Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Branch Giles, 16 April 1795

From William Branch Giles

Richmond April 16th 1795


After the date of my last letter to you from Philadelphia, I inclosed to Mr. Shippen the statement of your demand against him as representative of Mr. Banister. I also submitted to his inspection your letter to me relatively to that subject, and informed him that I was authorised to receive the amount, and close the transaction. Mr. Shippen acknowledged himself the proper person to receive the application and said the claim should be paid; but the time when, was always left indefinite, and he seemed to discover an indifference in the business which, I thought, not justifyed by the peculiar circumstances attending the original transaction.

I have lately been informed that you are about engageing in a scheme for converting the lime stone on the upper parts of James river, into lime, for the supply of the country adjacent to that river between the limestone and Richmond. I propose this summer to commence the building of a dwelling. Now my preferince is for Brick; and the only objection to that material consists in the difficulty of procureing lime. The place proposed for erecting the house is about 14 or 15 miles from a safe and convenient landing place on James river about 40 miles above richmond. Will you be so obligeing as to make an estimate of the price of lime delivered at the place described?

I had anticipated the pleasure of a visit to you at Monticello in the course of the last summer, but was prevented from reallizeing it, by a most distressing catastrophe in our family, (the death of my Father) and the consequent increase of domestic obligations; I now hope, in company with Mr. J. W. Eppes, to execute that intention in the course of the next month; and I indulge myself in the pleasing expectation of returning highly improved both in the Theoretical and Practical parts of farming.

Although you have forsworn Politicks, I cannot close this letter, without congratulateing you upon the literal verification of the old saying, ‘The Dutch have taken Holland.’ The Tyranny of the Stadholder & Co. is no more; and a third republic is emerged therefrom; I hope, by this time in actual organization. A third Republic predicated upon, the rights of men, in opposition to the monopoly of Priviliges I consider as the certain harbinger of a general revolution of the human character and government. The magnitude of this event in the history of the World will furnish my apology for intrudeing it upon your notice. Be pleased to excuse me for writeing you so long a letter, and accept my most cordial wishes for your personal happines &c

Wm B. Giles

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 21 Apr. 1795 and so recorded in SJL.

My last letter: Giles to TJ, 4 Jan. 1795. TJ’s letter to Giles was that of 17 Dec. 1794. A third republic: the French conquest of the Netherlands led in January 1795 to the fall from power of William V, the last Stadholder in Dutch history, and to the establishment of the Batavian Republic (Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands, 1780–1813 [New York, 1977], 178–94,212).

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