Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Hay, 14 February 1802

To George Hay

Washington Feb. 14. 1802.

Dear Sir

My absence from Virginia for many years back, with small intervals of residence only in it, has rendered me very much unpossessed of the state of things there. I did not recollect that you were a practitioner in Richmond until an answer from mr Wickham to the inclosed letter set me to looking about to whom I should address myself on his declining the business therein proposed. nor am I now certain whether you do practise in the courts there. but believing I have understood so, I ask the favor of you to undertake the matter proposed to mr Wickham in the letter of which I send you a copy because it contains a statement of facts supplementary to what appears in the documents. I enclose you an order on messrs. Gibson & Jefferson for your fee, and pray your attention to mr Short’s interest in this suit, considering that he rendered a year’s laborious & expensive service to the US. it would be hard indeed to say that he, and not the US. should lose the amount of his salary for the year. he has never recieved it, nor have the US. ever paid it, for as long as it is in the hands of their officer, it is in their hands, & unpaid. Accept assurances of my esteem & high consideration.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC: William Short Papers); at foot of text: “George Hay esq.”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosures: (1) TJ to John Wickham, 29 Jan. 1802, with enclosures. (2) Order on Gibson & Jefferson, not found.

Answer from Mr Wickham: a letter of 9 Feb. from John Wickham, recorded in SJL as received from Richmond on the 13th, has not been found.

TJ apparently asked Albert Gallatin to collect some documents pertaining to William Short’s salary claim. On 3 Feb., Gallatin wrote TJ: “I enclose the attested copies required. The original of one of the papers is not in this office & appears to have been returned to you: the copy is enclosed” (RC in DLC; at foot of text: “The President”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 3 Feb. and “mr Short’s papers” and so recorded in SJL; enclosures not found).

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