Thomas Jefferson Papers

Henry Johnson to Thomas Jefferson, 19 February 1822

From Henry Johnson

Washington City, 19th Feb: 1822—


I have the honor to transmit you herewith a copy of the Partidas, translated by Messrs Moreau & Carleton distinguished Counsellors of the City of New-Orleans, who have requested me to present it to you. I hope, Sir, you will consider the work worthy your acceptance.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration and respect, Sir, your obt sevt

H: Johnson

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as a letter from “Johnson W.” received 26 Feb. 1822 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with FC of TJ to John Barnes, 4 July 1824, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson, Esqr, Monticello, Virginia”; franked. Enclosure: Louis Moreau Lislet and Henry Carleton, trans., The Laws of Las Siete Partidas, which are still in force in the state of Louisiana, 2 vols. (New Orleans, 1820; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 10 [no. 603]).

Henry Johnson (1783–1864), attorney and public official, was a native of Tennessee. He studied law and in 1809 became the clerk of the second superior court of the Territory of Orleans. Two years later he was appointed judge of the Saint Mary Parish Court. Johnson was a delegate to the first Louisiana state constitutional convention in 1812. He practiced law in Donaldsonville, was chosen to fill a vacated United States Senate seat in 1818, and was reelected in 1823. Johnson resigned the next year, however, to run for governor of Louisiana, a post he held from 1824 until 1828. Though an unsuccessful candidate for the Senate in 1829, he was elected as a Whig to fill a vacancy in the United States House of Representatives in 1834, remaining in Congress until 1839. Johnson purchased 140 slaves from the Maryland Jesuits in 1838 in a sale that benefitted Georgetown College (later Georgetown University), and two years later he owned 92 slaves in Ascension Parish. After two more failed gubernatorial contests as the Whig candidate, he filled another vacated seat in the Senate, 1844–49. Johnson lost a final election for Congress in 1850 before moving to New River, Louisiana, where he continued to practice law. In 1860 his real estate and personal property were valued at $110,000 and $10,000, respectively, and he owned twenty-four slaves in Pointe Coupee Parish, where he died (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–Present, online resource, Office of the Clerk, United States House of Representatives description ends ; Robert Sobel and John Raimo, eds., Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789–1978 [1978], 2:558; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 9:984; New York Public Advertiser, 4 Dec. 1812; bills of sale from Thomas Mulledy to Johnson, 10, 29 Nov. 1838 [DGU: Maryland Province Archives]; DNA: RG 29, CS, La., Ascension, 1840, Pointe Coupee, 1860, 1860 slave schedules; Historical Magazine 8 [1864]: 351–2).

Index Entries

  • Carleton, Henry; The Laws of Las Siete Partidas search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Johnson, Henry; identified search
  • Johnson, Henry; letter from search
  • Johnson, Henry; sends work to TJ search
  • law; books on search
  • law; Spanish search
  • Louisiana (state); laws of search
  • Moreau Lislet, Louis; The Laws of Las Siete Partidas search
  • The Laws of Las Siete Partidas (trans. L. Moreau Lislet and H. Carleton) search