Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 21 December 1799

To John Wayles Eppes

Monticello Dec. 21. 1799.

Dear Sir

Your favor from the Hundred came to hand the [day before] yesterday. I have been detained here a week by bad weather. [this morn]ing mr Nicholas & myself breakfasted at Sun-rise to set out: but heavy snow is now come on. we shall start as soon as it holds up. our election was yesterday. Woods carried it against P. Carr by 247. against 122 votes. those of your people who were unwell when you went away are still so, & one who had been cured is ill again; Augustine I believe it is. Maria’s maid produced a daughter about a fortnight ago, & is doing well. with respect to mr Powell I shall be glad to engage him immediately, even for the next year; tho’ I had rather it had been for the present. perhaps it will be best to engage him for the next year absolutely, to come at as early a day as he will agree to, & let his removal at an earlier time be left to a subsequent negociation. if you will inform me what his rent is, & if there be any other obstacles to his removal, I can determine whether to take the sacrifices on myself. be so good therefore as to engage him at once for the next year, & inform me as to his rent &c by a letter to Philadelphia, from whence I can write you on the subject. my wish would be to get him by the 1st. of July if to be done on a moderate sacrifice.—tell Maria I will acknolege the reciept of her letter as soon as I get to Philadelphia. it is accidentally that I am able to write this. deliver her my warmest affections, and my best salutations to mr & mrs Eppes & family. to yourself affectionately Adieu.

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViU); torn, with words in brackets conjectured. Not recorded in SJL.

Eppes’s favor from the hundred, which according to SJL was written and received by TJ on 19 Dec., has not been found. A letter from Eppes, recorded in SJL without a date but received by TJ on 21 Dec. 1799, is also missing.

Maria’s maid: Sally Hemings gave birth to Thenia, who died in infancy (Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, Princeton, 1953 description ends , 56; Lucia Stanton, “‘Those Who Labor for My Happiness’: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves,” in Peter S. Onuf, ed., Jeffersonian Legacies [Charlottesville, 1993], 174n). Hemings’s first-born daughter, Harriet, died in late 1797 at the age of two (Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, Princeton, 1953 description ends , 31, 56; Annette Gordon-Reed, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy [Charlottesville, 1997], 195; Thomas Mann Randolph to TJ, 13 Jan., and Martha Jefferson Randolph to TJ, 22 Jan. 1798).

For more than a year TJ unsuccessfully sought the services of Powell, a blacksmith, to superintend the nailery and other activities at Monticello (TJ to Eppes, 23 Dec. 1800; Thomas Mann Randolph to TJ, 3 Jan. 1801; TJ to Randolph, 9 Jan. 1801).

Acknolege the reciept of her letter: a letter from Mary Jefferson Eppes to TJ of 1 Dec., recorded in SJL as received 12 Dec. 1799, has not been found.

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