Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Thweatt, 1 June 1810

To Archibald Thweatt

Monticello June 1. 10.

Dear Sir

Yours of May 28 is just recieved, & I return the account of Farrel & Jones against B.S. which it covered. the paiments of F. & J. of Sep. 7. 69. on mr Wayles’s draughts debited to B.S. I cannot explain by memory, & especially as I have not mr W’s papers to turn to but when I consider that mr W’s acct against B.S. was settled most carefully by himself & is in his ledger in his own handwriting, that this transaction was 4. years before his death, that the entries are continued thro’ the whole subsequent period of his life, & knowing as I do that he was the most exact man in the world in his accounts, his omission of these paiments is the most satisfactory evidence to me that they ought not to enter into his accounts, or if they do, that the purposes for which they were paid ought also to be1 entered against them. I imagine your conjecture is the true one, that they were for debts of B.S. to McCaul, to Syme & Pearson & to Cochrane or persons whose orders they might hold2 which he paid by draughts on F & J. ‘on account of B.S.’s estate’ to which they were charged, & that neither the draughts nor the debts paid by them entered into his account. the people of that day know how habitually the want of a money circulation was supplied by the circuitous mode of orders, so that a debt from A. to B. from B. to C. from C. to D. Etc through the whole alphabet would be paid by a single order assigned from the one to the other, discharging all the debts, & no one, in his private entries, stating the transaction so as to explain it to a stranger. B.S. may not have owed the debt to McCaul Etc but to other persons who may have given the orders on Mr W. and after a lapse of 40. years the transaction may be inexplicable to us. you will do well however to examine 1. mr W’s pocket memm book of the date. 2. his 4to memm books in which the very short extempore entries of the other were journalised when he got home. 3. the account between B.S. & F. & J. as kept by mr Wayles if there be such an one in his ledger or among his papers. 4. his letters to F. & J. of about that date & theirs to him3 for explanation. 5. McCaul’s books in possession of James Lyle, & Syme & Pearson’s & D. Cochraine’s books wherever they are. Syme & Pearson were merchants of Hanover. I forget where Cochrane lived. be assured that mr Wayles has not omitted so large an entry but for good cause. looking into mr Skelton’s papers on this occasion, I find some respecting paiments for Littlepage’s exrs & to D. Ross which perhaps had better be filed with mr Wayles’s. the whole purchase of negroes from Littlepage was near 900.£ to which a good deal of interest was added.

The walnut plank for which you think a credit will be demanded, was cut in B.S’s lifetime. you will see in mr W’s acct a charge of 1770. Nov. 8. for it’s transportation to Westham.he sold it to James Donald a cabinet maker of Richmond, who became bankrupt soon after & the money was lost. this is stated in my answer. I inclose you some papers respecting walnut plank delivered to D. Ross. it is without date or other explanation. it may perhaps throw some light on questions relating to the disposal of that article.I salute mrs Thweatt & yourself with affection

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of first page: “Mr Thweatt”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosures not found.

b.s.: Bathurst Skelton.

1 TJ here canceled “paid.”

2Preceding seven words interlined.

3Preceding four words interlined.

Index Entries

  • building materials; plank search
  • Cochrane (Cochraine), D. search
  • Donald, James (of Richmond) search
  • Farell & Jones (British firm); B. Skelton’s account with search
  • Farell & Jones (British firm); J. Wayles’s account with search
  • Gilliam v. Fleming; and settlement of accounts search
  • Henderson, Mc Caul, & Company (Scottish firm); B. Skelton’s debt to search
  • Littlepage, Mr. search
  • Lyle, James; agent for Henderson, McCaul, & Co. search
  • McCaul, Alexander search
  • Ross, David; payments to search
  • Ross, David; plank delivered to search
  • Skelton, Bathurst; and Gilliam v. Fleming search
  • slaves; J. Wayles buys search
  • Syme & Pearson (Hanover, Va. firm) search
  • Thweatt, Archibald; and Gilliam v. Fleming search
  • Thweatt, Archibald; letters to search
  • Thweatt, Lucy Eppes (Archibald Thweatt’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Wayles, John (TJ’s father-in-law); and Farell & Jones search
  • Wayles, John (TJ’s father-in-law); and Gilliam v. Fleming search
  • Westham, Va.; plank delivered to search