Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Joseph C. Cabell to Thomas Jefferson, 27 December 1814

From Joseph C. Cabell

Richmond. 27 Decr 1814.

Dear Sir

The enclosed letter, which I received under cover of your favor of 16th Oct. having remained a sufficient length of time in my hands, I now return it agreeably to your desire, & beg you to receive my sincere thanks for the communication. I have taken the liberty to keep a copy of it, for my own gratification & instruction & for the occasional perusal of such friends as may be desirous to obtain information. It shall neither go into the papers, nor be indiscreetly used. Should you continue your researches upon finance, or any of the Branches of political economy, you would gratify me extremely by affording me a perusal of your papers. Mr Ritchie has shewn me your Letter on the subject of Tracy’s work on Political economy. This was the first intelligence I have received of that work: & from the manner in which you speak of it, as well as from the high reputation of that illustrious senator, it must be a very interesting production. I therefore entreat the favor of you, in the event of Col: Duane’s not publishing his translation, & of your recovering the French Copy, to give me an opportunity of perusing the latter. I would take particular care of it, & return it safely into your hands in the course of a month or six months: so that none of your other friends who might sollicit a similar favor, shd be disappointed from neglect or tardiness on my part.

The Session will terminate about the end of this or the middle of next week. Our revenue will be swelled by the new taxes we have imposed to a million of Dollars. The Farmer’s Bank have already advanced the sum of $200,000; & are now in treaty with us to advance the1 sum of $800,000—in anticipation of the Revenue. In addition to this, a Loan for a million of Dollars will be attempted, probably on the terms stated in the report of the Committee of Finance of the H. of Delegates, which you have seen in the papers. Constitutional2 difficulties deter many of the members from the idea3 of issuing treasury notes by the State, on the plan of the notes issued at Washington. Auditor’s warrants or certificates, founded on real antecedent transactions between the state & its citizens, bearing 6 pr cent interest, will probably be authorized: & a further authority to fund these certificates at 8 pr cent will probably be given to the Treasurer. In the course of a few days these measures will be decided on. From the commencement of the session, I have entertained doubts whether a million could be borrowed at 8 pr cent: & the money being clearly necessary to prepare the state for defence during the next campaign, I should have been willing & indeed have been desirous to ensure the Loan, by making a contract with the Virginia Bank, on such a scheme of borrowing as wd not have augmented the Currency of bank paper, & yet wd have procured for the state the amt wanted. But the officers of that institution, after first favoring the plan, suddenly tacked about, and put a stop to all ideas of the kind, by demanding such terms as no one can think of granting. We are thrown back on the scheme of a Loan from Individuals at 8 pr cent—which I should greatly prefer, were such a Loan practicable. In order to obtain the funds requisite for the use of the State, we have to wade with patience thro’ the difficulties resulting from diversity of views & opinions in the Houses of assembly, & conflicting, antisocial interests in society. I still hope, however, that we shall provide the sums necessary for the defence of the State, whatever want of system or consistency may appear on the face of our measures. The defence Bill, or Bill for classing the militia is still before the House of Delegates. It will probably be rejected.

Col: Yancey in the course of this session has shewn me a petition Signed by Col: Randolph, the object of which was to obtain the passage of a law authorizing him to open the mountain falls above milton, & to receive a toll on vessels & produce passing the same. I observed to Col: Y. that the object of that petition appeared to m[e in?] conflict with the Charter of the Company with which you have had [so?] much trouble, and advised him to procure from Col: R. an explanatory statement of the reasons that induced the petition: for without shewing that the Company have forfeited their Charter I do not see how we could transfer the powers & rights of the company to an Individual. Perhaps I do not understand Col: R’s views on this subject. Col: Y. has determined to lay over the petition till another Session.A Bill has passed authorizing Wm Wood to open the River from Milton down to Columbia: but in this case, it is understood that the company authorized by a former law has never been formed, & that the law is a dead letter. I need not observe that it would give me great pleasure to serve Col: Randolph—& that I remain

most faithfully & sincerely yr friend

Joseph C. Cabell.

RC (ViU: TJP-PC); damaged at seal; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson esq. Monticello”; franked; postmarked Richmond, 28 Dec.; endorsed by TJ as received 30 Dec. 1814 and so recorded in SJL; with notation by TJ on address cover pertaining to his 5 Jan. 1815 reply to Cabell: “must go further wrong before we shall get right. Tracy’s work Say Auditor’s notes Colo R.” Enclosure: TJ to James Madison, 15 Oct. 1814.

TJ’s 19 Aug. 1814 letter concerning Destutt de Tracy’s work on political economy is noted at TJ to Thomas Ritchie, 27 Sept. 1814. The session of the Virginia General Assembly ended on 19 Jan. 1815 instead of the end of this or the middle of next week (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 , 277). The General Assembly passed legislation allowing the governor of Virginia to borrow $200,000 and up to $800,000 from the farmer’s bank on 18 Nov. and 29 Dec. 1814, respectively (Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1814–15 sess.], 56–7). On 10 Jan. 1815 the legislature authorized a loan of a little more than a million of dollars, repayable through the redemption of certificates carrying an interest rate of up to 8 percent (Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends , 58–9). The defence bill, or bill for classing the militia, did pass into law on 18 Jan. 1815 as “An Act authorizing a Regular Force for the Defence of the Commonwealth” (Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends , 40–52).

No petition written or signed by Thomas Mann Randolph regarding the opening of the mountain falls above milton has been found. The Rivanna Company had sporadically caused TJ much trouble. The former law of 29 Jan. 1811 created the Rivanna River Company and authorized it to improve navigation “from the town of Columbia, in the county of Fluvanna, to the town of Milton, in the county of Albemarle” (Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1810–11 sess.], 42–5; see also Petition of Thomas Jefferson and Others to the Virginia General Assembly, [before 13 Dec. 1810]).

1Manuscript: “the the.”

2Cabell here canceled “scrup.”

3Word interlined in place of “plan.”

Index Entries

  • An Act authorizing a Regular Force for the Defence of the Commonwealth (1815) search
  • An Act authorizing William Wood of the County of Albemarle, to open and improve the navigation of the Rivannah River, and for other purposes (1814) search
  • A Treatise on Political Economy (Destutt de Tracy) search
  • Bank of Virginia (Richmond); and wartime loan to Va. search
  • banks; currency issued by search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; and Destutt de Tracy’s writings search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; and Rivanna River navigation search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; and TJ’s ideas on finance search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; and wartime finance search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; letters from search
  • currency; paper search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; A Treatise on Political Economy search
  • Duane, William; and Destutt de Tracy’s works search
  • Farmers’ Bank of Virginia; and loan to Va. search
  • French language; works written in search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Destutt de Tracy’s works search
  • militia; organization of search
  • political economy; and wartime finance search
  • political economy; TJ’s letters on finance search
  • political economy; works on search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); and navigation of Rivanna River search
  • Richmond, Va.; Farmers’ Bank of Virginia search
  • Ritchie, Thomas; and works of Destutt de Tracy search
  • Rivanna Company; act establishing search
  • Rivanna Company; navigation rights of search
  • Rivanna River; navigation rights search
  • taxes; increased to fund war search
  • Treasury Department, U.S.; treasury notes search
  • Virginia; defense of search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • Virginia; House of Delegates search
  • Virginia; militia search
  • Virginia; treasurer of search
  • Virginia; wartime financing in search
  • Virginia; wartime taxation in search
  • War of1812; U.S. financing of search
  • Wood, William (of Albemarle Co.); and navigation of Rivanna River search
  • Yancey, Charles; as Va. legislator search