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John Barnes to Thomas Jefferson, 29 August 1814

From John Barnes

George [T]own Monday 29h Augt 1814

My Dear Sir,

Your favr 20th recd last Evening—I am really concerned to learn the sacrifice made to advance the $380—thro Mr Gibson—who without remitting me—either in Bank Notes—or, depositing that Amot in the Bank of Richmond and placeg it to my Credit, in the Bank of Cola either of which, he might, and Ought to have done, he Requested of me—to draw—on him—Or—give him instructions to forward the Amot in Bank Notes,—

I have Answered him by this days Mail—and Begged leave to decline1—interfering with your Orders—to him, (at this particular Crisis of Public Affairs)2 and that I will not be responsible for any—but my own Acts: and however desirable3 the sum, would’ve been in Aid of the $2,500, payable the 25h fortunately—in the last extremity, I had the Credit with both the Bank I have, Concerns wth (though not the Cash) to effect the payment Notwithstanding—the confused state of the City, and this Town—whose situation—owing to the perverse4 and most Unfortunate Occurances however distressing—will yet I hope & trust, be preserved from further distruction & disgrace—our remaining troops—and Others expected are pressing forward, and every preparation that our feeble situation will admit of—is in Activity to oppose the Enemys further depredations—against our desolated City &ca—our good President—is Out—inimating and incouraging the troops & Citizens—not to dispair—and be the Event whatever it may even a total defeat—however distressing—will at least preserve—the Remnant of our lofted Honor—by the most unaccountable retreat from Bladensburg thro the City & Geo Town—toward Tennlytown—instead of forming (which our troops in general expected and wished for) on the high grounds nearly opposit the Navy Yard. this fatal Error—must, however unavailing—be Accounted for—what has—or will be done, at Alexandria the confused Accots are so Various—nothing can be depended upon—but should the Enemy be amused but for a few days.—I trust they may judge it proper—after availing themselves of the resources they stand in need off, Flour—Tobacco &ca they may probably—drop down the Potomac—and proceed to Attack some more favorable point of Annoyance—My public papers I removed a week since—for my Private effects (excepting a few necessaries—) remaind with me Alone Mrs Ratcliffe and servants removed—I was at Ease on that Score—Contented to Risque—what it was not in my Power to preserve—leaving the unavoidable Result—to time and Chance—and still in hopes the issue—may be more favorable than our fears induce us—to expect

Beleive me Dear Sir, most truly and Respectfully Your Obedt servant

John Barnes,

PS. Mrs R. & servts returned—to wait the fatal Alarm

RC (ViU: TJP-ER); torn; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 2 Sept. 1814 and so recorded in SJL.

1Manuscript: “declinee.”

2Omitted closing parenthesis editorially supplied.

3Manuscript: “desiable.”

4Manuscript: “preverse.”

Index Entries

  • Alexandria, Va.; surrender of search
  • Bank of Columbia search
  • Bank of Virginia (Richmond); deposits in search
  • Barnes, John; and T. Kosciuszko’s American investments search
  • Barnes, John; letters from search
  • Barnes, John; on defense of Washington search
  • Barnes, John; TJ pays search
  • Barnes, John; TJ’s account with search
  • Gibson, Patrick; payments made for TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; account with J. Barnes search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and T. Kosciuszko’s American investments search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; remittances to search
  • Madison, James; and defense of Washington search
  • Ratcliff (Ratcliffe), Mrs.; flees Washington search
  • Ratcliff (Ratcliffe), Mrs.; works with J. Barnes search
  • War of1812; defense of Washington search
  • War of1812; surrender of Alexandria search
  • Washington (D.C.); defenses of search