Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Stuart, 12 May 1801

To James Stuart

Washington May 12. 1801.


Inclosed I send you a statement of the account of your son in law John Holmes, with a check on the bank of the US. for 51.25 D by mistake for 51.35 D the balance of the account. the 4. last articles were furnished by James Dinsmore, the 2. last of which he said it would be very convenient to retain, & could easily be replaced with you. the other articles are from my own books & vouchers from J. H. himself. his chest of tools was sent off before I left Monticello, say about the latter end of April, and should be with you by the time you recieve this. your acknowlegment of the reciept of the within will be acceptable. accept my good wishes and salutations.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr. James Stewart. Phila. Cedar street—between 3d. & 4th.”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosures not found.

James Stuart served as clerk in the register’s office at the Treasury Department from the early 1790s until early 1801, when he returned to Philadelphia and became a grocer and clerk of Hill market at 155 Cedar Street. On 15 May 1801, Samuel Carswell of Philadelphia recommended Stuart for office, writing Gallatin that he trusted the administration would find some position for their “mutual friend” because “no man suffered for our principles, more than he has done.” In April 1803, Gallatin approved Peter Muhlenberg’s appointment of Stuart as a customs inspector at the port (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 5:1; 6:937; 8:257; Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , 11:392; 13:466; James Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory, City and County Register, for 1802 [Philadelphia, 1802], 235; same, The Philadelphia Directory for 1804 [Philadelphia, 1804], 229).

For the death of John Holmes, a carpenter at Monticello and Stuart’s stepson, see James Monroe to TJ, 18 Jan. 1801.

On 11 May, John Barnes wrote TJ a short letter enclosing the check for $51.25 and providing TJ with the Cedar Street address of James “Stewart” in Philadelphia. Barnes offered to “hand” the check to Stuart “by to Morrows Mail” if TJ decided not to write him (RC in ViU: Edgehill-Randolph Papers; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ). TJ recorded in his financial records on 11 and 12 May, respectively, the receipt of the check from Barnes and the transmittal of it to Stuart (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 , 2:1041). In a statement of expenditures in 1802, TJ noted that the Holmes payment was for $53.50 (same, 2:1067).

Stuart wrote TJ from Philadelphia on 22 May, noting that he had received the account statement of John Holmes and the check on the Bank of the United States. He reported that the chest and trunk with the remainder of Holmes’s property, including clothes and tools, had arrived two days earlier “in perfect good condition.” Stuart expressed his “infinite obligations to Jams. Dinsmore for the friendly attention paid by him, to the remains of our deceased son” (RC in MHi; at foot of text: “Thos. Jefferson Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ as received 25 May and so recorded in SJL).

Index Entries