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John Barnes to Thomas Jefferson, 11 October 1814

From John Barnes

Ge[orge] Town 11th Octr 1814—

Dear Sir—

Your favr 30th Ulto reached me last Evening, Covering five dollar Alexa Bank Note. they pass Currt with us. and I trust will continue so to do—

and I regret to perceive they’re refused in exchange even for Virga paper,—Not to Accomodate with so near a Neighbour—whose late Misfortunes Shd rather excite Compassion—and Assistance—then fear of their not being able to repair their unavoidable losses—,—the1 present distresses of our Banks’ Circulation—Arises chiefly between the Northern2 and Southern Banks. the latter being all indebted to the former—The Philada and N York merchts having been Accustomed to forward their Customers Notes of hand made payable at the place of their Residence—viz Geo Town Alexa Richmond, & Petersburg—to the Cashiers of those several Banks untill they were obliged from necessity to refuse Collecting them—it is however presumed some Accomodation will soon take place between Certain of the Northern & southern Cashiers—in Order to Accomodate each Other—at this distressing time in Bank Circulation—and thereby prevent the fatal consequences3 which might Otherwise follow.—the best Established Banks—will I trust stand their ground—at a depreciated Value—as to Stock—and dividend. the Others of less Stability will risque perhaps—their existance—those Banks who have already Subscribed to the loans—has so far reduced their Capital—which they cannot now replace—but at very considerable loss.—wil[l ne]vertheless recive a hansome Interest—and thereby be inabled to pay a Reasonable dividend.

the failure in the late Loan—is of all—the most unfortunate at this Crisis of our Public Affairs—and some effectual Remedy must—and I trust—will soon be Applied—the present good spirits of the Army and Navy must be incouraged & supported—their Continued successes are beyond our most sanguin expectations—to damp their Ardor for the want of Resources would be fatal—in the extreme—More especially—as we are now freed from a lingering Suspense,—more dangerous in its Consequences—then a determined Resolution—(however to be dreaded.) by either—to abide—and to be decided—by the length of the Sword,—all party disputes We may now expect to be buried—and with one United Voice and Arm to Resist—rather then submit to such degrading Ignominous terms, and Conditions—as proposed (Knowing they could not4 be Assented to,)—Our Invoys, will I hope be soon hailed—on their5 safe Arrival, with repeated Acclamations of Joy and triumph,—the Resources of the Country are more then sufficient6—for the Occasion—and I trust will be7 drawn forth, and Acquiesce in, with Cheerfullness and full Confidince as to the Result—Another successfull Campaign, will have—I expect the like effect of that in which—(you will Recollect) when Doctr Franklin and if I mistake not Mr Adams met the Admiral and his Bror Genl How—at Staten Island [in] 1776—

Excuse my hasty involuntary Ideas. they press upon me irresistably8—that I cannot restrain myself—from expressing them—

Yours most sincerely & obedt

John Barnes,

PS. it is with equal sentiments of Congratulation—at the fortunate Circumstance of my being inabled to close the good Genl K— Bank stock at so adventageous a Crisis and transpose the proceeds in the late Loan—on the like adventageous terms—but not yet particularly9 adjusted—

RC (ViU: TJP-ER); torn at seal; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 14 Oct. 1814 and so recorded in SJL.

Since the outbreak of the War of 1812, Congress had authorized loans for up to $48.5 million (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, 1845–67, 8 vols. description ends , 2:798–9, 3:75–7, 111–2 [8 Feb., 2 Aug. 1813, 24 Mar. 1814]). Treasury Secretary George W. Campbell effectively conceded the failure in the late loan by reporting to the United States Senate late in September that only $4.3 million had been raised out of $25 million in borrowing authorized on 24 Mar. 1814 (ASP, Finance, 2:841–2). A committee of the Continental Congress composed of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rutledge adamantly refused to reconsider the issue of America’s independence from Great Britain during a meeting with Admiral Richard Howe (General William Howe being absent) on staten island in September 1776 (Leonard W. Labaree and others, eds., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin [1959– ], 22:598–605). genl k—: Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

1Manuscript: “thee.”

2Manuscript: “Northen.”

3Manuscript: “consiquences.”

4Word interlined.

5Manuscript: “they.”

6Manuscript: “suffient.”

7Manuscript: “and will I trust will be.”

8Manuscript: “irrestably.”

9Manuscript: “particular.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; meeting with R. Howe search
  • Alexandria, Va.; banks in search
  • American Revolution; and meeting with R. Howe search
  • Army, U.S.; morale of search
  • Bank of Alexandria; notes issued by search
  • Bank of Pennsylvania; stock owned by T. Kosciuszko search
  • banks; currency issued by search
  • banks; distressed situation of search
  • banks; in Va. search
  • banks; J. Barnes on search
  • Barnes, John; and T. Kosciuszko’s American investments search
  • Barnes, John; letters from search
  • Barnes, John; on prospects for peace search
  • Barnes, John; on stability of banks search
  • Barnes, John; on wartime finance search
  • Barnes, John; TJ pays search
  • Campbell, George Washington; as secretary of the treasury search
  • Congress, U.S.; loans contracted by search
  • Continental Congress, U.S.; and meeting with R. Howe search
  • currency; paper search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; meeting with R. Howe search
  • Georgetown, D.C.; banks in search
  • Ghent; peace negotiations at search
  • Great Britain; peace with search
  • Howe, Richard, Earl Howe; as British admiral search
  • Howe, William; as British general search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and T. Kosciuszko’s American investments search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; payments to J. Barnes search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; and investment in U.S. government loan search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; Bank of Pennsylvania stock of search
  • merchants; and bills of exchange search
  • New York (city); merchants in search
  • Petersburg, Va.; banks in search
  • Philadelphia; merchants in search
  • Richmond, Va.; banks in search
  • Rutledge, Edward; meets with R. Howe search
  • Senate, U.S.; mentioned search
  • Virginia; banks in search
  • War of1812; and peace negotiations search
  • War of1812; U.S. financing of search