Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Adam Lindsay, 26 April 1792

From Adam Lindsay

Norfolk 26 April 1792.

Dear Sir

About six days after the date of my last letter, I received one from you with a bank post note for 24 $1 50 Cts.—You might justly conclude from my long silence that some accident had happened, but my letter of 14th. will I hope set the matter in a clear light.

The Catherine Captn. Cunningham is arrived here in six weeks from London. Inclosed is one of the latest papers. Mr. Pitt has been severely attacked for the Rusian Armament, but was cleared of the censure by a very large majority. A Mr. Jenkinson in a maiden speech espouses the cause of ministry and I think will soon be recokoned one of their first-rate speakers. Mr. Pitt observed in introducing the intercourse Bill, that he had sent Mr. Hammond, with an intent to form a Treaty or Treaties with the American States; but until what he has done is known it would be necessary to pass the intercourse bill.

We have just had information that the Act of Charles 2d is not to be taken verbatim as Sir John Temple has published it to the world, but to be charged to account of his consul Generalship Blunder; at any rate it has brought a smile on the face of our Mercantile part of the community who were much chop-fallen in the first alarm.—I must beg pardon for this long digression and believe me Dear Sir with respectful esteem Your very hble. Servt.,

Adam Lindsay

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 3 May 1792 and so recorded in SJL.

1This is the first example of a clear use of a dollar sign in Jefferson’s papers, although Lindsay wrote double S’s with single vertical lines, presumably to indicate plural. Numismatists have searched for the earliest use of $ for a century, at least. Unfortunately, inaccurate transcription of published documents has sometimes misled them. Early editors often transcribed as a $ the D used by most Americans to indicate dollars in this era, leading to confusion about its earliest use. DAE description begins Sir William A. Craigie and James Hulbert, eds., A Dictionary of American English, Chicago, 1938-1944 description ends , ii, 793, cites an 1857 source that suggests TJ was the first to use the dollar sign. This citation was subsequently used in the Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles, ed. Mitford M. Mathews (Chicago, 1951), p. 502. That claim was based on the inaccurate transcription of a 1784 document wherein TJ had written the customary D to represent dollars (38.D.65—the D actually appears over the numerals), which the editor rendered as a dollar sign ($38.65). Every edition of Jefferson’s papers repeated the error until an accurate transcription appeared in this edition (Vol. 7: 177). See H. A. Washington, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (New York, 1853), i, 164; Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Letterpress Edition, N.Y., 1892-1899, 10 vols. description ends iii, 448; and l & b, i, 242.

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