Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 14 October 1816

To William Short

Monticello Oct. 14. 16.

Dear Sir

A circumstance has occurred here which will occasion a drawback of about 30.D. in mr Higgenbotham’s last payment to you. a law was past here some 2. or 3. years ago subjecting lands to be sold for any payment of taxes uncredited on the sheriffs books without limitation of time, unless the party could produce proof of payment; and 10. p.c. interest required from the date. and no notice was required to be given to the party to produce his proofs. the extent of injury perpetrated by this law is incalculable. I heard by mere accident that your land was advertized to be sold for nonpayment of taxes for the year 1799. being 17. years ago. I attended court, proved by several persons who had been sheriffs that I had always paid your taxes with my own, and included in the same draught on Richmond. I proved a draught of 106.64 D on Gibson & Jefferson for taxes that year, & the sheriffs rect but it did not specify that it included yours (for none of my draughts for any year did that) the sheriff declared in court that he was new in office that year, did not know that I acted for you, that he did not apply for1 the taxes, nor recieve them. I was absent a great part of that year at Philadelphia, and think it very possible they were not paid. I observe they were not charged in my account with you; but the mass of business I was always engaged in, and my absences from home prevented2 a rigorous attention to making these entries,3 altho’ the Sheriff’s books prove your taxes were paid every other year. they were about 10.D. for the year 99. and with interest at 10. p. cent per annum the court gave judgment for about 30.D. which mr Higgenbotham paid.

I got home from Bedford on the 5th inst. and shall return there on the 19th to remain until the 1st of December.I was happy to recieve Correa’s & Dr Wistar’s visits before I went, and foresee thatthe season will be too much advanced when I return to expect or ask that of Marshal Grouchy. mais tout ce qui est differé n’est pas perdu. when the pleasant season returns the Marshal may probably find it agreeable to take a tour thro’ our country, on which it would give me great pleasure to recieve and possess him here as long as his own convenience would permit. we should wish to make it his home, from which as a center he could make his excursions in every direction.I salute you with affectionate esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViW: TJP); edge frayed, with missing text supplied from PoC; at foot of first page: “Mr Short”; endorsed by Short as received 19 Oct. 1816. PoC (MHi); on reused address cover of James Mease to TJ, 7 Aug. 1816; torn at seal, with missing text rewritten by TJ; endorsed by TJ.

David Higginbotham’s last payment toward the purchase of Short’s Indian Camp property had been made the preceding May (enclosure to TJ to Short, 10 Feb. 1813). The law passed some 2. or 3. years ago was the 9 Feb. 1814 “Act to amend and explain the Act, entitled ‘An act concerning Taxes on Lands’” (Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1813–14 sess.], 15–27, esp. 21). TJ attended court to settle Short’s tax obligations on 5 Aug. 1815 (Albemarle Co. Order Book [1816–18], 18).

On 17 Sept. 1799 TJ gave Albemarle County sheriff Edward Garland an order “on G. Jefferson for 106.64” for taxes that year (MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1006). mais tout ce qui est differé n’est pas perdu: “but not all that is postponed is lost.”

1Preceding two words interlined in place of “recieve.”

2TJ here canceled “my.”

3Reworked from “making entries, as they.”

Index Entries

  • Albemarle County, Va.; sheriff of search
  • Albemarle County, Va.; taxation of property in search
  • Albemarle County Court, Va. search
  • An Act to amend and explain the Act, entitled ‘An act concerning Taxes on Lands’ (1814) search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; visits Monticello search
  • Garland, Edward (d.1817); as sheriff search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); payments made for TJ search
  • Grouchy, Emmanuel, marquis de; U.S. travels of search
  • Higginbotham, David; and W. Short’s land search
  • Indian Camp (W. Short’s Albemarle Co. estate); sale of to D. Higginbotham search
  • Indian Camp (W. Short’s Albemarle Co. estate); taxes on search
  • Jefferson, George (TJ’s cousin); payments made for TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and W. Short’s property search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; pays taxes search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); taxes on search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Corrêa da Serra, José search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Wistar, Caspar search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ returns from search
  • Short, William; and Indian Camp search
  • Short, William; letters to search
  • taxes; on land search
  • Wistar, Caspar; visits Monticello search