Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Richard Morris, 29 August 1803

To Richard Morris

Monticello Aug. 29. 03.

Dear Sir

I recieved two days ago your favor of the 25th. and should have been glad to accommodate your son as desired but that my particular situation has required me to make special provisions of his wood & lumber to ensure a perpetual supply. with this view I have purchased at different times the whole of the mountain adjoining the one I live on, & above the level of the gap uniting them. this circumstance places all it’s growth within command as it is to come down hill to the gap, & then only a quarter of a mile up a gentle ascent. on these considerations I have thought myself obliged to decline every application which has been made me for timber of any kind. without that resource I could not have built as I have done, nor could I look forward with any comfort. trusting you will percieve in this only a justifiable attention to futurity, I tender you my friendly salutations & assurances of great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Colo. Richard Morris”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

Richard Morris had been commissary of provisions in Virginia during the American Revolution. He owned a plantation in western Louisa County, where he kept a tavern that served travelers to the springs there. TJ likely stayed with Morris while meeting Mary Jefferson Eppes and John Wayles Eppes at the springs during his trip to Monticello in July (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 35 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984- , 7 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , 1:248n; 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 , 2:1105; TJ to John Strode, 9 July).

Morris’s letter of the 25th. was recorded in SJL as received from Green Springs on 27 Aug. but has not been found. The son was either William O. Morris, who worked most closely with his father in business matters, or James Maury Morris (Richmond Enquirer, 28 Sep. 1819; biographical information in ViU: Morris Family Papers).

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