Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Munroe to Thomas Jefferson, 20 December 1821

From Thomas Munroe

Washington 20th December 1821


My Son (Thomas)1 now in the 24th year of his age, who was educated at Yale College, and has since studied law, having always evinced, and still continuing to have so decided a preference of the military profession to all others, that his mother and myself have yielded to his wishes, and he will shortly proceed to St Petersburg to offer his services to the Emperor of Russia; with the explicit understanding that his object is to obtain a military education, at his own expense, that he may be useful to his own Country, to which he is to remain at liberty to return at pleasure, unrestrained by any allegiance or obligation except an Oath of fidelity, whilst2 in the Russian service—This Mr Poletica, who has entered warmly into my Sons views, says is all that will be required by his Government.—

The testimonials, and kind interest in favor of my Son by the Executive, mr Adams, mr Pinkney, former3 ministers to Russia, & some other distinguished american4 characters, now at the seat of Government, together with all the foreign ministers and Charge dés affaires, are very flattering, do him much honor, and will, it is believed, put him on a favorable & advantageous footing in a foreign Country; but, we are told by mr Poletica and others, what my Son & self, are well assured of, that nothing would be so useful as something that you, Sir, might be pleased to say of a young American on such an occasion, addressed, either to the Emperor himself (which mr poletica says would be received with great deference from you, Sir, or Mr Madison)5 or if preferred by you, to Count Nesselrode, mr middleton, our minister at St Petersburg, or to himself (Mr Poletica).—

If I have been too presuming, Sir, in thus addressing you, I trust that the interesting nature of the subject to a parents feelings and the high value I should place on any thing that you might be pleased to say on it will plead my excuse.—.

I have the honor to be, Sir, with the highest6 respect & veneration Yr mo Ob Servt

Thomas Munroe

PS I take the liberty of enclosing a Copy of Mr Adams’s Letter—the others are nearly like it in substance.

RC (CSmH: JF-BA); endorsed by TJ as received 30 Dec. 1821 and so recorded in SJL; with Dft of TJ to Munroe, 1 Jan. 1822, beneath postscript. RC (DLC); address cover only; with FC of TJ to William H. Crawford, [20 Apr. 1824], on verso; addressed: “The Honorable Thomas Jefferson Monticello Va Post Office Milton”; franked; postmarked Washington, 20 Dec.

Thomas Munroe (ca. 1798–1834), soldier, was born in Maryland and from at least 1817 until 1821 served as a postal clerk under his father in Washington, D.C. After arriving in Liverpool in April 1822, he went on to enter the Russian army and became an aide-de-camp to the Russian emperor. Munroe died in Mykolayiv, Ukraine (A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the service of the United States [1818]: postal section, p. 85; [1822]: postal section, p. 123; Richmond Enquirer, 17 May 1822; [David Porter], Constantinople and its Environs [1835], 2:148; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 21 Nov. 1834).

On this day Munroe sent a similar letter and enclosure on behalf of his son to James Madison (Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 2:438–9).

1Parenthetical name interlined.

2Manuscript: “whist.”

3Word interlined in place of “late.”

4Word interlined.

5Omitted closing parenthesis editorially supplied, here and below.

6Manuscript: “higest.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John Quincy; letter from, to P. de Polética search
  • Adams, John Quincy; recommends T. Munroe (ca.1798–1834) search
  • Alexander I, emperor of Russia; TJ’s relationship with search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and appointments search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); mentioned search
  • Middleton, Henry (1770–1846); as minister plenipotentiary to Russia search
  • Munroe, Thomas (ca.1798–1834); education of search
  • Munroe, Thomas (ca.1798–1834); identified search
  • Munroe, Thomas (ca.1798–1834); seeks military appointment in Russia search
  • Munroe (Monroe), Thomas (1771–1852); letters from search
  • Munroe (Monroe), Thomas (1771–1852); seeks appointment for son search
  • Nesselrode, Karl Robert von search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Pinkney, Charles; recommends T. Munroe (ca.1798–1834) search
  • Polética, Pierre de; as Russian minister plenipotentiary to U.S. search
  • Polética, Pierre de; letter to, from J. Q. Adams search
  • Russia; army appointment sought search