Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Leander Cathcart, 10 September 1821

To James Leander Cathcart

Monticello Sep. 10. 21.

Dear Sir

On my return after an absence of some weeks from home, I find here your favor of Aug. 27. and learn from it, with great1 regret, the difficulties of your present situation. I can say with truth, and justice therefore requires me to say,2 that I considered your administration of our affairs, while Consul on the Barbary coast, as one of the most rigorous integrity; and that too in a situation wherein you might have appropriated what part you pleased of the funds confided to you, without the possibility of detection. it is such a comfort to the government to know where they may3 find an honest man to execute trusts for the public, that I was much pleased, after I left Washington, to hear that you were continued in the public service; and I am sorry that this has proved so little advantageous to you. I trust you will not be long left in your present situation. the applications for office are very numerous, & press hardly on those who have the disposal of them. but there cannot fail to arise4 occasions whereon they will5 be glad to avail the public of your integrity and experience in business. and that this may come in time to relieve your wants I sincerely wish with assurances of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DNA: RG 45, MLRSN); addressed (stained): “James L[ea]nder Cathcart esq. Washington”; franked; postmarked Charlottesville, 13 Sept. Dft (DLC); on verso of portion of a reused address cover from William J. Coffee to TJ. Tr (THer); in Cathcart’s hand; edge trimmed; docket by Cathcart reading, in part: “The original of those letters are in the public offices & can be procured if required.” Tr (MHi: Adams Papers): in Cathcart’s hand; at head of text: “Copy.” Tr (DLC: Madison Papers); in Cathcart’s hand; at head of text: “Copy.” Tr (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1817–25); in an unidentified hand; at head of text: “(Copy).” Tr (DNA: RG 107, ARACCA); in same unidentified hand; on verso of Tr of TJ to Abraham Baldwin, 10 Feb. 1802 (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, James P. McClure, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 44 vols. description ends , 36:557); at head of text: “Copy.” Tr (MiEM: Charles William Cathcart Papers); in same unidentified hand.

1Word not in DNA and MiEM Trs.

2Preceding seven words interlined in Dft, with “I should” in place of “me to.”

3Instead of preceding two words, THer and DNA Trs read “to.”

4THer Tr: “arrive.”

5DNA and MiEM Trs: “would.”

Index Entries

  • Cathcart, James Leander; letter to search
  • Cathcart, James Leander; seeks position search
  • Cathcart, James Leander; TJ on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; J. L. Cathcart search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search