth nearly $230,000, including 107 slaves. A decade later his property was valued at $7,200. Bassett died at Clover Lea (S. Bassett French Biographical Sketches [Vi: Personal Papers Collection]; Merrow Egerton Sorley, Lewis of Warner Hall: The History of a Family [1935; repr. 1991], 236–47; William and Mary Provisional List description begins A Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and Members of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. From 1693 to 1888, 1941 description ends , 7; Fredericksburg Virginia Herald, 7 Mar. 1829; Richmond Enquirer, 8 May 1829, 20 May 1831, 17 Aug. 1832, 2 Apr. 1833, 8 Aug., 8 Sept. 1848; DNA: RG 29, CS, Spotsylvania Co., 1830, Hanover Co., 1850–70, 1850 and 1860 slave schedules; Washington National Journal, 27 May 1831; Bassett to James Madison, 25 Apr. 1833, and Madison to Bassett, 30 Apr. 1833 [both in DLC: Madison Papers]; African Repository, and Colonial Journal 11 [1835]: 184; Calder Loth, ed., The Virginia Landmarks Register [1999], 216; gravestone inscription in Immanuel Episcopal Church Cemetery, Hanover Co.).

Index Entries

  • Bassett, George Washington; identified search
  • Bassett, George Washington; introduced to TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Roane, Spencer; introduces G. W. Bassett search
  • Roane, Spencer; letters from search