Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Lee Turberville, 10 March 1781

To George Lee Turberville

In Council March 10. 1781


I am sorry to find that your detaining some Letter from Baron Steuben to Lieutenant Hare has been viewed by him in an offensive Light insomuch as that he has made it the Subject of Part of a Letter to me. As I am satisfied you would not mean to keep it with this View, I will take the liberty of requesting you to return it to him by a safe Conveyance. Your own understanding will I am sure naturally lead [you] to accompany it with such an Apology as the Respect due to the Barons Character and command will suggest to you.

Engaged in a Contest wherein Dissensions would be so fatal, we cannot be too studious how to remove every Cause which may give rise to them. I am &c.,

T. J.

FC (Vi).

See Turberville to TJ 15 Feb. 1781 and note there. Turberville may have had more than official reasons for being so greatly concerned in the Westover affair. When Gen. Alexander Leslie’s force landed in Virginia in the preceding autumn, such amenities as were observed between the British and Mrs. Mary Willing Byrd did not obtain between Leslie’s soldiers and Turberville’s mother. On the earlier occasion the Virginia Gazette (d & n) for 27 Sep. 1780 reported: “We hear from authority, that may be relied on, that the enemy sent three armed boats yesterday morning, to the house of Mr. George Turberville on Potomack, carried off three negroes, his plate, and stripped the house of every thing they could lay their hands on, even the rings from Mrs. Turbervilles fingers.”

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