Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Barnabas McShane, 28 June 1803

To Barnabas McShane

Washington June 28. 1803.


Genl. John Armstrong of Cincinnati having paid the sum of 4 D. 75c for a friend of mine at my request, he desires me to place it in your hands to his credit. I have no means of doing this but in an Alexandria bank bill of 5. D. which I am in hopes you will be able either to exchange or pay away.—Accept my best wishes.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr. Barnabas Mc.Shane. 43. N. 3d. street”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

A native of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Barnabas McShane (1747–1803) received a captain’s commission in the Philadelphia militia during the American Revolution. After the war, he became a merchant, importer, and innkeeper in Philadelphia. In 1787, he purchased the Harp and Crown tavern at 43 North Third Street. A charter member of the local Hibernian Society, he died leaving an estate valued at $10,000 (Joseph R. Klett, ed., Genealogies of New Jersey Families: From the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, 2 vols. [Baltimore, 1996], 1:526; W. A. Newman Dorland, “The Second Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry,” PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1877- description ends , 46 [1922], 363–4; Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, 20 June 1788).

a friend of mine: Tadeusz Kosciuszko. According to TJ’s financial memoranda, on 28 June he enclosed $5 to McShane on order of Armstrong “to repay taxes of Genl. Kosciuzko’s land.” In 1800, Armstrong had purchased bounty lands in Franklin County, Ohio, on Kosciuszko’s behalf, but two years later the Polish exile sold the land to Madame Louise Françoise Felix (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 , 2:1104; Vol. 31:560–1; Vol. 32:245; Vol. 39:202–3).

McShane replied to TJ on 2 July, acknowledging receipt of this letter and crediting the $5 enclosed to Armstrong whom he would advise of the “Rect. thereof By Next Post in your Name” (RC in MHi; endorsed by TJ as received 5 July and so recorded in SJL).

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