Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Nicholas Lewis, 7 March 1790

To Nicholas Lewis

Richmond Mar. 7. 1790.

Dear Sir

Some things have occurred since I left Albemarle on which it will be necessary for me to trouble you.

Colo. Rob. Lewis is so near agreeing to the purchase of my lands in Cumberland that I think he will do it. The terms I proposed to him were 20/ sterl. an acre taking his own time but paying interest from the start. On an explanation of the monies he could command, our idea was that he should pay between 8. and £900 currency, due to him, when received, with interest, and then £100. currency a year till the whole should be paid. If he should come up to these terms which I explained to him in a letter I would wish you to sell to him. I will execute a deed on your notifying to me the sale. Should any other purchaser offer who shall give good security, sell to him on any equivalent terms. In general I would wish to have three annual paiments, a third in each, with interest from the delivery of the land. From Colo. Lewis I ask no security. Sell Elkhill and Smith’s in like manner if any purchaser can be found at £1200. pounds sterling.

Watson attacks me here with his account. To satisfy him I gave him a line for you. I inclose you his account and will be obliged to you to compare it with the one settled between Mr. Key and him, and if any injustice has been done him, be so good as to have it rectified.

So also as to Charles Kerr who presents me an account which he sais Ballow refused to settle. I have promised him that you will be so good as to authorise and ask Harry Mullins to enquire into and arbitrate it, as he is in his neighborhood. It will be necessary however to examine my memorandum books to see whether some of the articles have not been paid.

Barrett consents to the suppression of interest during the war.

On Dr. Currie’s bond there is £208–2 due and interest from Oct. 20. 1786.

On R. Harvie’s bond instead of the large sum claimed, there is but £54-5-6 due with interest from Apr. 19. 1783. Of this I satisfied Mr. Lyle, but we have not settled it finally, because he thinks it necessary first to write to Mr. Harvie.

There will be a paiment of somewhere about £300 sterling to be made to Mr. Lyle before the 19th. of July next. The sooner it is done the better because exchange is now down to 25. and even 20. per cent, and is expected to rise immediately. So that £120. or £125. now will go as far as £133–6–8 probably by July. However this must depend on the sale of the tobacco.

I had written so far in the morning. But now in the evening can add that the preceding clause relative to Mr. Lyle is become unnecessary, as I have sold my tobacco to Mr. Donald, on whom I shall give orders to pay the following debts.

Mr. Eppes a balance of £16-16-8

Advances &c. by Mr. Donald himself, £151.

James Lyle £325. sterling.

Doctr. Walker the inclosed order for £36-7-11 with interest from Sep. 10. 1787. till paid.

Dobson the balance which may remain in Mr. Donald’s hands.

Besides this I have given Mr. Eppes an order on J. Bannister’s administrator for about £200. for Dobson.

There will remain then for you the Albemarle tobacco, the Bedford wheat (which Donald would not buy) and the list of balances making between 8. and £900 to pay the following demands.

[Hudson Martin.
Hastings Marks about £28–10
Randolph Jefferson about  20]1
John Jefferson 10. or  15
Trent & co. about  65
Reid & Barret about  80
Dr. Currie 208–2 with int. from 1786. Oct. 20

I hope the present will find you perfectly reestablished in your health. Present me affectionately to Mrs. Lewis and be assured of the sincere esteem & attachment of Dear Sir Your most obedt. humble servt,

Th: Jefferson

P.S. I set out tomorrow morning at daylight for New York.

RC (DLC); differs from PrC (this item acquired by DLC subsequent to the acquisition of TJ Papers). PrC (MHi). Enclosures: (1) TJ does not refer to it, but he must have enclosed the original of the following power of attorney: “Know all men by these presents that I Thomas Jefferson of Monticello in the county of Albemarle and commonwealth of Virginia do by these presents constitute and appoint Colo. Nicholas Lewis of Albemarle my attorney during my absence from the said Commonwealth or until I shall otherwise revoke these presents, giving him power for me and on my behalf to settle or otherwise dispose of any part of my slaves or personal estate, to sell my lands in Goochland and Cumberland, to purchase and to take conveyances for me of lands slaves or personal estate, to superintend and direct the management of my property real and personal of every kind, to prosecute or defend all actions or suits wherein I may be concerned either in my own right or in the right of any other person, to appoint and to remove at will, stewards, overseers and other agents of any kind whatever, giving to whatsoever he shall do in the premises the same force and validity as if done by myself. Witness my hand and seal at Richmond this 7th day of March one thousand seven hundred and ninety. Th: Jefferson. Signed sealed and delivered in presence of A Donald.” (MS in MHi; entirely in TJ’s hand; see Vol. 6: 210). (2) The enclosed accounts of Watson and Kerr and of the order to Dr. Walker have not been found. The LINE given Watson and a letter from him, Richmond, 14 Dec., recorded in SJL as received 24 Dec. 1789, have not been found.

1The matter in brackets (supplied) is not in RC but is taken from PrC. It appears at the top of the second leaf [p.3] of MS. That leaf is shorter by 3.6 centimeters than the first and so mounted as to suggest that it was cropped at the bottom, where the second leaf would have been blank on both recto and verso; examination of the fold marks on top verso, however, shows that the cropping was done at the top (communication of Mrs. Dorothy S. Eaton to Editors, 21 July 1959). The catch-word at the bottom of verso of second leaf [p.2] is “Hudson” and this has been erased so as to be almost indecipherable except under strong light. It is not possible to say with certainty when this deletion was made, but it is very probable that TJ himself cut away the first four lines at the top of the second leaf recto and erased the catch-word, for he must have remembered that he had already issued orders on Lewis to Hastings Marks and Randolph Jefferson for the sums mentioned (TJ to Randolph Jefferson, 28 Feb. 1790, note) and that the amounts, therefore, may already have been paid. Except for the differences noted, RC and PrC are in agreement, the latter being executed from the former.

Index Entries