Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Morgan, 3 January 1810

To Benjamin Morgan

Monticello. Jan. 3. 1810.


I have a matter of business of some moment at New Orleans, & not having any mercantile acquaintance there, I venture on the slight correspondence we have had, but still more on the knolege of your character, to ask your aid in the transaction of it. the case is this. a mr John Peyton of this state & neighborhood died last year in New Orleans, intestate, & having considerable sums of money due to him there. Robert Peyton,1 of the army, his younger brother, took out administration there, & Craven Peyton, the elder brother2 took it here, as you will see by the certificate inclosed. they act therefore as joint administrators, & themselves & a mrs Logwood their only sister, are the next of kin to the deceased and his only distributees. Robert Peyton has put for collection, into the hands of mr Duncan, an attorney of that place, and the security for his faithful administration, an inventory of credits due to his intestate with the documents supporting them. on a partition the particular credits extended in that inventory (except the one of 300.D. in R. Peyton’s hands) are allotted to Craven Peyton, & by him assigned3 to me; & the joint order of the administrators and of Logwood the 3d distributee4 now inclosed, is given to authorize my reciept of them. this order, amounting to 2417.D. with mine in your favor subjoined to it, will be sufficient vouchers for mr Duncan’s paiment of the monies to you; & it is for their remittance here that I ask your aid. I have supposed that your connections in business in Philadelphia might perhaps enable you to convert money in New Orleans into money in Philadelphia, so as to avoid the risk of a remittance of the cash itself through so perilous a route, or to send it in form of a post-note of your bank on some bank of Philadelphia, Baltimore, or of Virginia. may I then count so far on your kindness, as to hope you will recieve & remit these monies to me, in such sums as may suit your convenience: and that you will further, be so good as to excuse the liberty I take, in consideration of my being without other means of having it done. I pray you to be assured of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

P.S. an error was inadvertently committed in writing the Christian name of George instead of Benjamin Morgan in the order for paiment which is corrected by erasure as may be seen & which therefore5 I thought proper to note here

Th: Jefferson

FC (MHi); entirely in TJ’s hand; at foot of first page: “Benjamin Morgan esq.”; notation by TJ below postscript: “this was sent by the Tenissee mail with the original papers. a duplicate of the letter & copies of the papers went by the Athens mail”; endorsed by TJ.

Benjamin Morgan (d. 1826), a wealthy merchant, financier, and sugar planter, came to New Orleans from Philadelphia. TJ appointed him to the Legislative Council of Orleans Territory in 1804, and two years later he was elected to the territorial House of Representatives. Morgan commanded a force of several hundred merchant seamen raised to quell a slave insurrection in the winter of 1810–11. President James Madison appointed him a commissary officer in 1812, and he collected supplies for American forces and served on the committee of defense of New Orleans during the War of 1812. Morgan was also one of the directors of the New Orleans branch of the Bank of the United States, 1805–11, and the first president of the newly created Bank of Orleans in the latter year (William C. C. Claiborne to TJ, 29 May 1804, and TJ to Claiborne, 30 Aug. 1804 [DLC]; Claiborne, Letter Books description begins Dunbar Rowland, ed., Official Letter Books of W. C. C. Claiborne, 1801–1816, 1917, repr. 1972, 6 vols. description ends , 2:375, 3:247, 5:100, 6:266; Vaughan B. Baker, ed., Visions and Revisions: Perspectives on Louisiana Society and Culture [2000], 530, 533, 537, 540, 541; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:266, 268 [14, 19 May 1812]; Jackson, Papers description begins Sam B. Smith, Harold D. Moser, Daniel Feller, and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 1980– , 6 vols. description ends , 2:352–3, 3:179n; Henry Rightor, ed., Standard History of New Orleans, Louisiana [1900], 585; Albert A. Fossier, New Orleans: The Glamour Period, 1800–1840 [1957], 60; New Orleans Courier de la Louisiane, 10 Nov. 1826).

The slight correspondence between the two men prior to this date consisted of TJ to Morgan, 18 July 1807 (DLC), asking him to serve temporarily as secretary of Orleans Territory if Claiborne was too ill to act, and Morgan’s reply of 27 Aug. 1807 declining the appointment as unnecessary due to Claiborne’s recovery (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–09). For various legal reasons, Morgan did not recieve & remit any funds from John Peyton’s estate for more than two years (Morgan to TJ, 10 Aug. 1812).

1TJ here canceled “late.”

2Manuscript: “broother.”

3Manuscript: “assign-.”

4Preceding six words interlined.

5Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Baltimore, Md.; banks in search
  • Duncan, Abner Lawson; and J. Peyton’s estate search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and J. Peyton’s estate search
  • Logwood, Pruey Peyton search
  • Morgan, Benjamin; and J. Peyton’s estate search
  • Morgan, Benjamin; identified search
  • Morgan, Benjamin; letters to search
  • Peyton, Craven; and J. Peyton’s estate search
  • Peyton, John; estate of search
  • Peyton, Robert; and J. Peyton’s estate search
  • Philadelphia; banks search