Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 1 September 1791

To William Short

Philadelphia Sep. 1. 1791.

Dear Sir

Finding it necessary to send to Bordeaux for my year’s stock of wine, I inclose herein a bill of exchange of Mr. John Vaughan of this place on Messieurs Le Coulteux & co. for a thousand livres Tournois. Besides this, being in the moment of my departure for Virginia, I leave my letter open with a friend to put into it another bill of £40. sterling on London, which a broker is now in quest of for me. I make them payable to you, because if you will be so good as to negociate them, it will save a good deal of time, which would be lost by their going to Bordeaux and back again, and I have therefore, in the inclosed, mentioned it to Mr. Fenwick, to whom I must ask you to write a line.

The most ingenious workman in America, Mr. Leslie, a watchmaker, being the same to whom we are indebted for the idea of the rod-pendulum as an Unit of measure, has desired me to endeavor to get some workmen for him, to wit, a good movement maker, a finisher, and casemaker, used to gold and silver work. He will advance the expences of their passage from Paris to Philadelphia, and when they arrive here, he will expect them to work for him exclusively, till they shall have reimbursed him his advances, and the money for their subsistance which may be necessary in the mean time, he allowing them the Paris price for their work by the peice.—I am in hopes you can get such men without any other trouble than speaking to Mayer or Chanterot. Should they not be able to bear their own expences from Paris to Havre, be so good as to pay them on my account and reimburse yourself from my funds. Their passage from Havre to this place may be paid here.

I inclose you a letter from your brother who arrived here yesterday, and went off to-day. He wrote me a line on his arrival, which I received just as I was setting out to dine in the country. I immediately wrote to ask him to come and dine with me to-day, but his hurry prevented him; so that he is gone without my seeing him. I am, my dear Sir, with constant affection your sincere friend & servt,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MHi); at head of text: “Private.”

TJ’s letter of this date to Fenwick, recorded in SJL, has not been found, but TJ’s accounts for 1 Sep. 1791 indicate he was asking Fenwick to use the £40 bill of exchange to pay for wine he had purchased. According to another entry under the same date, the bill on John Vaughan was to buy for Henry Knox 250 bottles of 1785 wine and a “cask of equal quality of 1790. from Mde. de Rauzan.” On the following day, TJ purchased from Robert Leslie an odometer, no doubt for use on the journey to Virginia that began on that day (TJ’s Account Book, 2 Sep. 1791, MS in NN; immediately following this entry TJ kept a journal of the trip, marking the miles and recording information about the terrain). The invitation to Peyton Short to come and dine, not recorded in SJL, is missing. See Memorandum for Henry Remsen, Jr., 2 Sep. 1791.

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