Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John McDowell, 25 September 1798

To John McDowell

Monticello Sep. 25. 98.


I recieved by mr Stuart your note, as also the sum of £34. 13. s 9 d which is duly entered to your credit. mr Clarke had before informed me that, on his quitting business you had undertaken to dispose of my nails, recieving from him to the amount of £124— 2. s 7 d which I have accordingly debited you. I sent you also some time ago 3. casks of nails as stated below. there has been, since the reciept of your note, such a demand from the tobacco planters for nails to build their tobacco houses, & the season pressing hard on them, that I have been unable to get ready a barrel of twelves as desired in your note: but we shall be able to go about them soon. I take for granted mr Clarke informed you that the retail of my nails was to be for ready money only, as nothing but quick returns of my advances could support the business at so low prices as I charge. having been without any receipts from my nailery during my absence from December last, and constantly advancing largely for it, I am particularly pressed at present, and shall therefore be obliged to you for any balance in your hands on the sales you have made. I am Sir

Your most obedt. servt

Th: Jefferson

Mr. John Mc. Dowell to Th:J. Dr.
£   s   d £   s   d
1798. Mar. 19. To nails from mr Clarke 124. 2.7 Cr. July 12. by Cash
 ℔   s    d. by mr Stuart 34.13.9
July To a cask do. 440. Viii. @ 13 23.16.8 by 7½ pr.Ct. commn. do. 2.16. 
do. 460. Vi. @ 13½ 25.17.6
do. 200. @ 11½ 9.11.8

PrC (DLC); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

John McDowell, son of Staunton property owner and merchant William and Alice McDowell, corresponded with TJ concerning the sale of nails at his store in Staunton until November 1800 and finally settled his account in 1807 (Lyman Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County, 1745–1800, 3 vols. [Rosslyn, Va., 1912–13], 3:227, 549, 575; Staunton Spirit of the Press, 18 May 1811; 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 , 2:1211; TJ to McDowell, 13 Nov. 1800; TJ to John Coalter, 8 May 1807).

McDowell’s note that TJ received by Archibald Stuart was not recorded in SJL and has not been found. For the three casks of nails sent by TJ to McDowell in July 1798, see TJ’s nailery account book, 1796–1800, in CLU-C.

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