George Tucker (politician)

George Tucker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1823 – March 3, 1825
Preceded by Alexander Smyth
Succeeded by Thomas Davenport
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 15th district
In office
March 4, 1819 – March 4, 1823
Preceded by William J. Lewis
Succeeded by John S. Barbour
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Pittsylvania County
In office
Alongside Thomas Wooding
Personal details
Born (1775-08-20)August 20, 1775
April 10, 1861(1861-04-10) (aged 85)
Albemarle County, Virginia
Resting place University of Virginia Cemetery, Charlottesville, Virginia
Political party Democratic-Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Byrd Farley, Maria Carter Tucker
Alma mater College of William and Mary
Profession author, lawyer, professor, politician

George Tucker (August 20, 1775 – April 10, 1861) was an American attorney, politician, author and educator. His literary works include the first fiction of colonial life in Virginia and a second which is one of America's earliest science fictions. Tucker also published the first comprehensive biography of Thomas Jefferson, as well as a history of the United States. He immigrated from Bermuda, was educated at the College of William and Mary and admitted to the Virginia bar. He was elected in 1816 to the Virginia House of Delegates for one term, and served in the United States House of Representatives from 1819 to 1825. From Tucker's youth until early middle age, his lofty social lifestyle was often profligate, and briefly became scandalous. Nevertheless, upon completion of his congressional term, he accepted an appointment extended by Thomas Jefferson to serve as Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Virginia; he continued in that post until 1845. He then relocated to Philadelphia and continued to research and write on a variety of topics, including monetary policy and socio-economics.


  • Family and early life in Bermuda 1
  • Immigration to America, education and marriage 2
  • Richmond society, second marriage, slavery and politics 3
  • Scandal, rustic life and valor 4
  • Elective office and early writing 5
  • Academics 6
  • Later politics and major literary works 7
    • Politics 7.1
    • Works of Fiction 7.2
    • First biography of Jefferson 7.3
  • Sabbatical abroad, retirement and work of U.S. history 8
  • Final years 9
  • Works 10
    • Comprehensive list of works - see biography by Robert C. McLean 10.1
  • Notes 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13

Family and early life in Bermuda

Tucker was born in Hamilton, Bermuda.[1]

George Tucker was educated in Bermuda primarily by a tutor engaged from Great Britain. Reading included Tom Jones, The Vicar of Wakefield and Arabian Nights. At age fifteen he helped form a literary club, The Calliopean Society; a club by this name was later formed at

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William J. Lewis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 15th congressional district

Succeeded by
John S. Barbour
Preceded by
Alexander Smyth
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Thomas Davenport
  • Works by George Tucker at Project Gutenberg
    • A Voyage to the MoonThe Text of (1827), with a contemporaneous review.
  • Works by or about George Tucker at Internet Archive
  • George Tucker at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • "The Life of George Tucker," Excerpted from The Life and Philosophy of George Tucker, Edited and introduced by James Fieser
  • Free public domain ebook: The life of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States: with parts of his correspondence never before published
  • The Valley of Shenandoah; or, Memoirs of the Graysons ... Digital images of the 1824 edition

External links

  • Fieser, James (2004). The Life and Philosophy of George Tucker. Thoemmus Continuum. 
  • McLean, Robert C.. (1961). George Tucker, Moral Philosopher and Man of Letters. University of North Carolina Press. 
  • Snavely, Tipton Ray (1964). George Tucker as Political Economist. University Press of Virginia. 
  • Virginia Historical and Philosophical Society, Standing Committee (1833). Collections of the Virginia Historical & Philosophical Society, Volume 1. T.W. White. 


  1. ^ McLean, pp.3-4.
  2. ^ McLean, pp.3-4.
  3. ^ McLean, p.5.
  4. ^ McLean, p.5.
  5. ^ McLean, p.5.
  6. ^ McLean, p.7-8.
  7. ^ McLean, p.9.
  8. ^ McLean, p.9.
  9. ^ McLean, p.10.
  10. ^ McLean, p.10.
  11. ^ McLean, pp. 11-12.
  12. ^ McLean, p.12.
  13. ^ McLean, p.181.
  14. ^ McLean, pp.42, 181-182.
  15. ^ McLean, p.13.
  16. ^ McLean, pp.14-15.
  17. ^ McLean, p.15.
  18. ^ McLean, pp.16-17.
  19. ^ McLean, pp.18-20.
  20. ^ Fieser, p.52.
  21. ^ Fieser, p.90.
  22. ^ Va. Historical & Philosophical Soc., p.83
  23. ^ McLean, pp.20-21.
  24. ^ McLean, p.21.
  25. ^ McLean, p.22.
  26. ^ McLean, pp.21.
  27. ^ McLean, pp.21-22.
  28. ^ McLean, p.23.
  29. ^ McLean, p.23.
  30. ^ McLean, p.24.
  31. ^ McLean, p.25.
  32. ^ McLean, p.25.
  33. ^ McLean, p.26.
  34. ^ McLean, pp.25-28.
  35. ^ McLean, p.29.
  36. ^ McLean, p.35.
  37. ^ McLean, p.36.
  38. ^ McLean, pp.36-37.
  39. ^ McLean, p.75-89.
  40. ^ McLean, pp.90-94.
  41. ^ McLean, p.67.
  42. ^ Tucker (1837), p. iv.
  43. ^ Fieser, p.91.
  44. ^ McLean, p.67.
  45. ^ McLean, pp.39-40.
  46. ^ McLean, p.40-41.
  47. ^ McLean, pp.42-43.
  48. ^ Fieser, p.93.
  49. ^ McLean, p.43.
  50. ^ McLean, p.44.
  51. ^ McLean, p.44.
  52. ^ McLean, p.45.
  53. ^ McLean, p.45.
  54. ^ McLean, pp.43,45.
  55. ^ McLean, p.46.
  56. ^ McLean, p.46.


Comprehensive list of works - see biography by Robert C. McLean

  • Letters on the Conspiracy of Slaves in Virginia (Richmond, 1800)
  • Letters on the Roanoke Navigation (1811)
  • Recollections of Eleanor Rosalie Tucker (Lynchburg, 1819)
  • Essays on Subjects of Taste, Morals, and National Policy, under the pen-name “A Citizen of Virginia” (Georgetown, 1822)
  • Tucker, George (1824), The Valley of Shenandoah; or, Memoirs of the Graysons. With an introd. by Donald R. Noble, Jr. (1970 Reprint of the 1824 ed.), Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, This was reprinted in England and translated into German.  
  • Tucker, George (1827), A Voyage to the Moon, New York: E. Bliss,  
  • Principles of Rent, Wages, and Profits (Philadelphia, 1837)
  • Public Discourse on the Literature of the United States (Charlottesville, 1837)
  • Tucker, George (1837), The Life of Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States, Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard 
  • The Theory of Money and Banks Investigated (Boston, 1839)
  • Essay on Cause and Effect (Philadelphia, 1842)
  • Essay on the Association of Ideas (1843)
  • Public Discourse on the Dangers most Threatening to the United States (Washington, 1843)
  • Progress of the United, States in Population and Wealth in Fifty Years (New York, 1843)
  • Memoir of the Life and Character of Dr. John P. Emmet (Philadelphia, 1845)
  • Correspondence with Alexander H. Everett on Political Economy (1845)
  • Tucker, George (1856), The History of the United States, Philadelphia:  
  • Banks or No Banks (New York, 1857)
  • Tucker, George (1859), Political Economy for the People, Philadelphia: C. Sherman & Son,  
  • Essays, Moral and Philosophical (1860)
  • Autobiography, Bermuda Historical Quarterly (1961), vol. 18, nos. 3 and 4
  • Tucker, George (1977), A Century Hence: or, A Romance of 1941; edited with an introd. by Donald R. Noble, Charlottesville:  


Tucker sustained head injuries at Mobile Bay when, awaiting his ship's departure for return to the north, he was struck by a large bale of cotton being loaded on board.[55] He was moved to the home of daughter Eleanor and husband George Rives in Albemarle County, Virginia, where he died on April 10, 1861, two days prior to the beginning of the American Civil War.[56] He is buried at the University of Virginia Cemetery.

Even after the death of his wife Louisa in 1858, Tucker's vitality persisted and, not long before the [53] Indeed, Tucker's youthful loyalties to the agrarian south had in his own maturation given way to a belief in the necessity and value of a commercial-industrial society. And though he would recount the insipid benefits of slavery, he predicted its eventual death. Nationalism had become the foundation of his politics over statism, and he could not understand why a compromise in lieu of war would not be embraced.[54]

If Tucker had displayed in his old age "a spirit of pugnacity becoming earlier years" as one detractor claimed,[50] such a nature was not in evidence with his family. He corresponded positively and frequently with his children and vacationed with them in the summers in Virginia and New York. He appears to have been consistent in his devotion, which was returned in kind.[51] And his exchanges with them were replete with a concern for their financial well being; drawing on his own past errors, he told them that "except for the loss of friends, a want of prudence in money matters has contributed nine tenths of the pain and vexation of [my] life".[52]

Final years

In 1856, Tucker completed his four-volume History of the United States, From Their Colonization to the End of the 26th Congress, in 1841. Robley Dunglison commented as follows on the work: "To aid him in the execution of his work, as [Tucker] himself remarks, it had been his good fortune to have a personal knowledge of many, who bore a conspicuous part in the Revolution, and of nearly all those who were the principal actors in the political dramas which succeeded. The history extends to the elevation of General Harrison to the Presidency, in 1841, which is as far as Tucker thought he could prudently go."[48] The work includes a brief review of slavery, in which Tucker took issue with Jefferson's view in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1781), that slavery had a degenerative effect upon slaveholders.[49]

With the death of his last contemporary on the faculty in 1845, Tucker resigned his professorship and moved to Philadelphia, where he enjoyed the availability of more libraries, meetings at the American Philosophical Society and a reunion with his friend Robley Dunglison. Nevertheless, there were drawbacks - for one, the lack of accommodation which slaveholding had brought him; he had emancipated all five of his slaves upon his departure from Charlottesville. He later expressed doubt about the wisdom of his emancipation decision when he learned that three of them had, by law, been exiled from Virginia, and shortly thereafter died. As well, the two freed slaves who accompanied him to Philadelphia immediately took flight upon their arrival there. Social life in the urban setting did not initially live up to his expectations, but after a time his writing and lecturing upon a variety of subjects filled the void. He also joined The American Institute for the Advancement of Science and successfully urged its members to establish a section on Political Economics and Statistics. He as well engaged Alexander Everett in a debate of Malthusian population theory.[47]

His enthusiasm for teaching at the university ebbed in his final years there. He was also perturbed by an increase in religious enthusiasm on campus and a temperance movement, which he mildly protested. Tucker zealously defended higher salaries for more tenured professors, and he was enraged when the University reduced his salary from $1500/year to $1000. He produced documentation proving that Jefferson had intended his salary be guaranteed for life so the University continued his original salary.[46]

Tucker considered a trip abroad would enhance his insight and resume generally, and specifically prepare him for a possible, though not likely, foreign post appointment. He expected there was much to be learned for his country's benefit in the British factories, great estates and crowded cities. With his finances in order and a three-month leave from the University, in 1839 he made a trip to Great Britain and after some time in Shakespeare country, Stratford-Upon-Avon, he settled in Liverpool. He did not succeed in making all the expected social connections, with the exception of the Earl of Leicester and his wife, with whom he frequently discussed politics and agriculture. Though admiring the succinct debates in Parliament, he found Queen Victoria's procession "more fit to amuse a child than one of my age". On the whole he found conversation did not come easy with the Brits, and concluded "there were more churls in England than in all of Europe besides."[44] This journey, along with his interest in the doctrines of Thomas Robert Malthus on populace, inspired Tucker to reflect upon the mixed blessings of a prospective urbanized world. Some of his hypotheses were included in The Progress of the United States in Population and Wealth (Boston, 1843). This work gained him one of his proudest honors, a membership in the Statistical Society of Paris.[45]

Sabbatical abroad, retirement and work of U.S. history

In 1836, Tucker completed his manuscript of a comprehensive biography, The Life of Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States.[41] He sent his composition to James Madison for his approval, as the latter had assisted in its formation; Tucker included for his sanction a proposed dedication to the recipient. Madison replied with his full approbation and signature, complete with franking on June 26, 1836, just hours before his death the following day.[42] This premier study of the life of Jefferson was published in two volumes the following year, and received "high commendation in the Edinburgh Review from Lord Brougham, as 'a very valuable addition to the stock of our political and historical knowledge. In it, Professor Tucker does not always accord with the illustrious subject of his biography. The work, indeed, manifests a laudable desire to do justice, and to decide impartially on contested topics; and hence, perhaps, it failed to give satisfaction to the ardent supporters, as well as to the bitter opponents, of Mr. Jefferson.'"[43]

First biography of Jefferson

Using the pseudonym Joseph Atterley, in 1827 he wrote the satire A Voyage to the Moon: With Some Account of the Manners and Customs, Science and Philosophy, of the People of Morosofia, and Other Lunarians. It is one of the earliest American works of science fiction, and was relatively successful, earning Tucker $100 from the sale of one thousand copies. It received positive reviews from the American Quarterly Review and the Western Monthly Review. Tucker uses The Voyage to ridicule the social manners, religion and professions of some of his colleagues and to criticize some erroneous scientific methods and results apparent to him at the time.[40]

Tucker's premier literary work was The Valley of Shenandoah (1824), the first fictional tale of life in Virginia. In relating the downfall of an aristocratic family in the Commonwealth's valley, it drew upon his personal witness of the financial ruin of his in-laws, the family of Charles Carter, and hypocritically described the inability of an estate owner to manage his monetary affairs. Tucker further used the novel's characters (who again reflected personal experience) to emphasize that happiness in love and life resulted from the moderation of one's passions. The Valley stressed Tucker's professorial objective, that history must inform the reader with "the progress of society and the arts of civilization; with the advancement and decline of literature, laws, manners and commerce." He also conveyed through the fiction his view that gentility was independent of wealth, that the relationship between masters and slaves was imbued with mutual trust and happiness, and that the strong currents of socio-economic change were on the whole beneficent.[39]

Works of Fiction

Some of Tucker's work displayed a growing political skepticism of the workings of democracy beginning with the 1796 election. By the late 1820s, he was persuaded that political leadership positions should be reserved primarily for prosperous people with a tangible, and taxable, interest in government. Andrew Jackson's election in 1828, was for Tucker an example of the "triumph of democratic demagoguery which could bring about class warfare."[37] Tucker worked arduously in Virginia to oppose Jackson and was a solid supporter of Henry Clay, with his second choice being Daniel Webster. He opposed universal suffrage, and favored limiting the franchise to half of free men, and allowing slaveholders to cast votes on behalf of three-fifths of their slaves; he also argued in favor of eliminating the secret ballot. Tucker as well promoted the Second National Bank and strongly criticized Jackson for his defunding of it.[38]


Later politics and major literary works

Tucker's effectiveness in the lecture hall is not objectively certain, and he may well have encountered difficulty with public speaking as he had in the courtroom previously. His chairmanship certainly testified to his relative popularity among colleagues, and he was quite well published, including one satire, a fiction, three books on economics and statistics, a Jefferson biography, as well as two pamphlets. Together with Robley Dunglison he founded and edited the Virginia Literary Museum (1829–1830) in which he published voluminous writings; and he frequently sent essays to newspapers and magazines.[36]

From Tucker's perspective, the offer was most opportune, as he considered his congressional seat in jeopardy, as well as his pocketbook. The professorship included a steady income, extra fees from philosophy students, tenure and rent-free quarters on the University Lawn.[33] Tucker accepted the offer, effective in 1825, and also was chosen chairman of the faculty. In addition to his primary discipline, he also assumed charge of the subjects of Political Economics and Rhetoric for the University.[34] He was content with family life in Charlottesville, Virginia, though he "found solitude unbearable" after Maria's death and began an earnest search for a wife, whom he found in Louisa A. Thompson, a widow in Baltimore. In their thirty years together Tucker later said he had found "the same warmth and devoted affection with which I have been previously blest".[35]

Just prior to the end of Tucker's third congressional term in 1824, Thomas Jefferson presented him with an offer on behalf of the fledgling University of Virginia, sanctioned by Trustees [31] Tucker's selection may as well have been an accommodation to some of the school's opponents, including Episcopalians, Federalists and notable western Virginians, many of whom were friends of Tucker's. Presumably, his prior indiscretions were overlooked since no related formal charges were extant.[32]

Pavilion IX, Prof. Tucker's Residence on the Univ. of Virginia Lawn


With these personal trials, he made no momentous contributions to Congress beyond his steady positions representing Virginia's interests, with a consistent Jeffersonian Republican voting record; he did serve as chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of War.[29] There are notable disparities between Tucker's more statist voting record and the nationalism predominant in his writings during this period and later. In his essay On Instructions to Representatives, he provides an explanation in political theory - an obligation to think one way and yet vote another, in compliance with constituent preferences.[30]

Though Maria was warned against having more children in her vulnerable physical and emotional state, she again conceived, and died in pregnancy in February 1823. In the carriage to Washington after the funeral, Tucker muffled his face with a handkerchief to hide his tears and feigned a toothache in response to inquirers. Maria's death indeed weighed heavily upon him, as he reflected on his errors in the midst of her travails. He also was much concerned for his son Daniel's indolence and unbalanced behavior which years later would result in his hospitalization, and ultimate death in 1838, at Philadelphia.[28]

With financial success came more opportunities to work and serve his community. Tucker received many cases in debt collection, and he was appointed trustee of the Lynchburg Female Academy and vestryman at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Tucker was also elected to serve in the United States House of Representatives from 1819 to 1825, representing the Lynchburg area in the 16th, 17th, and 18th United States Congresses.[26] His financial largess was short-lived, as Tucker was unable to resist the allure of society and lavish living in Washington, not to mention the increased expenses of a larger immediate family.[27]

The death of Harriett had been painful enough, but Maria's depression became uncontrollable and chronic when daughter Rosalie died unexpectedly at age fourteen in 1818. Also during this period Maria's father Charles Carter encountered his own financial setbacks, and prevailed upon Tucker for assistance; Tucker, with the help of Lawrence Lewis, was able to settle the Carters at "Deerwood, dividing the profits from Charles' management there.[25]

Tucker continued his work in literature along with that in the law, and in 1814–1815 the Philadelphia Port Folio published a series of essays entitled Thoughts of a Hermit. Financial success was for once his as a result of these endeavors; he also realized profits from land sales near the Dan River, and the sale of Woodbridge when the family moved again, to Lynchburg, Virginia in 1818.[24]

Tucker's mercantile roots in Bermuda instilled an interest in navigation, and he began an intense campaign with the legislatures of North Carolina and Virginia to improve the passageways to Norfolk along the Roanoke, Dan and Staunton Rivers, in order to avoid inefficient portage required to Petersburg and Richmond. This effort culminated in his own bids for election to a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates representing Pittsylvania County, which failed in 1813 and 1814 but then succeeded in 1816. Tucker and Maria then suffered the first loss of a child, Harriett, from Whooping Cough.[23]

Elective office and early writing

Tucker also was a founding member that year of the Virginia Historical and Philosophical Society, an effort led by John Marshall and John Floyd; Tucker was named to the Society's Standing Committee.[22]

In 1811 Tucker was in Richmond to attend a benefit performance, and put his life in great danger during the infamous Richmond Theatre fire. In Tucker's autobiography he relates that, "The play was over... and there appearing to be much delay in bringing on the afterpiece... I had fortunately quitted the [play]house while it was on fire, tho’ I did not know the fact... but the cry of fire prevented my reaching my lodgings, and hurried me back to witness a spectacle of human woe which I have never seen equalled. I was instrumental in saving several females from the flames."[20] During the tragedy, which took the lives of 72 people including the sitting Governor of Virginia, a timber struck him in the head, leaving a permanent scar above his eye.[21]

Tucker decided in 1806 to relocate his family, now including the addition of daughter Maria, to the Carters' home in Frederick County, Va. and there attempted to put his financial house in order; nevertheless, business required his return to Richmond, and on one occasion he was arrested for a delinquency owed to a loan company. The immediate problem was solved with the endorsement of St. George. He economized for two years, living a rural life with the Carters and other family and was able to purchase an estate near the Dan River. In May 1808 the family moved to "Woodbridge" in Pittsylvania County, where daughter Eliza was born in December. Maria was then faced with rearing four children in less favorable circumstances; on his part, Tucker was disappointed with an absence of the desired social life. While he thought all his neighbors "friendly and civil", they were also "unpolished and plain". With an increased effort in his law practice, Tucker discovered more success and more clients, spread across three to four counties; he was also elected Commonwealth's Attorney for the county. Maria remained busy, giving birth to Lelia in October 1810 and Harriett in May 1813.[19]

The Richmond Theater fire on Dec. 26, 1811-Tucker had left early but re-entered to rescue others.

Tucker's law practice could not sustain the expenses essential in his high social activities, which included gambling at cards and races, and he proceeded to waste the capital from Mary Tucker's estate. He was drawn to speculation and ultimately to a rumored financial scandal. In 1803 he joined other prominent citizens in organizing a lottery to raise funds for the Richmond Academy. He allegedly bought a number of chances for himself and, as remaining chances dwindled, resold some of them for a profit; he also was said to have positioned himself as one of four or five holders sure to be a winner. He held the winning stub when his ticket was purportedly found lodged in a joint of the drawing drum. Tucker was asked for reimbursement, and after negotiation, paid it in part, borrowing the remainder from members of the academy board. He also reportedly acted as custodian of other funds, blended them with his own and spent it on high living and land speculation. Later he was required to defend himself in these matters before the Virginia General Assembly; though he was officially cleared of wrongdoing, the incidents tarnished his reputation and highlighted the style of his living while in Richmond. At home, Maria gave birth to her eldest daughter, Eleanor Rosalie, on May 4, 1804.[18]

Scandal, rustic life and valor

Politically, Tucker was in the main a Jeffersonian Republican, but he was also a conservative and supported the national bank. He once gave a speech in support of a Federalist in a local election, and a staunch Republican, Lewis Harvey, called him a party traitor and liar; in reaction, the often hot-tempered Tucker assaulted him. Harvey responded with a demand for satisfaction, but fortunately for Tucker, an incompetent marksman, the duel was avoided at the last moment — though not before Tucker had completed his will and arranged his affairs for his expecting wife.[16] Their first child, Daniel George, was born November 23, 1802.[17]

While Tucker had thus initiated a bit of a literary work, as an attorney he was initially deficient, being literally disabled in the courtroom; when before the public, he was struck by fear and confusion, until he later gained self-confidence.[15]

Tucker sought out the primary authors in Richmond to fulfill his interest in literature and the arts, and soon published an essay proposing a remedy to slavery, entitled Letter to a Member of the General Assembly of Virginia on the Subject of the Late Conspiracy of the Slaves with a Proposal for Their Colonization (1801). Tucker here expresses his early opposition to slavery, as unproductive and uneconomical; he wrote that no country "can attain great heights in manufactures, commerce or agriculture where one half of the community labours unwillingly, and the other half does not labour at all." He recommended that revenues be secured (with a tax on slaveholders) and used to establish a colony for the slaves west of the Mississippi. He further asserted that the slave's inferiority was a result of time and circumstance, and not natural causes.[13] By the 1820s however, Tucker's views of slavery changed notably with personal experience, and profit, realized in his purchase and sale of slaves for his account and that of his father-in-law Charles Carter. He later opposed the concepts of abolition and colonization as impractical, though he did free his own slaves sixteen years prior to his death.[14]

Cousin St. George's letter of introduction to Governor Betty Washington Lewis. They soon fell in love, and in February 1802 he married Maria, age seventeen and pregnant.[12]

Maria Carter Tucker, Thomas Sully c. 1805

Richmond society, second marriage, slavery and politics

Mary's death complicated Tucker's facile life, as her estate, thought to be considerable, was fraught with legal problems. Even after significant efforts spanning twenty years, Tucker succeeded in salvaging only part of the fortune, which at one time had included a sugar plantation, thousands of acres of land and a share in the Dismal Swamp Company.[9] After a prolonged trip to the sugar plantation in Antigua, and on to Martinique and Bermuda, he returned to Williamsburg and then determined his future was in the nearby state capital of Richmond, Virginia as a practicing attorney.[10]

[8] Though he had initially preferred to delay the wedding until he had passed the bar, he gave in to his heart's desire, borrowed the needed funds from an uncle, and they married in October of 1797. To help Mary, who was chronically ill with consumption, Tucker arranged a trip to his old home in Bermuda. The stay there only confirmed his desire to be in Virginia, especially since Mary experienced no relief from her illness; they returned to Williamsburg, setting up residence, with his intention to read for the bar exam. Except for trips to North Carolina to collect rents on his wife's property, Tucker avoided his work, attended races in Fredericksburg, and frequented fashionable watering places with friends and family; he made Thomas Jefferson's acquaintance at this time. Mary never could recover from her infirmities, and died childless in 1799.[7] Tucker traveled to New York and Philadelphia and, with letters of introduction in hand, was able to further acquaint himself with his adopted country and meet noted leaders, including

[6] Tucker was pleased to find the academic work undermanding, and his social life entertaining, as he gained access to the finer homes through the connection with his cousin.[5] After a free-spending time with other Bermudians in the capital city, he ran out of funds, and proceeded to [3] Shortly after his mother's death in 1795, Tucker sailed for Philadelphia, intending to continue his law studies in either America or possibly London, if it would not prejudice his chances for "political advancement".

Immigration to America, education and marriage

At Bascomb's death, the firm's clients urged Tucker to assume their representation, but being quite unqualified, he declined, deciding to begin plans for a career in America. [2]

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