Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on Postal Service between Philadelphia and Charlottesville, [on or after 13 March 1799]

Notes on Postal Service between Philadelphia and Charlottesville

[on or after 13 Mch. 1799]

the mail leaves Philadelphia on Wednesday reaches Fredsbg

Tuesday 10. A.M.1

the mail from Richmd. to Charlotte should arrive

Thursday 11. A.M.

returns there from Staunton Sat. 11. A.M

the Fredsbg rider should arrive at Charlottesville

Thursday 11. A.M

     leaves it Sat. 1. P.M.
     returns to Fredericksburg Tuesday 6. A.M.2
Lynchbg mail should leave Charlvlle Thursday 2. P.M.

and returns the next Thursday at 10. A.M.

the above from ltrs from Habersham to Garrett of Feb. 4. &3 3 Mar. 13. 99. & a note from Burrell

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 105:18014); entirely in TJ’s hand, with interlineations being information taken from Habersham’s letter to Garrett, 4 Feb. 1799 (see notes below); undated.

The letter from Joseph Habersham to Alexander Garrett of 4 Feb. was addressed in the postmaster general’s hand: “Letter to Mr. Garrett for the Vice President” and remains in TJ’s papers. In it Habersham refers to a letter which the Charlottesville postmaster had written to the vice president on 25 Jan. 1799 (not recorded in SJL and not found) in response to TJ’s missive of the third concerning the delays in mail delivery (see TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph, 17 Jan. 1799). Perhaps TJ showed Habersham the letter in which Garrett admitted that it took from 18 to 26 days for delivery of mail between Philadelphia and Charlottesville and noted that he had not received TJ’s letter of 3 Jan. until the 24th. Habersham argued that the letter was delayed a week because it had not arrived at the Philadelphia post office on Friday, 4 Jan., in time for the weekly departure. But in an effort to improve service, the postmaster general directed that the mail for Charlottesville leave Philadelphia on Wednesdays. It would then arrive at its destination the “next Thursday week in 8 days and a half” (RC in DLC, in clerk’s hand, signed by Habersham, with closing and “Alexr. Garret. esq” at foot of text in his hand, endorsed by TJ: “Posts. arrival & departure”; FC in Lb in DNA: RG 28, LPG). On 4 Feb. the postmaster general informed Fredericksburg postmaster William Wiatt: “By a mistake in making of the mails at Philadelphia on an improper day they have been delayed nearly a week at your office, which has given cause for much dissatisfaction and it was not understood here until lately.” Habersham noted the change in service for mail from Philadelphia (Lb in DNA: RG 28, LPG). But problems still existed with the mail delivery in Albemarle County. On 13 Feb. Habersham received a letter of 31 Jan. directed to TJ from John Watson (not recorded in SJL and not found), in which the Milton postmaster explained that the rider from Fredericksburg had never delivered the mail to his office (Habersham to Timothy Green, 13 Feb. 1799, in same). In his letter to Garrett of MAR. 13. 99., Habersham declared that a recent failure of the post rider to stop at Milton gave the appearance of “a very extraordinary interferance with the arangment I made to accomodate the Vice President.” He reported that severe penalties would be imposed to insure that the rider called at both Milton and Charlottesville. Habersham also recorded the arrival and departure times for the mail between Charlottesville and Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Lynchburg (same). A note from Assistant Postmaster General Charles Burrall is not recorded in SJL and has not been found.

1TJ interlined text to this point.

2Preceding line of text interlined.

3“Feb. 4. &” interlined.

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