Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from John Wayles Eppes, 10 February 1803

From John Wayles Eppes

Eppington Feb: 10th: 1803.

Dear Sir,

From the want of time your last letter received a few days before I left Richmond was not acknowledged. Maria arrived here just one week before the Legislature finally adjourned. She was in good health herself but was very near loosing our little Francis on the road between Edge hill and this place. From cold or cholick or some other cause he became lifeless in an instant in the carriage and most probably would have expired but for the friendly aid of mr. Randolph who hastened back with him in his arms to a house and procured a warm bath by which he was gradually restored.

By a letter from Mr Lilly I learn that he has failed in hiring hands for the levelling at Pant-Ops. The terror of Pages name he says prevented the possibility of hiring them. This shall not in future be a bar to our operations there—It has been long my wish to part with Page notwithstanding his skill and industry—& nothing but my being unable to procure a suitable character last year would have caused me to continue him longer. I will however at any rate part with him at the end of the present year, and indeed if I was myself perfectly satisfied with his conduct, such an evidence of the publick sentiment against him would induce me to give him up.

We shall meet you at Monticello early in March—The necessity of my being at the different Courts of the district in the month of March will prevent my seeing much of you while at Monticello. It is probable I shall have no competitor in the District as no one has as yet come forward.

I enclose you the Report of the committee appointed to ascertain the amount of the debt due from the Commonwealth of Virginia on which subject you made some inquiry during the last year—

accept for your health & happiness the warm wishes of Maria & myself—

Yours sincerely

Jno: W: Eppes

When you write direct to city point as we shall be at home in a few days and continue there until we set out for Edge-hill—

RC (ViU: Edgehill-Randolph Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 16 Feb. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found, but see below.

The Virginia legislature finally adjourned on 29 Jan. (Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Dec. 1802–Jan. 1803, 71).

terror of pages name: William Page, overseer of Eppes’s plantation at Pantops, had a reputation as a cruel manager who needed to be moderated (Stanton, Free Some Day description begins Lucia Stanton, Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello, Charlottesville, 2000 description ends , 39, 42, 43; Vol. 30:56).

report of the committee: on 18 Dec. 1802, the Virginia House of Delegates appointed a committee “to enquire into the state of the debts due from the commonwealth,” to determine the amount of revenue and expenditures for the past year, and estimate the appropriations needed for the ensuing year. Daniel Sheffey submitted a report on behalf of the committtee on 8 Jan. 1803, with the caveat that the lack of proper records prevented precise reporting. He calculated the probable amount of the public debt as of 1 Oct. 1802 as $184,399, with revenue for 1801 of $296,289 and expenditures exceeding revenue by $23,529. For the year beginning on 30 Sep. 1802, the committee anticipated expenses of $308,443 and resources of $511,201 to meet those obligations. The committee did not recommend raising taxes and ordered 250 copies of the report to be printed for the use of members of the general assembly (Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Dec. 1802–Jan. 1803, 19, 47–9).

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