Thomas Jefferson Papers

Power of Attorney to Caleb Lownes, 11 September 1794

Power of Attorney to Caleb Lownes

Know all men by these presents that I Thomas Jefferson named in a certain letter of Attorney from William Short of the state of Virginia, then Minister Resident of the United States at the Hague, to me, bearing date the 2d. day of April 1793. and now lodged in the bank of the United States; by virtue of the power and authority therein given me, do make substitute and appoint Caleb Lownes of Philadelphia1 as well my own as the true and lawful attorney and substitute of the said William Short named in the said letter of attorney, to receive from the Treasury or bank of the United States the interest which shall become due on the stock of different descriptions of the said William Short registered in the proper office of the US. at the seat of government in Philadelphia from the first day of July last past to the first day of October next ensuing, and becoming payable on the said first day of October, amounting to three hundred and ninety dollars and sixty two cents: hereby ratifying and confirming the paiment of the said interest to the said Caleb Lownes,2 and the discharge which he shall give for the same, as done by virtue of the power of attorney aforesaid. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 11th. day of September, 1794.

signed sealed and delivered
in the presence of
   J W Eppes
Th: Jefferson
 Virginia. Albemarle county to wit.
 Before me Thomas Mann Randolph a justice of peace for the said county, appeared Thomas Jefferson named in the within power of attorney, and freely acknoleged and declared that the seal and signature thereto put, are truly his own seal and signature. Certified under my hand and seal this 11th. day of September 1794.
Th: M. Randolph
Albemarle county to wit
 I hereby certify that Thomas Mann Randolph whose seal and signature are placed above, is a justice of the peace for the said county, duly qualified, and that full faith and credence ought to be given to his acts. Certified under my hand, and the seal of the said county of Albemarle this 11th. day of Sep. 1794.
John Nicholas C.A.C

MS (PHC); in TJ’s hand except for signatures of Eppes, Randolph, and Nicholas; text partially obscured by Nicholas’s seal.

TJ enclosed this document in his 17 Sep. 1794 letter to Lownes, recorded in SJL but not found. SJL also records a missing letter of 30 Apr. 1794 in which TJ sent Lownes a similar power of attorney, not found, authorizing him to receive an earlier interest payment of $390.62 when it became due to William Short on 1 July 1794. From the beginning of 1794 until the end of 1798 TJ loaned himself all of the interest payments he received on Short’s behalf, applying them to the purchase of nailrod for the Monticello nailery and to sundry uses in Philadelphia, ultimately amassing a debt exceeding $9,000, plus interest. After casting his account with Short in 1800, TJ reported his astonishment at the size of the debt, and he did not finish repaying it until 1807 (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 1 Jan. 1794, and note, 30 Apr., 1 Oct. 1794; TJ to Short, 13 Apr. 1800).

The missing 2 Apr. 1793 letter of attorney from William Short was enclosed in Short’s first letter to TJ of that date.

In addition to the letters noted above, SJL records four letters from TJ to Lownes between 11 Mch. and 31 July 1794 and four from Lownes to TJ between 12 Apr. and 22 Aug. 1794, none of which has been found.

1Preceding four words inserted in space initially left blank.

2Preceding two words inserted in space initially left blank.

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