Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Wayles Eppes, 18 April 1801

From John Wayles Eppes

Eppington April 18th. 1801.

Dear Sir,

Previous to receiving your last letters, I had engaged Mr. Bells Horse and his match for you at 600 dollars—I had never seen the match and relied solely on Mr. Bells representation of him as a fine match—On going to Petersburg however after Davy came down I found the Horse called a match so far inferior to Mr. Bells that I refused him altogether—Not wishing to send a single Horse I bought Doctr. Shores pair at $800 dollars as a case of necessity & after making the purchase received your last letter of the 1st. of April which from some accident or rather had taken the near route of Williamsburg—This letter contained instructions for the immediate purchase of Haxhalls Horse, with which I complied—So that you receive four horses instead of three—

My Bills for the Horses are all drawn at 90 days from the time of the respective purchases—Bells was bought on the 15th. of March—Shores on 1[2]th.1 of april—Haxhalls on the 16th.—So that the payments become due

Bells on the 16th. of June $300
Shores on the 1st. of July. 800
Haxhalls on the 16 of Do. 500

These prices are excessively high and such as I can scarcely justify myself for having given—They are all however horses of fine form gentle well broke and steady—You will find Shores a first rate pair for Service—They match well both in appearance and spirit and carry themselves finely in Harness—They are not equal I think in form to Haxhalls or Bells tho’ they appear at present under every disadvantage having returned from a long journey the day before I got them—Haxhalls and Bells also are gentle and perform well in harness & Bells tho’ different in colour would appear well in harness with Shores being of the same height & having the same marks—

That they may please you is my sincere wish—In selecting them I have regarded qualities only as perhaps horses of equal figure might have been purchased much lower—As they were intended for your own use I thought a few hundred dollars more than the real value would be well bestowed upon such as were gentle & steady.

Accept for your health & happiness the affectionate wishes of yours

Jno: W: Eppes

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 20 Apr. and so recorded in SJL.

TJ’s last letters regarding the purchase of the horses were dated 27 and 28 Mch. In that of 28 Mch., TJ requested the immediate purchase of William Haxall’s horse. No letters by TJ are recorded in SJL under 1 Apr. See 8 Apr. for TJ’s last letter to Eppes.

1Eppes may have canceled the second digit here, but TJ interpreted the date as the 12th when he informed George Jefferson in his letter of 21 Apr., that Shore’s note was due on 12 July.

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