Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas, 16 October 1816

To Wilson Cary Nicholas

Monticello Oct. 16. 16.

Dear Sir

I learn that you have recieved Dr Byrd’s journal on the survey of our Southern boundary, from mr Harrison of Barclay. it is a work I have wished to see, and if you think yourself at liberty, when done with it, to trust it in my hands for perusal only, it shall be promptly and safely returned by mail. if you do not feel entirely free to do this, I will write to request it of mr Harrison. I set out within 3. or 4. days for Poplar forest to remain there 6. weeks. it would come by the Lynchburg mail as safely to that as this place. I salute you with affection & respect

Th: Jefferson

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Govr Nicholas”; endorsed by Nicholas. PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of John Barnes to TJ, 3 Oct. 1816; endorsed by TJ.

William Byrd (1674–1744) composed two histories of his 1728 expedition to survey Virginia’s southern boundary. The first, which was evidently prepared with the intent of publication, was finally printed in an 1841 collection of his works as The History of the Dividing Line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina. TJ received through Nicholas by January 1817 the second manuscript version, Byrd’s secret narrative, which was a more frank, critical, and even satirical account (DVB description begins John T. Kneebone and others, eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, 1998– , 3 vols. description ends ; Louis B. Wright, ed., The Prose Works of William Byrd of Westover [1966], 1–2, 19–20, 417–23; TJ to Peter S. Du Ponceau, 26 Jan. 1817; TJ to Nicholas, 19 Mar. 1817).

Benjamin Harrison lived at Berkeley (barclay), his family’s estate in Charles City County.

Index Entries

  • Byrd, William (1674–1744); The History of the Dividing Line search
  • Byrd, William (1674–1744); The Secret History of the Line search
  • Harrison, Benjamin (1787–1842); and W. Byrd manuscripts search
  • Lynchburg, Va.; mail service to search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); and W. Byrd manuscripts search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); letters to search
  • North Carolina; boundary with Va. search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • surveying; and Virginia–North Carolina boundary search
  • The History of the Dividing Line (W. Byrd [1674–1744]); manuscript of search
  • The Secret History of the Line (W. Byrd [1674–1744]) search
  • Virginia; boundary of with N.C. search