Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to John Barnes, 27 July 1798

To John Barnes

Monticello July 27. 98.

Dear Sir

I was taken on my journey with sore eyes, and have continued so ill with them, & still am, as to be unable to do business almost entirely. nevertheless my anxiety on account of payments I have to make in Philadelphia obliges me to address you. on sending my accounts to my nailcustomers on my return home, I find them as much unprepared for prompt paiment as if they had never expected my return. they make me good promises for the ensuing month. but if they perform them, it will not be in time for my Philadelphia purposes. I had therefore hoped to have heard from you whether my note for a sum at 60 days from Aug. 1. could be discounted at the bank. perhaps the derangement of our post, which now takes 15. days to bring a letter has prevented my hearing from you. I therefore inclose you such a note for 1250. D. payable 60. days from Aug. 4. for discount at the bank, where as they know they will have the money in their own hands, I imagine they will discount […]. in that case be so good as to pay Joseph Roberts 370. Doll. […] Charles Wharton 69 45/100 Millreas at the proper [exchange], & [remit] 200. Dollars to Chas. Johnston & co. keeping the residue first to [make] up whatever balance you may have against […]. satisf[…] [this?] […] subject to my order if you have […]ed the [two sums?] of 250. & 240. D. I left you the notes for, they […] [have rec]overed your advances. I shall be very anxious to hear from you, and to know that these deficits of mine are made up: and as soon as I hear from you, & not before, I will write to the persons. I am with great esteem Dear [Sir]

Your friend & servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (CSmH); faint; at foot of text: “Mr. John Barnes”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosure: Promissory note, 4 Aug. 1798, to pay $ 1,250 to Barnes’s order at the Bank of the United States in 60 days “for value received” (MS in MHi; entirely in TJ’s hand; signed; canceled).

According to TJ’s financial memoranda, the payment to Joseph Roberts was for nailrod furnished on 1 Apr. and that to Charles Wharton was for John Bulkeley & Son of Lisbon. After making those payments and the one to Johnston, Barnes was to apply the remainder of the note to “any balance due to himself.” As indicated by TJ’s letter to Barnes at 31 Aug. below, the merchant returned the promissory note because it was not on stamped paper as the law required (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:812, 829, 988, 989–90).

According to SJL TJ’s only correspondence with Charles Wharton was a letter from TJ to Wharton of 29 Sep. 1798 that has not been found.

Earlier in 1798 TJ wrote the following drafts on Barnes: one of 5 Jan. 1798 to pay Dr. David Jackson $125.75 for an obligation from TJ to Dr. William Wardlaw; drafts of 9 Jan. and 26 Feb. 1798, for $18.50 and $21.50, respectively, to pay Thomas Dobson for books; another dated 9 Jan. 1798 for $18.00 to John Innes, a purveyor of copying presses who was to pay blacksmith and printing press maker Henry Ouram “for alteration of copying press”; one of 19 Jan. 1798 for payment of $25 to Thomas Leiper “in Charity”; a draft of 25 Jan. 1798 to pay E. Vredenburgh $50.70 for the purchase of “3. pieces furniture cotton”; one dated 21 Feb. 1798 to pay Joseph B. Barry $39 “for mahogany work”; one of 27 Feb. 1798 ordering Barnes to pay Edward Shoemaker $200 for Fleming & McClenahan, and another on 17 Apr. 1798 for payment of $7.50 to Shoemaker for a bridle; one of 3 May 1798 to pay Philadelphia saddler and harness maker William Phillips $23 “for a saddle &c.”; and one dated 5 May 1798 for $9 to china merchant Andrew Stevenson “for 9 china dishes” (all in MHi, entirely in TJ’s hand and signed by him, endorsed by Barnes and canceled; for details of the transactions, see MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:973, 976, 977, 978, 979, 981, 982).

A letter from Barnes to TJ, written at Philadelphia on 7 Mch. 1798 and received the following day, and another of 18 July received on 12 Aug., are recorded in SJL but have not been found.

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