Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., 31 October 1793

From Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.

Monticello Oct: 31. 1793

Dear Sir

Altho I know your time is allready so completely taken up, with important public concerns, that you are obliged to neglect your own private matters, allmost totally, I cannot refrain from asking a small part of it, for an affair of very considerable consequence, to myself and my family. I have mentioned to you before, tho perhaps I never related the particulars, that the1 land in Henrico, given me by my father, was under an incumbrance. It was mortgaged in December 1787 to Mr. Herman Le Roy, then of New-York, now a resident in Philada., to secure the discharge of two bonds of £860.3.4. sterling each, the one payable on the 1st. Feb: 1788, the other on the same day of the year 1789. The sum of £.1169.16.6. current money, was paid by David Ross to the draft of my father in favor of Alexander Donald, then acting for Mr. Le Roy, on and immediately before, the 9. May 1789, in discharge of one of the bonds. Nothing, as far as I can learn, has been paid on the other: it remains still undischarged, with all the interest which has accrued. With respect to this other bond, and the interest due on it, I am somewhat uneasy in the present condition of my father; he2 is rendered by disease incapable of managing his affairs, there is no great hope of his recovery, and in consequence a considerable derangement is likely to ensue. My purchase in Albemarle having put the means of indemnification, in my own hands,3 I am4 desirous of making some arrangement with Mr. Le Roy immediately, to take on myself the payment of the bond undischarged, and provide for the release of my land. You will oblige me much by proposing to him, and executing in my name some agreement to this purpose. Perhaps it might suit him to receive the whole sum at once, on a day,5 not nearer than eighteen months from the first of March next: this would be highly convenient to me, as I could make provision by the sale of6 my property of a certain species. It is more probable that he may prefer installments: in this case I will undertake to raise a sum of 500.£.7 in the course of the winter; the fund, a parcel of Wheat of very good quality, by estimation 2000 bushels, now on the land of Varina and ready for market. I hope he will not insist on short intervals: I am ready however to make any sacrifice compatible with the preservation of my Estate. It will give me great satisfaction, in any case, to have the old mortgage cancelled, and to give my own bonds, secured by a new mortgage on the same land. Be kind enough to remember me to Mr. Le Roy whom I had the pleasure of seeing, and the honor of visiting frequently, at New-York, in 1789. He will confer an important favor on me by saying, whether in his opinion it would be to my advantage to ship wheat, this winter or next spring, to New-York, and by naming someone there, who is in the way of taking consignments of grain.8 I am Dear Sir Your most sincere & affectionate friend

Th: M. Randolph

RC (MHi); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Secretary of State Philada.”; endorsed by TJ as received 9 Nov. 1793 and so recorded in SJL. PrC of Tr (ViU: Edgehill-Randolph Papers); extract in TJ’s hand with alterations by him noted below; at head of text: “Extract of a letter from T. M. Randolph junr. to Th: Jefferson Oct. 31. 1793”; enclosed in TJ to Herman LeRoy, 11 Nov. 1793. Tr (same); 19th-century copy of preceding text; misdated 31 Dec. 1793.

Varina, the 950 acres of land in Henrico County deeded to Randolph at his marriage by his father, labored under a much larger incumbrance than either he or his father-in-law TJ realized, and was already the target of a lawsuit by the elder Randolph’s creditors. TJ’s advice at this point and more substantial assistance in 1800 saved the estate for over three decades, but Randolph never paid off the mortgage and finally lost the property in 1825 (TJ to Herman LeRoy, 11, 17 Nov. 1793; TJ to Randolph, 17 Nov. 1793; Gaines, Randolph description begins William H. Gaines, Jr., Thomas Mann Randolph: Jefferson’s Son-in-Law, Baton Rouge, 1966 description ends , 29, 44, 76–7, 148, 155–6). purchase in Albemarle: Edgehill.

1PrC of Tr begins with this word.

2In PrC of Tr TJ replaced this word with “who” and omitted the final two clauses of the sentence.

3Sentence to this point omitted in PrC of Tr.

4In PrC of Tr TJ here inserted “therefore.”

5Preceding three words omitted in PrC of Tr.

6Remainder of sentence in PrC of Tr: “other property.”

7In PrC of Tr TJ here inserted “Virga. currcy.”

8PrC of Tr ends here.

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