Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 22 January 1802

To John Wayles Eppes

Washington Jan. 22. 1802

Dear Sir

Yours of the 6th. has been duly recieved. but the printer has been slow in making up for me the documents you desired. they are now inclosed. the Census is not yet printed. the bill for the Military establishment, on the scale proposed by the Executive, passed the H. of R. yesterday by about 58. or 60. votes against 12. a proposition to strike out the Brigadier General had a good deal divided both Republicans & Federalists. he was retained by a mixt vote of both parties 54. to 36. our friends have not yet learned to draw well together, and there has been some danger of a small section of them, aided by the feds, carrying a question against the larger section. they have seen however that this practice would end in enabling the feds to carry every thing as they please, by joining whichever section of Republicans they chose; and they will avoid this rock. I fancy we are all agreed on all the other interesting points, & that there will be no difficulty on the navy, or repeal of the taxes. when they come to striking out unnecessary officers from the civil list, there will probably be some differences in detail. there will also be a difference on the militia law, whether there shall be a part of it made select? within 2. or 3. days the other party expect their 2. absent Senators, Ross & Ogden. they will then be 15. and 15. we having two absent, Bradley (whose wife is dying) and another of whom nobody has yet heard at all. in this state of things should one of the friends of the Judiciary repeal be out of his seat a moment, that bill could be called up & negatived.

I am sorry the division into Captaincies has not been proposed. but it is not in my power to sketch it. some gentlemen here, who take an interest in the turnpike established at the head of Patomac, have desired me to mention the cost of that kind of road here. we have made some miles here of as fine gravel road as can be shewn in England. but we had one hill to dig through 20. or 30 feet deep, & 2. others to dig down to that depth & kept no separate account. we suppose that the rounding the bed of the road 18. I. high in the middle, clearing it of stones, & laying on a coat of 14. I. gravel costs 1000. D. a mile. in Massachusetts they have done upwards of 100. miles, which costs them from 700. to 1000. D. a mile, according to the convenience & nature of the stone, which they are obliged to use, for want of gravel, breaking it into small pieces. in our country where labour is so much cheaper than in Massachusetts, (to wit negroes hired by the year) it would certainly cost less than there. a letter from Edgehill yesterday informed me all were well there. I hope Maria & the little one continue so. it will always relieve me to hear it as well as of your own health. accept assurances of my affectionate esteem & attachment

Th: Jefferson

RC (NHi); addressed: “John W. Eppes Richmond.” PrC (CSmH); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosures not found.

yours of the 6th.: a letter from John Wayles Eppes to TJ of 6 Jan. 1802, recorded in SJL as received from Richmond on the 12th, has not been found.

William Duane & Son issued a printing of the complete census from the Apollo Press at Washington in 1802 (Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819, New York, 1958–63, 22 vols. description ends , No. 3442).

Bill for the military establishment: in the House of Representatives on 20 Jan. James A. Bayard moved unsuccessfully to strike out the appointment of a brigadier general and an aide-de-camp. The final bill passed in the House by a vote of 77 to 12 on 21 Jan. (National Intelligencer, 22 Jan. 1802; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:56, 58–59; Henry Dearborn’s Plan for Reorganizing the Army, [7 Dec. 1801]).

Another of whom nobody has yet heard at all: for John Armstrong, see TJ to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 17 Jan.

Interest in the turnpike: a joint Maryland-Virginia project to fund and build a 40-mile turnpike from the head of the Potomac to the “nearest western navigation” gained support from citizens who subscribed for $50,000 in shares of $50 each. The general assemblies of both states passed legislation to incorporate a company for establishing the “Allegany Turnpike Road” and named subscription agents, including Charles Simms, William Hartshorne, John Mason, and Francis Deakins in Washington. According to his financial memoranda, TJ subscribed six shares “to the turnpike road on upper waters of Potomac in Virginia” at $50 each on 12 Mch. 1802 (Washington Federalist, 5 Jan. 1801 and 15 Feb. 1802; Shepherd, Statutes description begins Samuel Shepherd, ed., The Statutes at Large of Virginia, from October Session 1792, to December Session 1806…, Richmond, 1835–36, 3 vols. description ends , 2:249–54, 387–8; Laws of Maryland Made and Passed at a Session of Assembly, Begun and Held at the City of Annapolis on Monday the Second of November, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and One [Annapolis, 1802], chap. 45; 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 , 2:1068).

For his correspondence with Enoch Edwards about the cost of gravel roads, see Vol. 34:530; Vol. 35:115–16, 155.

Letter from Edgehill: probably an undated letter from Martha Jefferson Randolph to TJ, not found but recorded in SJL as received from Edgehill on 20 Jan. 1802.

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