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    Jefferson recommends Tobias Lear: "... he is a person of great understanding, discretion, activity, & of the most perfect integrity"

    Thomas Jefferson Autograph Letter Signed as Secretary of State. One page with integral address leaf, 8" x 10". Philadelphia, November 5, 1793. A fine letter of introduction for Tobias Lear, George Washington's former private secretary. In this letter to Joseph Fenwick, American Consul at Bordeaux, Jefferson introduces Tobias Lear (1762-1816), who served as Washington's private secretary from 1784 to 1793. When he left President Washington's service, Lear went into business for himself, establishing T. Lear & Company, which promoted river traffic around Washington, D.C., land development and speculation in the brand new capital city. He travelled to Europe to court potential investors, requesting letters of introduction from his influential connections, including Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Jefferson.

    As Jefferson writes Fenwick, Lear, "well known as late Secretary to President Washington," is "proposing to establish himself in commerce in the new city of Washington" and now "sets out to visit such parts of Europe as he supposes may furnish him either articles or connections in the mercantile line useful for his position." The Secretary of State assured Fenwick that Lear deserved all the help the American Consul could provide. "I take the liberty," Jefferson continued, "of recommending him, not only to the ordinary protection & aids of your office, but to any other attentions or services you can render him."

    Despite the help of Jefferson and others, Lear's commercial ventures failed and his financial situation became critical. When Jefferson became president, he appointed the struggling Lear American commercial agent in Saint-Domingue and later Consul General to the North African coast. In October 11, 1816, Lear apparently committed suicide when he shot himself with a pistol.

    Condition: Flattened folds, with clean bright paper on the recto. Barely perceptible stain on address sheet, with a strip of mounting remnant along right margin of verso.


    More Information:

    Philadelphia. Nov. 5. 1793

    Dear Sir

    The bearer hereof, mr. Lear, proposing to establish himself in commerce in the new city of Washington, he now sets out to visit such parts of Europe as he supposes may furnish him either articles or connections in the mercantile line useful for his position. he is well known as late Secretary to President Washington, and I can further assure you that he is a person of great understanding, discretion activity & of the most perfect integrity. having for him a very high esteem, which an acquaintance of considerable intimacy has proved him to merit, I take the liberty of recommending him, not only to the ordinary protection & aids of your office, but to any other attentions or services you can render him, assuring you they will be considered as particular favors conferred on Dear Sir

    Your most obedt.

    & most humble servt.

    Th: Jefferson



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