the father [Robert Gamble] asked from me a letter of introduction to you. I was the more surprised at this, as his federalism had distinguished itself by personal hostility to me … yet having made the request, I felt myself bound in delicacy to give him a civil answer … of the young man I know nothing … he [the father] has two sisters married to two most estimable republicans, for whom I have great friendship … I will ask your notice of mr Gamble [the son] & even that you will let him know I had done so. the father even asked a letter of credit for his son: but this I declined. he the father has been twice bankrupt, tho’ is now deemed in good circumstances: but has never been deemed delicate in his pecuniary [financial] dealings.
Thomas Jefferson to John Armstrong, Jr., June 21, 1805
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Sometimes a leader just has to suck it up and be cordial to jerks.
The immediate previous post was Jefferson’s letter to Gamble, who had requested letters of introduction and a line of credit for his European-bound 23 year old son. Armstrong, serving as a U.S. diplomat in England, now received one of those introductions. He was also received very interesting background information!
The father who had requested the favors not only was Jefferson’s political opponent in Virginia but had shown “personal hostility” to him! Yet, Gamble had two sisters married to “estimable republicans” who were close friends of his. But for this, Jefferson might have ignored Gamble’s brazen request, but “delicacy” required of him “a civil answer.”
In light of the line of credit, which Jefferson denied, he pointed out that the father had been bankrupt twice. Like father, line son?