Samuel Hardy Nominates A Minister

Samuel Hardy Nominates A Minister

Samuel Hardy nominated Thomas Jefferson as Minister to France.

Still a young man at the time, Hardy’s influence was still great. His nomination of Jefferson changed the future of the United States in many ways.

Foreign Policy

By May of 1784 the American Revolutionary War was complete.

Benjamin Franklin had been in France for the better part of eight years and it was time for him to come home.  

But a commissioner was still needed in Versailles.  

That’s when Samuel Hardy nominated Thomas Jefferson.

Samuel Hardy

Samuel Hardy was still attending the College of William and Mary when he was elected to the Virginia House of Representatives. He was just a 20-year-old studying law under George Wythe when he began assisting in the government of the country’s most populous State.

By 22, Hardy was sent as a delegate to the Continental Congress. He became involved primarily in foreign affairs.

When the Revolutionary War came to a close, Samuel was a proponent of Thomas Jefferson becoming Minister to France.  

Convincing Jefferson

While we know now that Jefferson went to France, and it played a large role in shaping his career, going overseas was not an easy sell. Jefferson had been nominated for the position before and turned it down. Martha Jefferson, his wife, was sick and would pass away soon after.

To make things a bit more attractive for Thomas, Samuel Hardy submitted resolutions which raised the pay of American Ministers.  This was an important decision which helped sway Jefferson to say farewell to his daughters and leave his home for five years.

Only after making these appealing changes did Hardy nominate Jefferson.


Unfortunately, Hardy fell in in Philadelphia. He passed away the following year, not yet 27 years of age.

Samuel’s importance was known by all. This can be clearly seen in a poetic eulogy published shortly after his death.  

Often attributed to Alexander Hamilton (though the true author’s identity is not definitively known) the tribute reads, in part, “Pride of the Senate, and their guide his tongue.”  This small turn of phrase demonstrates how the young man could persuade his colleagues with his intelligence and friendship.

Samuel Hardy is yet another Found about whom we must wonder at what his accomplishments may have been had he not passed so soon.

To learn more about Founders who died young, try these articles on Christopher Seider and John Laurens.

Today I am recommending ‘Friends Divided’ because it was only after Jefferson and John Adams served together in Europe did they begin to disagree. This book, while only mentioning Hardy briefly, expands on the importance of Jefferson’s time in France to his career. Pick it up through our Amazon affiliate link below.

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