Thomas Jefferson Papers

Agreement with John Randolph, 11 [April?] 1771

Agreement with John Randolph

October [i.e., April?] 11th, 1771.

It is agreed between John Randolph, Esq., of the City of Williamsburg, and Thomas Jefferson, of the County of Albemarle, that in case the said John shall survive the said Thomas, that the Executors or Administrators of the said Thomas shall deliver to the said John 100 pounds sterling of the books of the said Thomas, to be chosen by the said John, or if not books sufficient, the deficiency to be made up in money: And in case the said Thomas should survive the said John, that the Executors of the said John shall deliver to the said Thomas the violin which the said John brought with him into Virginia, together with all his music composed for the violin, or in lieu thereof, if destroyed by any accident, 60 pounds sterling worth of books of the said John, to be chosen by the said Thomas. In witness whereof the said John and Thomas have here-unto subscribed their names and affixed their seals the day and year above written.



Sealed and delivered in presence of:

G. Wythe, P. Henry, jr. Wm. Johnson,
Tho’s Everard, Will. Drew, Ja. Steptoe.
Richard Starke,

Virginia, ss.

At a general court held at the capitol on the 12th day of April, 1771, this agreement was acknowledged by John Randolph and Thomas Jefferson, parties thereto, and ordered to be recorded.



MS not located. Text from Randall, Life description begins Henry S. Randall, The Life of Thomas Jefferson description ends , i, 131, from a copy said to have been furnished by Richard Randolph from the records of the General Court.

The MS copy furnished to Randall must have been very defective, and he not only failed to correct it but perhaps added other errors. The dates are inconsistent: an agreement recorded on 12 April could not have been made in the following October; we have followed Ford in arbitrarily fixing on the April date. Randall’s text gives the value of the books TJ is to deliver to Randolph as £800, an absurdly large sum; this has been corrected to £100 on the authority of TJ’s Account Book entry for 17 Aug. 1775, which notes that this agreement has been canceled; see also TJ to Randolph, 25 Aug. 1775. Thomas Everard, not “Everand” as printed by Randall, was clerk of the committee of the courts of justice (JHB description begins Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619–1776, Richmond, 1905–1915 description ends , 1770–1772, p. 101, 158).

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