Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Craven Peyton, 2 November 1802

To Craven Peyton

Washington Nov. 2. 1802.

Dear Sir

I recieved by last post your favor of Oct. 27. informing me of the purchase of the lands of Bennet Hill Henderson, Eliza Henderson, Frances Henderson, Lucy Henderson & Nancy Henderson for 650. £ and the widow’s dower for £250. certainly I am very glad to get them secured, but the paiment of £650. by the 10th. instant is utterly out of my power. from this time to February I have to pay for [some] parcels of lands adjoining Monticello bought of mr Overton & mr Brown & mr Wells, for the hire of 10. negroes, for 450. barrels of corn, & for work done by workmen this last summer [. . .]1 it was in contemplation of this that I had wished you to put off the paiment for Henderson’s land, if purchased, till some time next year. I am therefore in great pain lest in endeavoring to serve me you should be incommoded yourself. in order to see the earliest time at which I could possibly raise the money, I have taken a rigorous view of all my engagements and probable current expences, & of my resources, and I find that I could pay 1000. D. in the 1st. week of February, 1000. D. in the 1st. week in March, and the remaining 1000. D. in the summer, say by July. should you not be able to make this answer your purpose, I know not what else to propose, having really nothing better in my power. I shall therefore be very anxious to hear from you by return of post or as soon as you can write. accept my friendly respects & best wishes.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (ViU); blurred; at foot of text: “Mr. Craven Peyton”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

In his account statement with Craven Peyton “for Henderson’s lands,” extending from 4 July 1801 to 7 Jan. 1809, TJ recorded the PURCHASE OF THE LANDS, “except the warehouse,” from the Henderson heirs for £650 or $2,166.67 in November 1802. He also entered the purchase of the WIDOW’S DOWER, “except warehouse,” at that date, for £250 or $833.33. TJ recorded a third sum in November 1802 for £140 or $466.67 for “John Henderson’s 102. acres + 6¼ as = 108¼ acres.” TJ allowed £64 or $213.33 for interest on these three sums (MS in MHi). For TJ’s wishes to acquire the land inherited by John Henderson, see TJ to Peyton, 3 Dec. 1801.

HIRE OF 10 NEGROES: in his analysis of expenditures from 4 Mch. 1802 to 4 Mch. 1803, TJ indicated in his financial memoranda under the category “Buildings,” the sum of $200 for “negro hire.” He listed $466.67 under the category “negros” in a column with the heading “Plantation” and indicated “negro hire= maintenance.” On 8 Feb. 1803, TJ recorded payment to George Jefferson of $400 for Christopher Smith for “negro hire” (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1092, 1098).

TJ sent Gabriel Lilly $150 on 7 Dec. in partial payment for corn bought of the Lewises and sent George Jefferson an additional $600 on 8 Feb. 1803 (same, 2:1087, 1092).

Recent WORK DONE BY WORKMEN at Monticello included framing over TJ’s bed; installation of Venetian blinds; completion of dependencies, necessaries, and rooms off the southeast arcade; foundations for the Mulberry Row nailery and the southwest offices; and instructions for the icehouse (Jack McLaughlin, Jefferson and Monticello: The Biography of a Builder [New York, 1988], 296; Malone, Jefferson description begins Dumas Malone, Jefferson and His Time, Boston, 1948–81, 6 vols. description ends , 4:168; Vol. 37:653, 654–5).

INCOMMODED YOURSELF: for Peyton’s own financial pressures at this time from the collapsing family business interests of his father-in-law, Charles L. Lewis, see Boynton Merrill, Jr., Jefferson’s Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy [Princeton, 1976], 50–3, 65.

TJ expressed concern over his CURRENT EXPENCES and RESOURCES in his letter to William Short, printed at 9 Oct. According to his financial memoranda of 23 Feb. 1803, TJ gave Craven Peyton an order on Gibson & Jefferson for $1000 for “part paimt. land.” He enclosed the same amount, on 4 Mch. 1803, to Gibson & Jefferson “to answer the order in favr. of Craven Peyton ante Feb. 23” (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1093).

1Seven or eight illegible words interlined.

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