Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Currie, 14 March 1791

From James Currie

Richmond, 14 Mch. 1791. Introducing his particular friend Col. [John] Hamilton, British consul in Virginia, “who with his Lady and pleasing female friend Miss Coxe are on their way to Philadelphia.”

Relying on TJ’s friendship, he takes liberty of enclosing two bills of exchange of John Tayloe Griffin drawn on Richard Potter of Philadelphia. “After they have been presented by you or under your Auspices (for which I have a very particular reason and which shall be afterwards properly explained to you) I shall be glad and particularly obliged to you to be informed immediately of the result.” He has paid and cancelled TJ’s note to Colo. Braxton. P.S. The letter of advice from Griffin to Potter promised for tonight will come by next post “as the Gentleman has sailed to Night.”

RC (DLC); addressed in part: “Hond. by Jno. Hamilton, Esqr.”; at foot of text in TJ’s hand is the following: “at 3 mo. 2372. D. [at] 6 mo. 2400. D.”; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Mch. 1791 and so recorded in SJL.

On the next day Currie wrote TJ to explain that the above was written in such haste that he forgot to endorse Griffin’s bills. He enclosed the second of exchange properly endorsed and asked that TJ return the two first by Hamilton if not already presented. He explained and hoped TJ would “pass over” this liberty: Potter’s situation was so distressed that he feared this long overdue debt would be lost, hence “it struck me the Bills being presented under your Auspices would give them a fairer chance for acceptance and ultimate payment as the Gentleman R. P. has effects (papers) of Griffin’s in his hands.” The promised letter of advice is enclosed. It was accompanied by “one to me to this purpose. ‘Extract. As my friend in Philadelphia seems extremely unwilling to part with my property there without my being present and as I wish this business to be upon a certainty shall be oblidgd to you to request the person to whom they are sent, not to present them till I get to Philadelphia which will be about the middle of april when I expect they may be taken up at sight. It will make no difference, as they are not drawn at so many days sight but after date.’” Currie thought this would be hazardous and begged TJ as a particular favor to act as speedily and decisively as he thought proper to secure the debt. He thought the fewer who knew of the bills the better, as there were numerous demands on Potter. He added: “Your note to Braxton I took in when I paid Rickett the Bank Bill and likewise took his receipt. All your friends here are well” (Currie to TJ, 15 Mch. 1791; RC in DLC; addressed and postmarked; endorsed by TJ as received 23 Mch. 1791 and so recorded in SJL).

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