To John Coalter
Monticello Sep. 25. 99.
I was just sending off the inclosed letter to the post office when I learned that mr Stuart was gone on the Kentucky line and would not be back again till November; and as it would be a real convenience to me to obtain paiment of the money, due from mr Clarke, which is the subject of the letter, and I have not time to repeat the particulars of the letter, I take the liberty of opening & inclosing it to you and of desiring you to collect the money for me, which I presume to be agreeable to the course of your business on commission. it would be [much?] more agreeable to me to have it done without suit if it can be. I must add (what was known to mr Stuart who procured the [agency] of mr Clarke for me) that our agreement was that he should sell my nails for ready money only, for which he was to recieve 3. per cent on the sales. but dealing on credit with the customers to his store, he let them have nails also on credit laying on doubtless an advance sufficient to indemnify him for the delay and risk. but this made himself the purchaser of the nails as to me, & I could have nothing to do with his collection or the delays of it. being obliged myself to pay ready money for my nailrod, it would neither suit my convenience nor my habits to sell on credit & be embarrassed with the collection of outstanding debts. asking your kind assistance herein I am with esteem Dr. Sir
Your most obedt. hble servt
PrC (MHi); faint; at foot of text: “Mr. Coalter”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosure: TJ to Archibald Stuart, 24 Sep. 1799.
John Coalter (1771–1838), a Staunton attorney with Republican sympathies, was retained by TJ to collect the money Samuel Clarke owed on his nailery account. Coalter obtained an initial judgment against Clarke in 1801, but he did not collect the sum for TJ until 1807. A student at William and Mary College in 1789, Coalter began serving as clerk of the Virginia District Court in Staunton in 1793, became a judge in the Virginia General Court, and in 1811 accepted appointment to the Virginia Court of Appeals (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 2:939, 958, 1108, 1211; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers …Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , 10:111–13; Joseph A. Waddell, Annals of Augusta County, Virginia [Richmond, 1886], 201, 221; List of Alumni description begins A Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and Members of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, from 1693 to 1888, Richmond, 1941 description ends , 13; Coalter to TJ, 3 July 1801; TJ to Coalter, 8 Oct. 1801, 8 May 1807).
Archibald Stuart was on the Kentucky line to complete his work as a commissioner for Virginia in running the boundary between the two states (CVSP description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers …Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , 9:39; Stuart to TJ, 19 Aug. 1796).