Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Page, 17 April 1767 [document added in digital edition]

To John Page

Wiliamsburgh April. 17. 1767.

Dear Page.

Your welfare, That of m’rs Page, and your heir apparent give me great joy: but much was I disappointed at not seeing you here today. surely you will visit1 the city some time in the court: do not let family attachments totally rusticate you. in answer to the interrogatories of your letter, I left my wife and family well; I have been in constant health myself and still continue [. . .]. [. . .] I left well, but brought nothing from him except assurances of his friendship; I have never [. . .] from you. you further ask me if I propose to practise in The General Court? yes, Page [. . .] fear and trembling as I speak it! want of resolution has occasioned my deferring an [. . .] business hitherto, and might perhaps have done it perpetually, had not the opening made by so many [. . .] [. . .]’s retiring from the bar have made this time peculiarly proper. I do not however propose to do [. . .] [. . .]ng in court till October: yet the attention to business now become necessary renders it impossible to [. . .] my friends in Glocester before I return, which will be about the 3’d of May. nor am I comforted with any certain prospect of doing it at any future time; since the same obstructions are likely to continue, and even to increase. I shall be here again at the oier court, but that will be only for a day. I have a great scheme to open to you from Carr, Walker, and myself, of which yourself, Fontaine, and Warner Lewis are to make a part. what this is I shall leave to your own surmises till I see you, only assuring you that we have been taking the necessary measures for success on our part, and have a tolerable prospect of not being disappointed. make my compliments to Fontaine and endeavor to bring him over at least for a day or two. if he has made himself an adept in the arts of elocution I would be glad of Sheridan for the service of some other friends who have asked it of me. I wish much to hear something of your domestic affairs; but Nîl mihi rescribas, attamen ipse veni. Willis I am told is on the brink of matrimony; a comfortable prospect, twin infants of arrack! if your debt is not called for soon I am afraid we shall be barred by the act of limitations. make my compls. to m’rs Page, to Mann, to the family at North river, and to your sisters, with an assurance that their and your happiness is principally conducive to that of

Your friend and servant

Th: Jefferson

RC (University Archives, Westport, Connecticut, 2017); torn.

m’rs Page, and your heir apparent: John Page and Frances Burwell Page’s eldest son Mann was born in 1766 (Richard C. M. Page, Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia [New York, 1883], 70-71).

Carr: Dabney Carr. Walker: John Walker. Fontaine: the Reverend James Maury Fontaine, whom TJ recommended in August 1768 as chaplain of the House of Burgesses (Vol. 1:23; Vol. 8:428; Vol. 12:654).

TJ had apparently loaned Fontaine a copy of Thomas Sheridan, A Course of Lectures on Elocution Together with Two Dissertations on Language and Some Other Tracts Relative to Those Subjects (London, 1762). A later edition is listed in Sowerby, No. 4655.

Nîl mihi rescribas, attamen ipse veni: “writing back is pointless, come yourself” (Ovid, Heroides, 1.2; Vol. 28:408).

Francis Willis married Elizabeth Perrin (Lyon G. Tyler, “The Willis Family,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly description ends , 1st ser., 6 [1897], 27).

infants of arrack: TJ, Page, and Willis had previously made a wager for the prize of a large container, or infant, of arrack (Vol. 1:9n).

The Mann Page to whom TJ sent his compliments was John Page’s half-brother. John Page’s sisters included Judith Page and half-sisters Elizabeth Page and Lucy Burwell Page (Page, Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia, 63-4).

1Word interlined in place of “see.”

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