Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Brown & Robertson, 21 August 1811

To Brown & Robertson

Pop. Forest Aug. 21. 11.

Messrs Brown & Robertson

The accounts handed me by mr Garland have been examined. those from the autumn of 1809. are as I expected; because at that time I directed mr Griffin to have his whole dealings at your store. those preceding that period were unknown to me. it is possible they may have been mentioned to me, altho’ I have no such recollection. but my memory is not sufficiently faithful to enable me to speak positively. but, if mentioned at all, it must have been before that period, while mr Griffin had the disposal of my wheat crops, and every thing except the tobacco, with which, I had taken for granted, all his accounts were kept even. this is mentioned only to apologize for my apparent inattention to these accounts, which would not have taken place had I been aware of them. as it is, provision must be made for their paiment. this cannot suddenly be done. I have sold my wheat of the present year, & am now delivering it to mr Mitchell. the quantity is as yet unknown, and the price depending on that at Richmond within a given time, payable in 60. days from the 5th of September. these uncertainties prevent my knowing the amount of what I may count on from this fund, or being more precise at present than naming some general limits. I shall not, for instance, be able out of it to pay up the whole of the bond, but certainly may more than the half of it. I shall be as anxious as yourselves to go as far into it as possible; and what I cannot pay this year, I must trust to your having the goodness to wait for till the next; and these accounts once brought even, it will certainly be my care to pay the dealings of every year out of the produce of the year. Accept the assurances of my esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (ViU: TJP); endorsed by TJ.

William Brown (d. 1811), the owner of Lynchburg’s first dry-goods store, was a prominent banker, agent, and merchant until his death in the Richmond Theatre fire of 26 Dec. 1811. His partner, Archibald Robertson (d. 1835), continued to do business with TJ into the 1820s, acting as his commission agent in the Lynchburg area and becoming one of his largest creditors. At the time of his death in 1826, TJ owed Robertson almost $6,200. Robertson retired to Amherst County and left a personal estate valued in excess of $17,000, including more than thirty slaves (William Asbury Christian, Lynchburg and Its People [1900], 46–7; Chambers, Poplar Forest description begins S. Allen Chambers, Poplar Forest & Thomas Jefferson, 1993 description ends , esp. 67; Richmond Enquirer, 31 Dec. 1811; 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 , esp. 2:1273–4n, 1386, 1407; Malone, Jefferson description begins Dumas Malone, Jefferson and his Time, 1948–81, 6 vols. description ends , 6:511; Richmond Enquirer, 30 June 1835; Amherst Co. Will Book, 9:137, 140–3).

SJL records letters from TJ to Burgess Griffin of 22 June and 20 July 1811, not found, as well as Griffin’s missing letter to TJ of 3 July 1811, received from Poplar Forest on 11 July 1811.

Index Entries

  • Brown, William (of Lynchburg); identified search
  • Brown & Robertson (Lynchburg firm); identified search
  • Brown & Robertson (Lynchburg firm); letters to search
  • Brown & Robertson (Lynchburg firm); TJ’s account with search
  • Garland, Mr.; employee of Brown & Robertson search
  • Griffin, Burgess; letters from accounted for search
  • Griffin, Burgess; letters to accounted for search
  • Griffin, Burgess; Poplar Forest overseer search
  • Mitchell, William & Reuben (Lynchburg firm); TJ’s transactions with search
  • overseers; accounting practices of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Overseers at; accounting practices of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); wheat grown at search
  • Richmond, Va.; fires in search
  • Richmond, Va.; wheat prices in search
  • Robertson, Archibald; identified search
  • tobacco; and TJ’s debts search
  • wheat; at Poplar Forest search
  • wheat; price of in Richmond search
  • wheat; TJ’s income from search