To Mary Jefferson Eppes
Washington Jan. 18. 1803.
My dear Maria
Your’s by John came safely to hand, and informs me of your ultimate arrival at Edgehill. mr Randolph’s letter from Gordon’s recieved the night before gave me the first certain intelligence I had recieved since your departure. a rumor had come here of your having been stopped two or three days at Bull run and in a miserable hovel; so that I had passed ten days in anxious uncertainty about you. your apologies my dear Maria on the article of expence, are quite without necessity. you did not here indulge yourselves as much as I wished, and nothing prevented my supplying your backwardness but my total ignorance in articles, which might suit you. mr Eppes’s election will I am in hopes secure me your company next winter, and perhaps you may find it convenient to accompany your sister in the spring. mr Giles’s aid indeed in Congress, in support of our administration, considering his long knoledge of the affairs of the Union, his talents, and the high ground on which he stands through the United States, had rendered his continuance here an object of anxious desire to those who compose the administration: but every information we recieve states that prospect to be desperate from his ill health, and will relieve me from the imputation of being willing to lose to the public so strong a supporter, for the personal gratification of having yourself & mr Eppes with me. I inclose you Lemaire’s reciepts. the orthography will be puzzling and amusing; but the reciepts are valuable. present my tender love to your sister, kisses to the young ones, and my affection to mr Randolph & mr Eppes whom I suppose you will see soon. be assured of my unceasing & anxious love for yourself.
RC (Gabriel Wells, New York City, 1946); at foot of text: “Mrs. Eppes.” PrC (CSmH); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosure not found, but see below.
mr eppes’s election: after his term as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Chesterfield ended on 29 Jan. 1803, John Wayles Eppes was elected in April as a representative to the Eighth Congress. He began his term with the fall 1803 session (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, Richmond, 1978 description ends , 227; Richmond Virginia Argus, 30 Apr. 1803).
ill health prompted the retirement of William Branch Giles, whom some speculated had plans to run for governor. He complained to Madison of an “inflexible perseverance” of rheumatic symptoms and observed that TJ’s message to Congress had so clearly marked the path to be followed that there would be no occasion for his services (New-York Herald, 25 Dec. 1802; Charleston Courier, 16 June 1803; Giles to Madison, 6 Jan. 1803, in DLC: Madison Papers; Vol. 38:81).