Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Richard Harrison, 9 March 1796

To Richard Harrison

Monticello Mar. 9. 96.

Dear Sir

The letters and papers addressed to you by this post [are] public, and for the files of your office. But I cannot refrain indulging myself in a private line also. If you shall be satisfied by these papers that all the heads of difficulty are cleared away, I shall hope the matter will be finally settled by yourself. To me they appear to leave no difficulty, and the less, because mine being the last of those accounts, the precedent can have no consequence on any thing subsequent. If however you are still unsatisfied as to any one of these heads (and [from] the expressions of your letter I conjecture that if any difficulty [remains] it will be as to that of Outfit) then I would beseech you to decide on all those on which you are satisfied, that if I am obliged to [carry] the matter before Congress, it may be on a simple abstract question. No man upon earth has such mortal aversion,1 as myself to be the subject of discussion, and therefore I wish to narrow the ground, if ground must still remain. Nothing but the accident of the change in the form of our government prevented my having the formal approbation of the charge of Outfit from the old Congress and a thing approved by the antient legislature, and [approved] by the present one cannot be doubtful in it’s issue, tho it is [disagreeable in the process] to it. I am with very great esteem [Dr. Sir Your friend] & servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); faded, with bracketed words supplied from Dft; at foot of text: “R. Harrison, Auditor of the US.”; endorsed in ink by TJ on verso. Dft (DLC: TJ Papers, 100: 17111); undated and unsigned; written on parallelogram-shaped sheet with Dft of TJ to Harrison, 8 Mch. 1796; heavily emended text with numerous stylistic variations, the most significant being noted below.

On 9 Mch. TJ wrote another letter to Harrison in response to Harrison’s 28 Sep. 1795 request for papers that remained in TJ’s hands connected with the purchase of medals in France in accordance with resolutions of Congress (PrC in DLC; at foot of first page: “The Auditor of the US.”; endorsed in ink by TJ on verso). The Dft, lacking dateline, salutation, complimentary close, signature, and first paragraph is printed as No. IV of a group of documents on notes on American medals struck in France, Vol. 16: 77–9. The first paragraph of the PrC reads “In complying with your desire of sending you the papers respecting the medals, I think it my duty at the same time to give you what information on the subject I can, which was the object indeed of my retaining the papers till now.”

1Dft: “No mortal upon earth has such aversion.”

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