Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Overton Carr, 25 December 1801

From Overton Carr

Decbr 25th 1801.

Dr Sir,

The Bearer will deliver to your Steward, a Bacon Ham, which has been cured Seven years, & which I request the favour of you to accept as a present. Dean Swift observes, that a present should consist of something, of no great value, and which cannot be purchased with money. If his definition be correct, of which I have no doubt, this Ham comes perfectly within it; for although Bacon Hams may be had in abundance, yet one that is Seven years old, & Sound, I think it will be difficult to find: my only solicitude is, that it may be1 worth your acceptance, in that case, I shall lament, that I have not a dozen of the same kind, as the Deans definition would not be departed from. I wish you many happy returns of the Season, & am Dr Sir with great respect, & esteem, yr friend & obliged Hm Servt

Overton Carr

RC (ViU: Carr-Cary Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 25 Dec. and so recorded in SJL.

Overton Carr (b. 1752), the brother of TJ’s brother-in-law, Dabney Carr, settled in Georgetown and was an original proprietor of land in the Federal District. He owned a 358-acre plantation in the Hopyard tract, which he conveyed in trust for the district in 1791 and later sold (Bryan, National Capital description begins Wilhelmus B. Bryan, A History of the National Capital from Its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Organic Act, New York, 1914–16, 2 vols. description ends , 1:135, 321; RCHS description begins Records of the Columbia Historical Society, 1895–1989 description ends , 57–59 [1957–59], 146; Edson I. Carr, The Carr Family Records [Rockton, Ill., 1894]; Vol. 6:167).

Present Should Consist: a paraphrase of a remark that Jonathan Swift attributed to his longtime friend Esther Johnson (“Stella”) in a tribute written at the time of her death (“On the Death of Mrs. Johnson,” printed in Herbert Davis and others, eds., The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, 16 vols. [Oxford, 1939–74], 5:233).

1Word supplied by Editors.

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