Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Mary Jefferson, 6 March 1791

From Mary Jefferson

march 6

According to my dear Papa’s request I now set down to write. We were very uneasy for not having had a letter from you since six weeks till yesterday I received yours which I now answer. The marble Pedestal and a dressing table are come. Jenny is gone down with Mrs. Fleming who came here to see sister while she was sick. I suppose you have not received the letter in which Mr. Randolph desires you to name the child. We hope you will come to see us this summer therefore you must not disapoint us and I expect you want to see my little neice as much as you do any of us. We are all well and hope you are so too. Adieu dear Papa I am your affectionate daughter

Mary Jefferson

P.S. My sister says I must tell you the child grows very fast.

RC (ViU); punctuation supplied; endorsed by TJ as received 24 Mch. 1791 and so recorded in SJL.

TJ would not receive for another week Randolph’s letter of 8 Feb. 1791 asking him to name the child. His letter to Mary was that of 16 Feb. 1791. Delay of the mails on the cross-posts and in particular the situation in Albemarle county added to TJ’s long-felt concern for efficiency in the postal service (see TJ to Randolph, 11 Jan. and 24 Feb. 1791). Since his arrival in Philadelphia TJ had kept up his methodical posting of letters to Monticello in rotation, usually on Wednesdays in time to catch the south-bound post, and evidently had missed his schedule only in the last days of January, a period of extraordinary pressure. In that interval in which he wrote to the Monticello family a total of 13 letters, young Randolph wrote 4, Mary 3, and Martha 2. Already it was being reported that the President was dissatisfied with the administration of Postmaster-General Samuel Osgood (Samuel Hodgdon to Timothy Pickering, 15 Feb. 1791; RC in MHi), and it may well be that the Secretary of State who was so deeply interested in the postal service on personal and public grounds helped contribute to that feeling.

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