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John Tayloe to Thomas Jefferson, 27 July 1813

From John Tayloe

July–27th 1813


I trust you will excuse the liberty I take—in having the honor to enclose you the within letter—as it contains money I was fearfull it might miscarry—is the cause why I trouble you—

very respectfully I am sir Your obedt Servt—

John Tayloe

RC (MHi); dateline beneath signature; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello—near Milton—Va”; franked; postmarked 28 July; endorsed by TJ as received 30 July 1813 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

John Tayloe (1771–1828), public official and iron manufacturer, was born at Mount Airy plantation in Richmond County and schooled in England at Eton College, 1788–89, and at Saint John’s College, Cambridge University, before returning to the United States in 1792. He represented Richmond County in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1793 and served in the Senate of Virginia for four sessions between 1798 and 1802. Tayloe owned land in several counties in Virginia, in Maryland, and in Washington, D.C., where he hired the architect William Thornton to design a home that became known as the Octagon and cost him just over $28,000. During the War of 1812 Tayloe commanded cavalry troops in Washington. He bred and raced horses for contests in and near that city, allegedly selling one for $3,500 in 1803. Tayloe was reputedly the wealthiest man in Virginia during his lifetime, and he left sizable bequests to his children (John Venn and John A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900 [1922–54], pt. 2, 6:119; Leonard, General Assembly; 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 , 2:1235; Charles M. Harris and Daniel Preston, eds., Papers of William Thornton [1995– ], 1:492, 576–8, 584–8; Orlando Ridout, Building the Octagon [1989]; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.  Congress. Ser., 17 vols.  Pres. Ser., 6 vols.  Sec. of State Ser., 8 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 4:240–1; Wilhelmus Bogart Bryan, A History of the National Capital: From its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Organic Act [1914–16], 1:304, 609; Wesley E. Pippenger, comp., District of Columbia Probate Records: Will Books 1 through 6 1801–1852 and Estate Files 1801–1852 [1996; repr. 2003], 143–4; Richmond Enquirer, 7 Mar. 1828).

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