Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Isaac Zane, 8 December 1778 [document added in digital edition]

To Isaac Zane

Williamsburgh Dec. 8. 1778.

Dear Zane

I was much disappointed at not meeting with you here for many reasons: one or two of them I will explain to you. my partners in the salt pans having been unable to send for them in due time, the gentleman who had contracted with us to carry on the business chose to decline it. this prevented our sending at all: & considering our great distance from the Salt-waters, they seem now disposed to drop the concern. I think myself bound to offer you the pans in the first place as you let us have them cheap, that if the present advanced price of iron should admit any advantage to be made, that advantage may be yours. I beleive they would expect to add, to the price we gave you, the expence of our express to you which was £5. but if you have more of this commodity than you can dispose of, say so, & I will take other measures with these.   I have not heard from you on the subject of my stoves: nor yet the books. I shall be ruined if you fail me in these. and if you remove them before you lay apart what you intend for me, it will be impossible for me to get them. they are now in a place whence I can conveniently get them brought by waggons as back loads. pray write to me. if done by the way of Fredericksburgh to the care of mr Dick I shall be sure to get your letter.

Were this revisal out of my hands I should certainly come to see you. some time in the next summer I assuredly may do it. however I shall expect in the mean time to see you at the May session. I am with sincerity

Your friend & servt.

Th: Jefferson

P.S. you are to make an apology for not answering my letter of June last

RC (Harlan Crow Library, Dallas, Texas, 2015).

salt pans: earlier in the year, TJ and his partners in the Albemarle Salt Company had ordered two salt pans at a cost of £180 from Zane’s Marlboro Iron Works. TJ invested £40 in February for one share in the enterprise. Other investors included Randolph Jefferson (£40), George Gilmer (£30), Thomas Garth (£10), Dr. Thomas Walker (£40), Nicholas Lewis (£30), Philip Mazzei (£10), John Coles (£10), Edmund Cobbs (£10), and Charles Hudson (£10) (MB, 1:460, 461, 478, 482; Account with the Albemarle Salt Company, Fee Book and Miscellaneous Accounts, 1764-1794, CSmH; TJ to Zane, 26 Feb. 1778).

books: possibly a reference to the massive library of the late William Byrd III of Westover. Zane purchased the collection from Byrd’s widow in March 1778 for £2,000. TJ subsequently acquired several volumes from the collection (Edwin Wolf 2d, “The Dispersal of the Library of William Byrd of Westover,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, 68 [1958], 19-106; MB, 1:327; Sowerby, Nos. 54, 69, 77, 109, 1313, 1832, 2190, 2335, 2464, 4179, 4195; John Pemberton to TJ, 16 July 1791).

TJ’s letter of June last to Zane has not been found.

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