Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Alexander Donald, 25 June 1790

From Alexander Donald

Richmond 25th. June 1790.

Dear Sir

I was sincerely grieved to find that you been indisposed. Your obliging letter of the 13th. has given me some relief. I pray that your next may announce your perfect recovery. No man in the United States wishes you the full and compleat enjoyment of all earthly Blessings more sincerely than I do, and Good health is with great justice ranked amongst the very first of them.

Colo. Heth’s letter has been received by the Publick, as I flattered myself it would be. I find if I may depend on my Friends, that his conduct is universally condemned, and that he has been told so by those who are most intimate with him. I believe he has consulted with Mr. Randolph and Mr. Nelson propriety of prosecuting the suit against Mr. Brown. What opinion they have given I do not know; but I am told by my Friend Mr. Harrison of Brandon that the latter has always told him that the Citizens bill alone entitles Capt. Butler to all the rights and Priviledges of a Citizen. Colo. Heth has gotten duplicates of Butlers deposition, as well as of several others, which I presume he will lay before the Secretary of the Treasury. I will take the liberty of inclosing the whole to you soon, and if they do not prove satisfactory to you I shall be much mistaken indeed.

You have too much reason Sir to think that I have upon every occasion, but however strong appearances are against me, I do assure you that I have ever done my utmost to oblige you. But I am sorry to say that I have not succeeded to my wish. Your Hhd. of hams was sent to Norfolk as soon as it came down, it was put into the vessel from the waggon that brought it down. Of course no time was lost here. I sent it under a particular charge to Mr. Wm. Cuthbert at Norfolk, and I wrote him to forward it directly to you, least it might be injured by the Hot weather, and I desired him to take two receipts for it from the Person who was to carry it to New York, one of which to be sent you, and the other to me; not having heard from him in two or three weeks after the hams were sent from this, I wrote him again about them, and I have written him a third letter since the receipt of your last favour. I hope to hear from him by this night’s Post, if so you will be advised what he says. In the mean time please receive his receipt for the hams.

7. oClo: The Packet letters being arrived, I find there is a prospect of a war between Britain and Spain. I sincerely wish it may turn out so, as I am sure it must be attended with the most beneficial consequence to this Country. But I fear that the Dons will succumb.

I expect to leave this State in two or three weeks. Will you do me the favour to honour me with your commands for Europe? You will oblige me by doing so, and you may be assured that I will attend to them most pointedly. I am with great consideration Dear Sir Your Obt. & mo. humb. St.,

A. Donald

Mr. Brown is this instant returned from Norfolk, and he tells me that your hams are gone forward by Capt. White, who he is told is in a Packet that goes regularly between the two places, from which I hope you have received them by this day.

RC (DLC); endorsed as received 3 July 1790 and so recorded in SJL. Cuthbert’s receipt for the hams was not enclosed (see Donald to TJ, 2 July 1790).

On receiving the present letter, TJ made immediate inquiry for the “parcel of bacon hams,” and on 4 July 1790 wrote to William Cuthbert: “I find that Capt. White has been here and is gone again without saying or leaving a word on the subject. Not knowing the reason of this, and the delay of such a commodity at this season being exactly the loss of it, I must beg the favor of you to forward me his bill of lading or receipt by post” (PrC in DLC; not recorded in SJL). On 14 July 1790 Cuthbert replied: “I am ‥‥. really vexed that in the conveyance of your Cask Hams so great detention has occurred. They arrived here from Richmond when the packet was in the Harbour, the trip before last; I urge the Craftsman to get them out so as then to have them shipped, but from his being loaded with Tobacco they could not be got at until after Capt. White sailed, and from want of opportunity were unavoidably detained till his return. On the 30th. Ulto. I shipped them, and along with White enclosed you one of the Bills of lading” on receiving TJ’s letter, Cuthbert asked White about the shipment, who told him that on his arrival in New York he had sent a letter to TJ “and that the Cask was landed and put into Mr. Daniel Rodmans store” (RC in MHi; endorsed as received 27 July 1790 and so recorded in SJL). Meantime TJ received an undated letter from Cuthbert enclosing the bill of lading (not found but recorded in SJL as received 8 July 1790), and on 1 Aug. 1790 wrote him the following: “I have duly recieved your favor of July 14. and have to thank you for your attention to the Commission Mr. Donald had been so kind as to charge you with for me. Capt. White’s failure to give me notice of his having brought me the hogshead of hams produced no other evil, than the apprehension they would suffer if kept in a hot store house. Upon his return here I sent to him, and received them in good order. The not delivering them sooner had been a mere negligence between him and another person. I have thus thought it my duty not to leave you in a moment’s suspence on this subject” (PrC in MHi).

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