Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Matthew Clay, 19 September 1807

Monticello Sep. 19. 07.


I recieved yesterday your favor of the 1st. proposing to take a command in the corps of militia or of volunteers which may be called into service. no body sees with more satisfaction than myself the readiness with which our fellow citizens, and yourself particularly, offer their services on an occasion so interesting to our country, and it is possible that the promptitude of the offers may induce the wrong doers to spare us the necessity of using them. but as the appointment of all the officers rests with the Governor & legislature of the state, & not at all with myself, I have thought I could not answer your views better than by forwarding your letter to the Governor.   the paragraph of your letter wherein you say that you had, with others, put your name to the recommendations of a number of well deserving characters, not one of which were succesful in their applications, is not understood by me, & perhaps may not be meant for me. I do not recollect ever to have seen your name to a recommendation. and therefore am not able to say any thing on the subject. I should certainly pay great respect to your recommendation where it should express your own sentiments in your own words a general recommendation signed by numbers, cannot be understood as conveying the different shades of estimation in which each subscriber holds the person. the particular letter of an individual on the list would often have more effect than the general one of the whole. I salute you with great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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