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Peter Carr to Thomas Jefferson, 7 April 1811

From Peter Carr

Carr’s-brook. April. 7th 1811.

P: Carr To Th. Jefferson

Since I left Monticello, I have spoken to two of the gentlemen, counted on, to aid us in Duane’s affair. Mr Divers says he is averse to it on principle, and Bramham seems entirely unwilling to indorse for us at Bank. Indeed, he evaded the promise even to give any thing. These things are disheartening; and I begin to fear we may fall through, especially as I shall not have an opportunity, of seeing any one again ’till court. I have written today to Mr Wirt on the subject; though from his letter of last week I cannot say, I have very sanguine hopes from that quarter. I have thought it not amiss to give you this sketch of our prospects. Adieu, most affectionately.

RC (ViU: TJP-CC); dateline at foot of text; addressed: “Mr Jefferson Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Apr. 1811 and so recorded in SJL.

Peter Carr (1770–1815), eldest son of TJ’s sister Martha and his close friend Dabney Carr (1743–73), was born in Goochland County and spent much of his early life at Monticello under TJ’s informal guardianship. He studied at Walker Maury’s academies in Orange and Williamsburg, attended the College of William and Mary, 1786–89, and read law under George Wythe and TJ before briefly beginning a legal practice in 1793. Carr represented Albemarle County in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1801–04 and 1807–08. In 1808 he was defeated for reelection, and he lost a state senate campaign the following year. TJ regularly counted on Carr’s political support. For example, when a federal grand jury attacked Samuel J. Cabell for opinions expressed in a circular letter to his congressional constituents, TJ drafted a petition defending him and took it for granted that Carr would present it as his own. In 1803 Carr became a founding trustee of the Albemarle Academy. He joined in the moribund institution’s revival in 1814 and became president of its board, to which TJ was added during a process that eventually led to its evolution into the University of Virginia. Carr himself started a short-lived academy at his Carr’s-brook plantation about 1811 (DVB description begins John T. Kneebone and others, eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, 1998– , 3 vols. description ends ; Elizabeth Dabney Coleman, “Peter Carr of Carrs-Brook [1770–1815],” MACH description begins Magazine of Albemarle County History, 1940– (title varies: issued until 1951 as Papers of the Albemarle County Historical Society) description ends 4 [1943/44]: 5–23; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 32 vols. description ends , esp. 6:379–80, 15:157, 29:490, 31:241; 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, 1978 description ends , 223, 227, 231, 247; Carr’s will, 14 Jan. 1815, ViU: TJP-CC and Albemarle Co. Will Book, 6:129–30; Richmond Enquirer, 1, 4 Mar. 1815).

Index Entries

  • Albemarle Academy search
  • Bramham, Nimrod; and W. Duane search
  • Cabell, Samuel J. search
  • Carr, Martha Jefferson (TJ’s sister); family of search
  • Carr, Peter (TJ’s nephew); and W. Duane search
  • Carr, Peter (TJ’s nephew); boarding school of search
  • Carr, Peter (TJ’s nephew); identified search
  • Carr, Peter (TJ’s nephew); letters from search
  • Carr’s-brook (Peter Carr’s Albemarle Co. estate) search
  • Divers, George; and W. Duane search
  • Duane, William; and Republican supporters search
  • Maury, Walker search
  • Republican party; and proposed loan to W. Duane search
  • schools and colleges; in Albemarle Co. search
  • schools and colleges; P. Carr’s Albemarle Co. school search
  • Wirt, William; and W. Duane search
  • Wythe, George; students of search