Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Hore Browse Trist, 22 January 1802

From Hore Browse Trist

Birdwood 22 Jan. 1802

My Dear Sir,

I was honor’d by the present Post with yours of 17 Inst. The warm emotions which were excited on perusal of the friendly contents we can only feel—The sincere concern we have experienced since the first Impression of the necessity of a removal to the Missisipi Territory, has been very painful, & the nearer the prospect approaches of our departing from a neighbourhood where we have met with uniform attention—where the society exists which we would select from the world, & where our best & dearest friends reside, the more poignant are the sensations with which we are wounded—So fully have those causes operated on our feelings, that the duty a Parent owes to his family, that of bettering their future Prospects, could alone have induced to such a determination—

In a removal it will most certainly be my highest Gratification to bear with me some mark of your good opinion—I therefore accept your friendly proposal—your advice & the respectability attached to the Office of Secretary of the Missisipi Territory, are reasons the most ample for my so doing—I shall be able to proceed for that country as soon as I have closed some arrangements I have been making for the purchase of some negroes—I beg leave however to mention the situation of my Family is such—particularly that of Mrs Trist—that it will render their removal impracticable untill fall—

Among our most pleasing reflections when distant will be those of your friendship & good wishes, & we shall anxiously desire a continuance of your health & happiness—The Ladies of the family present you their affectionate remembrance & unite with me in sentiments of the highest respect

Hore Browse Trist

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 27 Jan. and so recorded in SJL.

Having fallen on financial hard times from unpaid loans and his purchase of Birdwood in Albemarle County, Trist decided on the necessity of a removal to the Mississippi Territory to reclaim his father’s lands and make a new start. best & dearest friends: among whom were the families of William Bache and TJ’s son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph. Trist accepted TJ’s friendly proposal to become secretary of the territory, unaware that the position was not vacant.

In August 1802, he set out for the territorial capital although his family situation, especially the pregnancy of his wife with their second child, prevented them from joining him until later. In November 1803, Trist was named collector for the district of Mississippi and inspector of revenue for the port of Fort Adams (Jane Flaherty Wells, “Thomas Jefferson’s Neighbors: Hore Browse Trist of ‘Birdwood’ and Dr. William Bache of ‘Franklin,’” Magazine of Albemarle County History, 47 [1989], 4, 6, 8; Madison, Papers, Pres. Ser., 2:424–5; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:454, 455; TJ to Elizabeth House Trist, 20 Mch. 1802).

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