Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Page, 19 January 1764

To John Page

Devilsburgh Jan: 19. 1764.

Dear Page

The contents of your letter have not a little alarmed me: and really upon seriously weighing them with what has formerly passed between αδνιλεβ and myself I am somewhat at a loss what to conclude. Your ‘semper saltat, semper ridet, semper loquitur, semper solicitat’ &c. appear a little suspicious, but good god! it is impossible! I told you our confab in the Apollo: but I beleive I never told you that we had on another occasion. I then opened my mind more freely and more fully. I mentioned the necessity of my going to England, and the delays which would consequently be occasioned by that. I said in what manner I should conduct myself till then and explained my reasons, which appeared to give that satisfaction I could have wished. In short I managed in such a manner that I was tolerably easy myself without doing anything which could give αδνιλεβ’s friends the least umbrage, were the whole that passed to be related to them. I asked no question which would admit of a categorical answer, but assured αδνιλεβ that such questions would one day be asked. In short were I to have another interview with him I could say nothing now which I did not say then: and were I, with a view of obtaining one, licentiam solicitandi ab iis quibus degit postulare, it would be previously necessary to go the rounds cum custodibus: and after all this he could be in no other situation than he is at present. After the proofs I have given of my sincerity he can be under no apprehensions of a change in my sentiments: and were I to do as my friends advise me, I could give him no better security than he has at present. He is satisfied that I shall make him an offer, and if he intends to accept of it he will disregard those made by others. My fate depends on αδνιλεβ’s present resolutions: by them I must stand or fall: if they are not favorable to me, it is out of my power to say anything to make them so which I have not said already: so that a visit could not possibly be of the least weight, and it is I am sure what he does not in the least expect. I hear you are courting F   y B   l but shall not listen to it till I hear from you. When I was up the country I wrote a letter to you dated Fairfeilds December 25. 1763. Let me know if you have received such a one. As I suppose you do not use your Statutes of Britain if you can lend them to me till I can provide myself with a copy it will infinitely oblige me. Adieu dear Page.

RC (CtY). Unsigned.

Devilsburgh is Williamsburg at this unhappy moment. Page’s letter is lost. Aδνιλεβ is an anagram, slightly disguised by Greek characters, for Belinda (Rebecca Burwell); TJ has attempted, somewhat ineffectually, to reinforce the disguise by using masculine pronouns. F   y B   l: Frances Burwell, daughter of Robert Carter Burwell of Isle of Wight co., who soon afterwards married John Page (VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893- description ends , x [1902–1903], 177; DAB description begins Dictionary of American Biography description ends , under Page). TJ’s letter from “up the country” of 25 Dec. 1763 has not been found.

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