Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John McDowell, 24 September 1800

To John McDowell

Monticello. Sep. 24. 1800.


I find the sale of my nails [at your place] to be so very dull as to be no longer [an object.?] of those sent [through] […] proportion were still unsold at the date of your last letter. as ready money must be paid for every pound of nail rod nothing but short payments for the nails can support their manufacture. I must therefore request you to return me by the first waggon whatever nails remain unsold, as I can at any time dispose of them here in the course of a [month?] or two. if delivered to Colo. Bell he will recieve them & pay transportation. I inclose you a short statement of our account, [which] you will be pleased to certify as to the quantity of nails sold [and list?] […] [unsold?]. whatever balance of cash may be […] be so good as to remit by any safe conveyance to […]

Your very humble servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); faint; at foot of text: “Mr. M[cDow]ell”; TJ later added in ink below his signature: “May 8. 07. a copy sent to mr Coulter”; with enclosure pressed below text on left side of same sheet obscuring part of closing; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosure: Statement of Account with John McDowell, 24 Sep. 1800, entirely in TJ’s hand and signed by him (PrC in MHi, letterpressed on same sheet as letter above, large portions illegible, with date added by TJ in ink below signature).

Last letter: McDowell to TJ, 14 Feb. 1800. In the enclosed short statement of the nailery account TJ included the payments of £34.13.9, £27.16.0, and £40 received from the Staunton merchant on 12 July and 24 Oct. 1798 and 15 Apr. 1799, respectively, the first brought by Archibald Stuart and the last by Jacob Kinney. The totals in the credit and debit columns are illegible, but in a letter to John Coalter of 8 May 1807, TJ reported that McDowell still owed him almost £50, plus interest. McDowell paid TJ $70 later that year (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 , 2:988, 991, 1000, 1211).

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