Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Lucy Ludwell Paradise, 31 January 1801

From Lucy Ludwell Paradise

January the 31st: 1801

My dear and respectable friend;

I take up my pen to thank you for the trouble you have taken in all my affairs and to assure you I am greatly obliged to you for the liberty I took in using your Name in the Power of Attorney I sent to you. In consiquence of the Great Distance you live from Williamsburg I have sent out a Power of Attorney to My Nephew Mr. Wm Ludwell Lee Mr. Ambler and Mr P. Harriss to Act for Me and to call in all the Debts due to Me Since the Death of My late Husband without respect of Persons. I have not written thus to Mr. Corbin as I have nothing to trouble that Gentelman with. I have appointed Mr John Rennolds a Native of Virginia an honest and respectable Merchant to be my Merchant he lives in Charlotte Street Bedford Square London and Mr. Reeves No. 1 New Court Old Broad Street near the Royal Exchange London to be My Merchant. All the letters my friends write to Me I desire they will send them with a letter to My Merchants to take care they send them safe to me. Dr. Bancroft often talks of going to America this Summer. I shall be sorry to loose my old friend if it is but for a day. On August the Second My only child Died at Her artful wicked husbands house at venice after loosing half her Nose and the roof of her Mouth. I shall come sooner or later and live in Virginia. Take care what you write to Mr. C.

Accept My Sincere wishes for a long and happy life. Be My Steady friend and let My Interest prevale. My affectionate Compliments to your Daughters. Dear Sir

I have the Honourr to be With Great respect Your Excellencies Most Obedient Friend

Lucy Paradise

I have written to Mr Ambler I shall come home

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “His Excellency Thoms. Jeffersons.”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 May and so recorded in SJL.

Lucy Ludwell Paradise (1751–1814) was the youngest daughter of Frances Grymes Ludwell and Philip Ludwell III of Green Spring, near Williamsburg, Virginia. In 1760 she sailed for England with her family and did not return permanently to Virginia until 1805. In London in 1769 she married John Paradise of Rathbone-place, the son of an English father who became esteemed in London literary circles, and a Greek-English mother. Known in Virginia circles as “Madam Paradise,” Lucy Ludwell Paradise was renowned for her pride, stubbornness, personality, charm, and sometimes violent temper. The litigation over Lucy Ludwell Paradise’s estate lasted twenty-three years (Archibald Bolling Shepperson, John Paradise and Lucy Ludwell of London and Williamsburg [Richmond, Va., 1942], 6, 11, 18, 25, 293, 439, 440, 442–3, 446, 455, 456; Lothrop Withington, “Virginia Gleanings in England,” VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893– description ends , 19 [1911], 289; Lucy Paradise to TJ, 27 Aug. 1805).

TJ begged to be excused of the power of attorney and when Lucy Paradise’s manager William Wilkinson died in 1800, she turned to her nephew William Ludwell Lee who by his authority named William Coleman her new manager (Shepperson, John Paradise and Lucy Ludwell, 440).

Death of my late husband: John Paradise died on 12 Dec. 1795 in London (same, 431).

Only child: Lucy Ludwell Paradise’s younger daughter died in 1787, leaving Lucy Paradise her only surviving child. She married the Venetian Count Antonio Barziza in 1787, much to her father’s displeasure.

Correspondence consisting of eighteen letters from 3 April 1793 to 30 July 1800 between TJ and Lucy Paradise are recorded in SJL but have not been found.

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