Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Mendenhall, 21 January 1801

From Thomas Mendenhall

Wednesday Morning Jany 21st 1801


after I had the pleasure of seeing you last evening I reproached Myself severely, for having omited to offer my servises in case you had any Commands to Wilmington or Philadelphia; more especialy, when it occured to me, that you had enquired “whether I was going on to the City,” I was Astonished at my own Stupidity and remisness, & determined, that in some Measure to Atone for this dereliction of politeness, that I would stay till Tomorrow Morning and inform You thereof as early as posible, Assuring You sir at the same time, that if you have any Commands for Wilmington, Philadelphia, or elsewhere, I will with pleasure wait on You this evening to receive them and deliver them with my own hand—

& beleve me Sir, Sincerely & respectfully your real friend & obedient Servant

Thomas Mendenhall

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The Hon: Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 21 Jan. and so recorded in SJL.

Thomas Mendenhall (1759–1843) was a Delaware merchant who engaged in the West Indian shipping trade with the schooner Pratt. A major landholder in Wilmington, by the beginning of the nineteenth century Mendenhall owned several houses, two storehouses, and a half-dozen undeveloped parcels of city land. Mendenhall also owned a wharf in Wilmington from which he dispatched his packets with flour cargo to Philadelphia. He was active in the Delaware abolitionist movement, the establishment of the Philosophical Society of Delaware, and the founding of the National Bank of Delaware. Mendenhall wrote An Entire New Plan for a National Currency, Suited to the Demands of this Great, Improving, Agricultural, Manufacturing, & Commercial Republic, which was published in Philadelphia in 1834 (Wilmington Mirror of the Times, & General Advertiser, 12 Mch., 1 Oct. 1800; Bernard L. Herman, “Multiple Materials, Multiple Meanings: The Fortunes of Thomas Mendenhall,” Winterthur Portfolio, 19 [1984], 83–5; J. Thomas Scharf, History of Delaware, 1609–1888, 2 vols. [Philadelphia, 1888], 2:732, 749–50; Munroe, Federalist Delaware, 132n, 217n; Elizabeth Montgomery, Reminiscences of Wilmington, in Familiar Village Tales, Ancient and New [Philadelphia, 1851], 177, 218).

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