Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Mary Jefferson, [ca. 13 September 1785?]

From Mary Jefferson

[ca. 13 Sep. 1785?]

Dear Papa

I want to see you and sister Patsy, but you must come to Uncle Eppes’s house.

Polly Jefferson

MS not found. The text is taken from Randolph, Domestic Life description begins Sarah N. Randolph, The Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson description ends , p. 104, where it is printed with two other undated letters from Mary Jefferson. Though there is no evidence to prove that this letter is the one without date which TJ recorded in SJL as received 19 Jan. 1786 “by Mr. Littlepage,” with letters from Elizabeth Wayles Eppes and Francis Eppes dated 13 and 14 Sep. 1785 respectively, the text printed above has been chosen as presumably the earliest of the three (see also TJ to Francis Eppes, 24 Jan. 1786; Mary Jefferson to TJ, ca. 22 May 1786 and ca. 30 Mch. 1787).

This brief letter from seven year-old Mary must have been written after the Eppeses had received TJ’s (missing) letter of 11 May to Francis Eppes, in which he evidently said much the same things about the dangers of the sea that he set forth in his letter of 30 Aug. 1785. Under these circumstances the letter’s brevity takes on eloquent meaning.

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