Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Temple, 26 April 1795

To William Temple

Monticello Apr. 26. 95.


I wrote some time ago to Colo. Gamble asking a copy of my account with him that I might have it paid. In a letter which he wrote as he was setting out for Philadelphia he informed me you would be so good as to furnish it on application, which favor I now ask of you.

He mentioned in the same letter that he was resigning his retail business to you, and meant to add to it the branch of groceries if I should have occasion for any. My course as to groceries has hitherto been to send quarterly to a merchant in Philadelphia an invoice of what I wanted in that line for the next quarter, whereon he shipped them to Richmond, sent me his bill by post, and within two or three posts afterwards I procured and remitted him a bill for the amount. Tho’ I get my groceries thus on good terms, yet I find the procuring of a bill on Philadelphia in this part of the country troublesome and difficult. If therefore I could retain the advantages of reasonable prices, and supplies of good quality, and obtain greater facility in the form of paiment, I should adopt it. My groceries come to between 4. and 500 Dollars a year, taken and paid for quarterly. The best resource of quarterly paiment in my power is Nails, of which I make enough every fortnight to pay a quarter’s bill, and I would willingly send them to Richmond by the first boat or waggon after the receipt of the bill, and require there only the wholesale price at the time of their being recieved there. If such a form of paiment would suit you, and the quality and prices of your supplies be found to suit me, I should be willing to change my dealings from Philadelphia to Richmond. On this subject be so good as to write to me fully and frankly, stating what your convenience and the course of your commerce requires, as no dealings could be desireable to either you or myself unless founded in mutual convenience, and reasonable advantages to both parties. Below I sketch the articles for which I should have occasion that you may have a certain knolege of their nature. I am Sir Your very humble servt

Th: Jefferson

Coffee } called for quarterly.
white sugar
brown sugar
rum or French brandy

The following articles are called for occasionally.

Wine vinegar.





Cod’s tongues and sounds



PrC (MHi); with last words in list added by TJ in ink (see note below); at foot of first page: “Mr. William Temple”; endorsed in ink by TJ on verso: “Gamble & Temple.”

William Temple operated a store in Richmond with wholesale merchant Robert Gamble that sold dry goods, hardware, groceries, and other merchandise. TJ purchased groceries and nailrod from Gamble & Temple in 1795 and 1796, using nails in partial payment, and settled accounts with the firm on 31 July 1796. The partnership was dissolved in 1799 (Richmond Virginia Gazette, and General Advertiser, 15 July 1795, 6 Dec. 1797, 2 May 1800; 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, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 26 Nov. 1795, 3, 22 May, 31 July 1796; ViU: Accounts of the Nailery, entries for 18 July and 7 Aug. 1795, Nov. 1795, and Apr. 1796).

Copy of my account: SJL indicates that TJ wrote Robert Gamble on 11 Mch. 1795 and that Gamble’s letter to TJ of 20 Mch. was received 15 Apr. 1795; neither letter has been found. Write to me fully: according to SJL, Temple replied on 1 June 1795, a missive TJ received from Richmond four days later. SJL also records letters from TJ to Temple of 11 June and 1 July 1795 and 31 Jan. 1796, all of which are missing.

1Preceding two words added in ink by TJ. Above them TJ wrote in ink and then canceled “spirits.”

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