Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Rapin, 3 June 1802

To Joseph Rapin

Washington June 3. 1802.

Dear Sir

Your favor of May 17. came to me at Monticello a day or two only before I was setting out on my return to this place; and since my return an accumulation of business has prevented me from sooner answering it. I am very thankful to you for your attention to my want of a servant, and should without hesitation have taken the one you have recommended, but that Mr. Lemaire had engaged one during my absence who was already in place. some difficulty might have arisen from the proposition for 18. dollars a month, lest that should have furnished grounds to the other servants (to whom I give but 14. D. including drink) to expect a rise of their wages. perhaps however this might have been accomodated. I will immediately desire mr Barnes to remit something to Christopher, and sincerely wish he may recover his sight. should he not do it, I imagine Philadelphia is much more likely than this place1 to offer some employment of which he would be capable. his wife is a very able bodied woman, and may aid him by her earnings.   I am very happy to learn from Capt. Lewis that you are yourself in so easy a situation. accept my best wishes for your prosperity and health.

Th: Jefferson

RC (PWacD: Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP); at foot of text: “M. Rapin.” PrC (MHi); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

REMIT SOMETHING TO CHRISTOPHER: in his financial memoranda under 4 June, TJ noted that John Christoph Süverman and his wife “are no longer in my service after this day.” Four days later, TJ asked John Barnes to give Süverman $20 “in charity.” Previously TJ had recorded a donation of $10 to Süverman in October 1801, and he gave him $10 in July 1802 and $30 in May 1803. TJ later described Süverman as “a very honest man.” Süverman’s pay from May 1801 until his discharge was $12 per month plus a $2 drink allowance. HIS WIFE Betsy first appeared in TJ’s memoranda of President’s House accounts in October 1801, earning $8 in wages each month and a drink allowance of $1. Süverman lost his eyesight, and in 1810 was surviving in Washington “from hand to mouth” by selling groceries (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 , 2:1040, 1053, 1054, 1071, 1074, 1077, 1101; RS description begins J. Jefferson Looney and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, Princeton, 2004–, 6 vols. description ends , 2:364; 3:49).

1Preceding three words interlined.

Index Entries