Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 8 April 1801

To John Wayles Eppes

Monticello Apr. 8. 1801.

Dear Sir

I arrived here on the 4th. inst. and found the family at Edgehill all well. we are now all together at this place, and only want the addition of your’s and my dear Maria’s company to be entirely happy. I shall leave it pointedly on the 25th. if not some days before. mr Overton is married & settled adjoining us. Nancy Jefferson is said to be about marrying Charles Lewis. this is our only small news. I am not able to tell you any thing of your affairs, the 3 days of my stay here having been Sunday, Court-day, and a day of rain. but I presume all are well as I have heard nothing to the contrary.—I shall send off for the horses on Sunday the 12th. so the messenger will be with you on Monday or Tuesday. I wish you may have got the three. the two I count upon according to your & my last letters.—the public news you have in the papers: but there is one article not yet I believe published. the British government has promised us to suppress all their courts of admiralty in America; to establish two new ones in Jamaica & the Windward islands, to send out men of character as judges & give them independant salaries: and the orders were actually dispatched. this will relieve us from their spoliations to a certain degree. at any rate it shews a disposition to be friendly & just. my tenderest love to my dear Maria, in which her sister joins me. let us know when she expects to come up. accept yourself assurances of sincere & affectionate esteem.

Th: Jefferson

RC (MoSHi: Jefferson Papers); addressed: “John W. Eppes at Bermuda Hundred near City point”; franked; postmarked Charlottesville, 11 Apr. PrC (MHi); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

Overton is married: probably Richard Overton, who married Sarah Johnson of Louisa County, Virginia (WMQ, description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892– description ends 1st ser., 22 [1914], 278–9; VMHB, description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893-Washington, Diaries Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Diaries of George Washington, Charlottesville, 1976–79, 6 vols. description ends 26 [1918], 105). Nancy Jefferson: the proposed marriage of TJ’s niece Anna Scott Jefferson to her first cousin Charles Lewis did not take place (Merrill, Jefferson’s Nephews description begins Boynton Merrill, Jr., Jefferson’s Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy, Princeton, 1976 description ends , 85, 388n). Your and my last letters: see 18 and 28 Mch., respectively.

On 23 Jan., Rufus King wrote the secretary of state that after repeated notes and conferences the British government had agreed to reform the admiralty courts in the West Indies. He then cited the measures described by TJ and noted that the orders had been dispatched the preceding day (Dupl. in DNA: RG 59, DD; in clerk’s hand, signed by King; at head of text: “Duplicate”; endorsed as received 3 Apr. 1801). The newspapers began carrying reports on the judiciary reforms in the British West Indies in early May (National Intelligencer, 6 May; Boston Gazette, 11 May 1801).

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