Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Carter Waller, 21 December 1793

To Benjamin Carter Waller

Philadelphia Dec. 21. 1793.


I have received your letter of Dec. 10. as I had done in due time that of Mr. Welsh, tho’ I did not know that it had come from you. At that time it was my intention to have retired from office at the end of September, and meant to have taken the first opportunity of seeing Mr. Eppes the acting executor of Mr. Wayles, and to have acquired from him the information necessary to enable me to answer Mr. Welsh’s letter; for a ten year’s absence from Virginia has left me without knolege of the affairs of the estate. I was induced however to put off my retirement to the end of this month, and therefore have not seen Mr. Eppes. I leave this place within ten days, and shall take the earliest occasion which the season will admit of meeting with Mr. Eppes, and of settling with him arrangements relative to Mr. Wayles’s debt to Mr. Welsh. In the mean while it will save time if you will be so good as to inform us whether your powers from Mr. Welsh would authorize you fully to settle this transaction, and to take measures to obtain full powers if you have them not. If you will settle it on the same terms on which the much greater claim of Farrel & Jones was settled, that is to say, dividing the principal and interest before and since the war into practicable instalments, I think I can venture to assure you there will be no difficulty in the case. The executors have uniformly denied interest during the war in all cases where the estate was concerned.—I shall use my best endeavors to have this matter brought to a speedy settlement on my return to Virginia, and should be enabled to propose a meeting if you will be so good as to send me an answer by post to Monticello.

My separate debt to Mr. Welsh is small. I paid him the interest up to 1785. when I saw him in London. This included interest during the war. I cannot, till I return home and look into my affairs, say any thing specific as to the balance, but the earliest attention shall be paid to it, and Mr. Welsh may be assured that I will with zeal do what I can for the speedy and just settlement and discharge of the general debt from Mr. Wayles. In expectation of hearing from you on the point beforementioned I am Sir Your most obedt. servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of first page: “Mr. B. Waller.” Tr (ViU: Edgehill-Randolph Papers); 19th-century copy.

Benjamin Carter Waller (1757–1820), son of Virginia General Court clerk and Williamsburg attorney Benjamin Waller, was a lawyer who served as clerk of the James City County Court, represented York County and Williamsburg in the House of Delegates, 1792 and 1799–1801, and was an active Republican at the time of the 1800 election (Robert P. Waller, “Records of the Waller Family,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892– description ends , 1st ser., xiii [1905], 176; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , iv, 519, ix, 81, 87; Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia 1776–1918 and of the Constitutional Conventions [Richmond, 1918], 442; Waller’s will, 17 Oct. 1820, admitted to probate 20 Nov. 1820, York County Will Books, York County Circuit Court, Yorktown, Virginia).

Waller’s Letter of Dec. 10., recorded in SJL as received from Williamsburg on 20 Dec. 1793, has not been found. that of Mr. Welsh: Wakelin Welch to TJ, 21 Feb. 1793. For TJ’s payment on his personal debt to Welch of the interest up to 1785, the only recorded instance in which he included interest during the war, see MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, forthcoming in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 1 Apr. 1786, and note.

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