Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 14 May 1799

To Archibald Stuart

Monticello May 14. 99.

Dear Sir

I recieved by the hands of mr Coalter £13. from mr Alexander. he is mistaken in supposing I had recieved £3–10–3 on his account from Gamble & Grattan, his letter now inclosed by you being the first and only mention to me that such a paiment had been expected. however this balance is not worth troubling you further with.

I am sorry still to be troublesome with my nailery. mr Mcdowel writes me he cannot continue the sale of my nails. if he would have disposed of those remaining on his hands it would have been desireable; because they are hardly worth offering alone to another; and a long illness of my foreman. occasions our work to go on so poorly that I am able to do little more than supply this part of the country. he has for sometime past had symptoms of a dropsy supervening a decline of near a twelvemonth, he seems now to be getting better; but till he gets well, or till, that becoming desperate, I engage another manager, I hardly expect to be able to resume my supplies to Staunton. however if mr Mc.Dowell will not consent to sell off what remains on his hands, I must ask the favor of you to engage some other to do it, as well as to dispose of future supplies as soon as I shall be able to furnish them. I am sensible of the difficulty of a person who sells other goods on credit, demanding ready money for nails; and therefore have found it necessary here to place them in the hands of grocers, or others dealing for ready money.

The congressional elections, as far as I have heard them, are extremely to be regretted. I did expect Powel’s election; but that Lee should have been elected, & Nicholas hard run marks a taint in that part of the state which I had not expected. I have not yet heard the issue of the contest between Trigg & Hancock. our federal candidate here cut a very poor figure. the state elections have generally gone well. mr Henry will have the mortification of encountering such a mass of talents as he has never met before: for, from every thing I can learn, we never had an abler nor a sounder legislature. his apostacy must be unaccountable to those who do not know all the recesses of his heart. the cause of republicanism, triumphing in Europe, can never fail to do so here in the long run. our citizens may be decieved for a while, & have been decieved; but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust to them for light: still more perhaps to the tax gatherer; for it is not worth the while of our antirepublicans to risk themselves on any change of government, but a very expensive one. reduce every department to economy, & there will be no temptation to them to betray their constituents. affectionate salutations & Adieu.

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViHi); addressed: “Archibald Stuart esq Staunton”; franked.

William Alexander’s letter to TJ now inclosed by Stuart is not recorded in SJL and has not been found. McDowel writes me: see John McDowell to TJ, 21 Mch. and 13 Apr. 1799.

Congressional elections: Leven Powell and Henry Lee won the seats formerly held by Republicans Richard Brent and Walter Jones in the seventeenth and nineteenth congressional districts in northern and eastern Virginia. John Nicholas represented the eighteenth district, which included the counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, and Stafford. The incumbent John J. Trigg, of Bedford County, defeated former congressman George Hancock. Patrick Henry won election to the Virginia House of Delegates but died on 6 June before the meeting of the assembly (Dauer, Adams Federalists description begins Manning J. Dauer, The Adams Federalists, Baltimore, 1953 description ends , 274, 314, 320; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, Richmond, 1978 description ends , 215; Biog. Dir. Cong.; Washington, Papers, Ret. Ser., 4:36–8; Marshall, Papers description begins Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, Charles F. Hobson, and others, eds., The Papers of John Marshall, Chapel Hill, 1974–2006, 12 vols. description ends , 4:12). See also Myron F. Wehtje, “The Congressional Elections of 1799 in Virginia,” West Virginia History, 29 (1968), 251–73.

Letters from Stuart to TJ of 14 Feb. and 11 Apr., recorded in SJL as received on 21 Feb. and 15 Apr. 1799, have not been found.

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