To John Page
Devilsburg, January 23d, 1764.
I received your letter of Wednesday the 18th instant; in that, of this day, you mention one which you wrote last Friday, and sent by the Secretary’s boy; but I have neither seen nor heard of such a one. God send, mine of Jan. 19 to you may not have shared the same fate; for, by your letter, I am uncertain whether you have received it or not; you therein say, ‘you hope to have received an answer from me by this time,’ by which I judge it has miscarried; but you mention mine of Dec. 25, which puts me in spirits again, as I do not know how you should have got intelligence that I had wrote such a one, unless you had seen my letter of Jan. 19, in which it was mentioned—yes, there is one other way by which you might have received such intelligence. My letter of Jan. 19, may have been opened, and the person who did it may have been further incited by curiosity, to ask you if you had received such a letter as they saw mentioned therein; but God send, and I hope this is not the case. Sukey Potter, to whom I sent it, told me yesterday she delivered it to Mr. T. Nelson, the younger, who had delivered it to you—I hope with his own hand. I wish I had followed your example, and wrote it in Latin, and that I had called my dear campana in die, instead of a αδνιλεβ.
We must fall on some scheme of communicating our thoughts to each other, which shall be totally unintelligible to every one but to ourselves. I will send you some of these days Shelton’s Tachygraphical Alphabet, and directions. Jack Walker is engaged to Betsy Moore, and desired all his brethren might be made acquainted with his happiness. But I hear he will not be married this year or two. Put campana in die in mind of me; tell him I think as I always did. I have sent my horses up the country, so that it is out of my power to take even an airing on horseback at any time. My paper holds out no longer, so Must bid you adieu.
MS not located. Text from Tucker, Life description begins George Tucker, The Life of Thomas Jefferson, Philadelphia, 1837 description ends , i, 37–8, where it was printed, without signature, from a copy furnished by the son of John Page.
Page’s letters of 18 and 20 (“last Friday”) Jan., and TJ’s letter of 25 Dec. are missing. The secretary is Thomas Nelson, Sr. (1716–1782); and T. Nelson, the younger is his nephew (1738–1789), the “Signer” and TJ’s successor as governor. Shelton’s … alphabet: Thomas Shelton’s Tachy-Graphy. The Most Exact and Compendious Methode of Short and Swift Writing That Hath Ever Yet Been Published… London, 1646. Betsy Moore: Elizabeth Moore, daughter of Bernard Moore of Chelsea, King William co.; she was married to John Walker in June 1764 (WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly description ends , 1st ser., xix [1910–1911], 178; Walker’s statement to Henry Lee, 28 Mch. 1805, in DLC: TJ Papers, 155:27117).