Thomas Jefferson Papers

Jonathan Brunt to Thomas Jefferson, 24 September 1811

From Jonathan Brunt

Wythe Court-he Septr 24, 1811.

Honoured Sir,

Last December but one, soon after I had left your seat at Monticello, I was very unfortunate in being poisoned two or three times; I believe all the masters of the different families were innocent, except one.—I parted with clear blood, three or four days together, except the intermission of one day.—This was within 60 miles of Winchester.—It is evident, that Divine Providence fought for me; for if I had been such an evil-disposed person, as those intriguing miscreants represented, I should have positively died, in two weeks, or less.—After the above misfortune, I seemed as well as ever in a month.—I am now returning from the Western country, but I shall come by way of Raleigh in North Carolina;—except I alter my route.— As I have not had two month’s work, since I went to the Western country, last June but one, I am under the necessity of asking, pecuniary, personal aid.—The present coat that I have is more than 2½ years old; also, have only one good shirt left.—This is therefore, to request your Excellency to be pleased to give me a new suit of clothes, and small clothes; for I humbly presume, that you will not treat me in this respect, as if I was a miserable dram drinker, excited thereto by aged female intrigues. I hope the said speculative corruption will not have any weight with your honour, in granting the said necessaries of cloathing.— In your extensive library, perhaps, you have got Agrarian Law, &c. stated.—Sir, when I was once at your house, you asked, indirectly, for a great Thing.—I know, very well, that the Supreme Deity could change the heart of any rich man in a moment, for that sacred purpose.—If ruin awaits my native land, I do not charge myself with being an accomplice therein.—I am, Sir, your obedt servt

Jonathan Brunt, printer.

RC (MHi); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 2 Oct. 1811 and so recorded in SJL.

The work on agrarian law Brunt had in mind may have been Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice, opposed to Agrarian Law, and to Agrarian Monopoly (Philadelphia, 1797; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3187), which called for an annuity of ten pounds for people over fifty years old.

Index Entries

  • Agrarian Justice, opposed to Agrarian Law, and to Agrarian Monopoly (Paine) search
  • agriculture; law on search
  • Brunt, Jonathan; letters from search
  • Brunt, Jonathan; seeks aid from TJ search
  • charity; requests to TJ for search
  • law; agrarian search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Brunt, Jonathan search
  • Paine, Thomas; Agrarian Justice, opposed to Agrarian Law, and to Agrarian Monopoly search