Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Lindsay, 10 January 1791

To William Lindsay

Philadelphia Jan: 10. 1791.


I have duly recieved your favor of Dec. 11. and return you many thanks for the advance you were so kind as to make for the freight of my furniture which I now inclose to you, that is to say fifty dollars thirty six cents. Having seen the arrival of the vessel announced I immediately wrote to Capt. Maxwell to ask the favor of him to do for me what was necessary. Your letter came to hand before an answer could have come from him. I wrote at the same time to Mr. James Brown merchant at Richmd. to recieve the furniture and pay any expences on it. I have his answer that he will do it. So that I have only to ask the favor of yourself or Capt. Maxwell to send them to Richmond to Mr. Brown who will answer your draught for every expence.

I was sensible that the novelty of the case, on my arrival in Virginia with my baggage, laid you under doubt as to the duties. On my arrival here I mentioned it to the Secretary of the Treasury, that if my baggage was liable to duty I would remit it to you immediately and set the thing to rights. He said it was not liable, and that you had done right. Between 70. and 80. packages of my furniture from Paris are lately landed here, and are duty free. With a due sense of your obliging conduct I am Sir your most Obedt. & most humble servt.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MHi).

TJ’s letters to Maxwell and Brown of 16 Dec. 1790 crossed one in the post from Lindsay, dated at Norfolk 11 Dec. 1790, which enclosed “a Bill of Lading for sundry Packages imported … in the ship John, Charles Bushnell Master from Havre de Grace … as also an Account of the freight.” Lindsay informed TJ that he had paid the freight, and added: “As the Goods are deposited in the Publick Store I wish you to appoint an Agent here in order to ascertain the Contents and Value that they may be entered at the Custom house according to Law” (RC in MHi; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Dec. 1790 and so recorded in SJL; enclosures not found). Brown acknowledged TJ’s letter from Richmond on 28 Dec. 1790, promised to forward the packages to Monticello, and hoped TJ had “received the Books as per the Linnet in good order” (RC in MHi; endorsed by TJ as received 4 Jan. 1791 and so recorded in SJL). Maxwell replied from Norfolk on 3 Jan. 1791 that on the ship John’s arrival he had been so unwell as to be incapable of attending to any business and had asked Lindsay to receive the shipment, adding: “as he supposed the goods subject to duty, and were accordingly stored with him, who answered to You the Letter Adresd to me by Monsr. La Motte‥‥ Your request in respect to the Hughes’s Crabb Cyder shall be paid particular atention to, and the best I can procure shall be sent you. At present all business by Water is stopt from the severity of the weather, people walking A Cross from this to Portsmouth on the Ice” (RC in MHi; endorsed by TJ as received 17 Jan. 1791 and so recorded in SJL). An entry in Account Book shows that TJ enclosed in this letter a post bill of $50.36 to reimburse Lindsay for “freight of some of my furniture.”

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