Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Peter Minor, 3 March 1811

To Peter Minor

Monticello, Mar. 3. 11.

Dear Sir

I received, just as I was preparing for a journey to Bedford, your letter of Jan. 15. informing me that the Directors of the Rivanna Company had changed their first resolution of carrying the navigation thro’ my canal, and had determined to follow the bed of the river: that in that case they would consider my mill dam as an obstruction to the navigation, and a lock to pass it necessary; and whether that should be built and maintained at their or my expence was a question which they proposed to refer to arbitration. I immediately, by letter, expressed my acquiescence, from a desire to make everything as easy to themselves & their object as consists with the most moderate attention to my own rights and reasonable interests. revolving the subject afterwards, in the same spirit of lessening collisions with them, it occurred that I could save them the trouble even of an arbitration, it shall no longer be an obstacle, I will remove it to it’s foundation, in such place as the Directors shall desire, and of the width deemed necessary for the passage of boats. the two sections of the dam, then performing the office of wing-dams, will give greater depth to the sluice, and aid, instead of impeding, the passage of boats. I must, in that case, make abutments, below the broken ends, sufficient for their support, & sluice-gates to be kept shut when no boat is passing. in this way the natural bed of the river will be laid open to their use, and the ground of the reference proposed be entirely done away, besides removing the obstacle. I continue to them the assurance of every aid & accomodation which my lands adjacent can afford, as heretofore proffered them, and avail myself of the first moments of my return to inform them of the satisfaction I derive from thus withdrawing the difficulties which have hitherto embarrassed us. I salute them & yourself with sentiments of perfect esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

Tr (ViU: TJP); 1932 typescript made from a copy owned by Miss Belle Bidgood; at foot of text: “Peter Minor esq.”

Minor’s letter of jan. 15, previously described here as not found, is printed at 9 Feb. 1817 as the fifth in a group of documents on Jefferson’s Lawsuit against the Rivanna Company. TJ expressed his acquiescence in a letter of 24 Jan. 1811, also recorded in SJL but not found.

Index Entries

  • canals; on Rivanna River search
  • dams; mill and wing search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and Rivanna Company search
  • locks (canal) search
  • Minor, Peter; and Rivanna Company search
  • Minor, Peter; letters from accounted for search
  • Minor, Peter; letters to search
  • Minor, Peter; letters to accounted for search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • Rivanna Company; directors of search
  • Rivanna River; canals on search
  • Shadwell mills; and Rivanna Company search