A 3pp. letter in a secretarial hand, approx. 600 words, signed by Jones, and dated Washington City, December 17, 1818. Lt. Jones, a Naval officer, prefaces his case with a reminder to Pres. Monroe that they had met in July when Jones reported on "the motives and feelings of the Mediterranean Memorialists." Jones is referring to a dispute between Commodore Oliver H. Perry and one of his officers, Capt. John Heath, who commanded a detachment of Marines aboard the U.S. frigate Java in the Mediterranean in September 1816 and the resulting court martial convened aboard ship in December 1816. The subaltern officers aboard ship, including Jones, signed a petition protesting the actions of Com. Perry toward Capt. Heath. This resulted in a request by their superior officers that all the subalterns who had signed the petition be recalled to the United States. [see: "American State Papers," 15th Cong., 1st session, 1818, Naval Affairs, pp.453-6]
Jones, who had begun service in the Navy at the age of 15, appeals to the President of the United States regarding the resulting suspension of his promotion without the chance to defend himself in the more formal setting of a court martial: "How hard is my case! Condemned without trial; even without a hearing. To submit was my duty. To appeal is my right...."
Monroe's response, some 80 words, is written on the verso of the second integral leaf: "will it not be proper to make some nominations of the young men who have made the atonement required? The public attention was drawn to the object & feeling much excited which are reasons for terminating the affr. in favor of this young man...." Item #64316
Thomas ap Catesby Jones continued to serve in the U.S. Navy until his death in 1858. He saw service in the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, and commanded the Pacific Squadron in the 1840s. He was by many accounts a controversial figure who, in his later naval career, meted out harsh discipline to his crew. Herman Melville, who served aboard Jones' flagship the 'United States' in the Pacific is believed to have modeled the captain of "White Jacket" and Commodore J. in "Moby Dick" on Jones.