From John Wayles Eppes
Eppington May 22d. 1786
The difficulty which I allways feel in begining a correspondence has hitherto debared me from the satisfaction of writing to you but I am determined to remain silent no longer, as I am certain that you will pardon all deficiencies which I may be guilty of. It would indeed be almost useless to write unless I had something to mention [in p]articular besides enquireing after your health, of which I hear whenever Papa or Mama receives a letter from you, and will therefore ask your advise on a thing which nearly concerns me. Mr. Smith under whose tuition I am at present thinks that I shall by next Fall be able to take a degree, after which time I [am] to return to review some of my studies. I desire to know whether you think that will be proper, as allso what you think I had best do after that time is expired. I am affraid that notwithstanding your great desire to have cousin Polly with you it cannott be effected without forceing her, for she seems very much averse to it. Give my compliments to cousin Patty. Adieu. Your affectionate nephew,
John Wayles Eppes
Ps. Pray answer my letter. JE
RC (MHi); addressed, in part: “a Paris Cul de sac Tatebout” endorsed. Noted in SJL as received 3 May 1787.
This is the first letter to TJ from his nephew, son of Francis and Elizabeth Wayles Eppes, who was later to marry cousin Polly. John Wayles Eppes was fourteen years old at this time (entry by TJ in Peter Jefferson’s Prayer Book, in ViU, giving date of birth as Apr. 1772).