Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Peter Carr, 20 April 1785

From Peter Carr

Williamsburg. April. 20th., 1785

Honour’d Sir

I am very sorry to tell you I have lost a great deal of time since you left Virginia. It has been sometimes for the want of horses and sometimes for the want of money, so that I have made but little progress. I am at this time reading Horace and Homer, and Mr. Maury, with whom I have been about a week, thinks I may go to the University about this time, twelvemonth, if I will exert myself, and be assured Dr Sir, that I shall not loose a moment more than I can help, and shall try if I cant by the closest application make up the time I have lost. I have just began french and arithmetic with a Frenchman, whom I attend two or three times a week, and who is esteemed very clever. The good advice contained in the letter I received from you at Burling[ton] [I] still continue to observe [with the] greatest strictness. Polly [was we]ll when I heard from her last, and reads very prettily. Mama and the family were very well when I heard from them last. Mr. Madison has put Dabney with Mr. Smith at the Academy in Prince Edward. My love to Patsy. Adieu Dr Uncle and believe me to be your affectionate Nephew,

Peter Carr

RC (ViU); endorsed by TJ: “Carr Peter.” The MS is mutilated at bottom of leaf; two remaining fragments provide a continuation of the text except for four or five words which have been supplied conjecturally. Recorded in SJL as received 22 July 1785, “by Mazzei.”

Peter’s account is to be compared with those given by Madison and Maury (Madison to TJ, 10 Apr. 1785; Maury to TJ, 20 Apr. 1785); the loss of time that Madison attributed merely to sickness and Maury vaguely described as having been caused by “several circumstances,” Peter accounted for as the result of “want of horses and … want of money.” The good advice contained in the letter may have been TJ’s letter of 11 Dec. 1783.

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