Thomas Jefferson Papers

Isaac A. Coles to Thomas Jefferson, 5 January 1810

From Isaac A. Coles

Washington Jany 5th 1810.

Dear Sir,

I take the liberty of sending you by this day’s mail, all the private Papers of the late Govr Lewis, & of asking the favor of you to suffer them to remain at Monticello, until called for by Mr Wm Meriwether, for whom they are intended.

On the arrival of the Trunks at this place they were opened by Genl Clarke and my self, when every thing of a public nature was given to the Dept to which it properly belonged, every thing relating to the Expedition to Genl Clarke, & all that remained is contained in the five little bundles now directed to you. A large Trunk which had been left in one of the rooms up Stairs in this House, was also opened, and was found to contain several things of little Value, which, with the clothes sent in the two Trunks from Tennessee, & other articles too bulky to be given to the mail, I shall have put up & shipped for Richmond. His Watch & one or two other articles of value, I will either carry to Virginia my self, or give them to Genl Clarke should he get off before me. You will find that one of the little Packet’s contains Copies of letters from Govr Lewis—another letters addressed to him, notes &c—a third Receipts,1 Accts &c—a fourth commissions & diploma’s & the fifth a little memorandum Book with Some money & his Will—The Will Genl Clarke informs me is not his last, & that there is another in the hands of a Gentleman soon expected to arrive here. I have not been able to learn how it differs from the one inclosed—

The President has sent to my Brother Edward to take my place, & I am waiting here to know the decision of the House, & to discharge the very few duties that I am Still permitted to perform until he arrives, which will be in the course of a week, if he comes at all, of which I entertain much doubt. I beg to be presented to Mrs Randolph & to add my best wishes for

Your happiness

I. A. Coles

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 7 Jan. 1810 and so recorded in SJL.

The public and private papers of the late govr lewis were inventoried in Nashville and allocated to various individuals and departments on 23 Nov. 1809 (Jackson, Letters of Lewis and Clark description begins Donald Jackson, ed., Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with Related Documents, 1783–1854, 2d ed., 1978, 2 vols. description ends , 2:470–4). After some initial hesitation about the offer, by 19 Jan. 1810 Coles’s brother edward was acting as President James Madison’s private secretary (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 29 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 7 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 2:151n, 193n).

1Manuscript: “Recepts.”

Index Entries

  • Clark (Clarke), William; and journals of Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Clark (Clarke), William; as M. Lewis’s executor search
  • Coles, Edward; as J. Madison’s secretary search
  • Coles, Isaac A.; and affair with Nelson search
  • Coles, Isaac A.; and M. Lewis’s papers search
  • Coles, Isaac A.; letters from search
  • Congress, U.S.; member of assaulted search
  • House of Representatives, U.S.; honor disputes in search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; executor of search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; papers of search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; personal belongings of search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; will of search
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition; journals of search
  • Madison, James; and E. Coles search
  • Meriwether, William Douglas; as M. Lewis’s executor search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings to search