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Thomas Jefferson to George Jefferson, 1 May 1809

To George Jefferson

Monticello May. 1. 09.

Dear Sir

Yours of the 21st & 24th are recieved. the amount of my crop of tobo is much less than I expected. Griffin is a good overseer, but has the fault of never writing to me; so that I never learn the amount of my crop of tobo till it gets to your hands. he had informed me that the frost had been very fatal to his tobo & as I supposed from his expression, had killed about one third. I now find it falls short two thirds. it will therefore make a much less impression on my note to mrs Tabb than I had hoped. however it must do what it can. I would not have you hesitate should the late pacification have enabled you to get 7.D. and in consideration of it’s bad quality I leave to your judgment to take 6.D. the accomodation with England only opens her market, & unless the French decrees are revoked (which may be doubted) we shall still be excluded from the continent. I must pray you to remit to David Gelston of N. York 18. D 25 C the freight & duty of some boxes of wine he will forward to you for me, & after paying yourself your commission & any balance which may be due you, to apply the proceeds of my tobo to mrs Tabb’s demand, always doing first with Griffin’s proportion, what he shall direct, as I do not wish ever to have that enter into my accounts.

I am sorry to find there is danger that my trunk No 28. may have miscarried. among my packages from Washington were only 3. trunks, No 26. 27. containing books & No 28. containing chiefly stationary, but other things also of value. you sent me 3. trunks No 26. & 27. & a small empty trunk of a dollar or two value, having no mark, & not being mine. (I forgot to return it by the last boats) No 28. is a hair trunk, square, of about 6. or 7. feet cubic contents, & very heavy.1 besides the large stock of stationary which it contained and which was of considerable value it contained a pocket telescope of 5. guineas sterling cost, a Dynamometer just recieved from France of 4. guineas, and other things which I do not recollect. for in the hurry of our packing I noted only the principal article in each package & therefore shall not know every thing in this trunk, but as I recollect them & find they are not here; as every other package is arrived safe. I am still in hopes that a conference between mr Randolph’s boatmen & the draymen may trace it to it’s deposit—perhaps it may have been mis-delivered to a boat of some other destination. perhaps sent in lieu of the little empty trunk which came to me by mistake. it’s contents could be no object of plunder to draymen or boatmen.I salute you with affectionate attachment

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of first page: “Mr George Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ.

Despite TJ’s complaints of his never writing to me, Burgess Griffin wrote TJ on 15 Apr., 26 June, and 26 Sept. 1809 (letters not found but recorded in SJL as received from Poplar Forest on 23 Apr., 5 July, and 29 Sept. 1809). SJL also records a missing letter of 6 May 1809 from TJ to Griffin, the overseer at Poplar Forest from 1801 to 1811 (Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, 1953 description ends , 517).

my note to mrs tabb: Frances Peyton Tabb was a wealthy Amelia County landowner who made a private loan to TJ of $8,000 through Abraham Venable for six months beginning in January 1809 (Gibson & Jefferson to TJ, 20 Jan. 1809 [MHi]; Venable to TJ, 28 Jan. 1809 [DLC]; 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 , 2:1238, 1246, 1252; Williamsburg Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon], 22 Mar. 1770).

1Preceding three words interlined.

Index Entries

  • dynamometers; lost in transit search
  • Gelston, David; sends wine to TJ search
  • Griffin, Burgess; letters from accounted for search
  • Griffin, Burgess; letters to accounted for search
  • Griffin, Burgess; Poplar Forest overseer search
  • Jefferson, George (TJ’s cousin); letters to search
  • overseers; report plantation activities search
  • paper; in lost trunk search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Overseers at; report plantation activities search
  • Richmond, Va.; tobacco prices at search
  • Tabb, Frances Peyton; loan from search
  • telescopes; lost in transit search
  • tobacco; price of in Richmond search
  • trunk, lost in return from Washington; contents of search
  • trunk, lost in return from Washington; presumed lost search
  • Venable, Abraham; and bank loan search