Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Pleasants, 26 January 1810

To James Pleasants

Monticello Jan. 26. 10.

Dear Sir

You were one of the Commissioners (and now I believe the only surviving one) for carrying into execution a decree of the court of Chancery for the sale of a tract of land in Goochland mortgaged to me by the late Wm Ronald to secure a debt. you are therefore acquainted with the case without further explanation. I recieved some time ago, through mr Eppes, a request from Colo Bentley, purchaser of the lands, under the decree. that ‘on paiment of what should be found due, after a proper calculation of interest, I would authorize you to convey the lands to him according to the confirmatory decree of 1806.’ and he sent me at the same time a statement of the paiments made to mr Hanson, which I found conformable with mr Hanson’s statement to me. on this I have calculated the debt, interest, & paiments, as you will see on the next page, and make the balance due £8–16–6 with int. @ 5. pr ct from 1799 Apr. 5. until paid. I also copy Colo Bentley’s statement of the paiments, which will enable you to examine my calculation. on his paiment therefore of the balance abovementioned, or such other as yourself, on examination, shall find more correct, to messrs Gibson and Jefferson in Richmond, on my account, I hereby ‘give him a release for the purchase money,’ as required by the Confirmatory decree, & authorize you to convey the lands to him discharged of all further claims on my part: and if a more formal release than the present be requisite I will sign such proper instrument for that purpose as shall be presented to me on his part. I avail myself of this occasion, & should have been happier in a personal one, of assuring you of my very high esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “James Pleasants esq.”; endorsed by TJ; with enclosure printed below on verso.

James Pleasants (1769–1836) attended the College of William and Mary and was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1791. He represented his native Goochland County in the state House of Delegates, 1797–1802, and was clerk of that body, 1802–11. Pleasants served in the United States House of Representatives, 1811–19, and the United States Senate, 1819–22, was governor of Virginia, 1822–25, and played a prominent role at a state constitutional convention, 1829–30. He was a somewhat independent states’ rights Republican. Pleasants was a cousin of TJ and their correspondence was cordial but confined primarily to official business (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; 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 ; TJ to Pleasants, 26 Dec. 1821; Fredericksburg Virginia Herald, 26 Nov. 1836).

On 9 Jan. 1809 William Bentley sent John Wayles Eppes a statement of the paiments made to Petersburg attorney Richard Hanson, who served as an agent of the British company Farell & Jones (MHi). TJ had been applying these payments to his own debt with that firm.

Index Entries

  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); and W. Bentley search
  • Farell & Jones (British firm); TJ’s payments to search
  • Hanson, Richard; attorney for Farell & Jones search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; account with W. Bentley search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; payments to Farell & Jones search
  • Pleasants, James; and W. Ronald’s estate search
  • Pleasants, James; identified search
  • Pleasants, James; letters to search
  • Ronald, William; estate of search
  • Willis Creek tract (Cumberland Co.); title to lands at search