Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 30 September 1812

To William Short

Monticello Sep. 30. 12.

Dear Sir

I have at length recieved an offer for your lands, which tho not coming entirely up to your terms, is so nearly so as to make it my duty to communicate it for your consideration. it is from mr Higginbotham, who had applied to yourself by letter with a very different proposition. he is a merchant of Milton, who in the course of many years of snug & safe business has made a handsome provision for himself, and is now desirous of realizing a part of it; more immediately urged to it by having married a miss Garrigues, daughter of a merchant of that name in Philadelphia, and a very handsome and amiable girl. mr Higginbotham will be equally sure & punctual as a paymaster, and can give the best security in this neighborhood where he is known. he offers your price of 10.D. an acre, to pay one third on the delivery of the land (supposed Dec. of the next year when the tenants must give up) one third at the end of the first year thereafter, without interest, and the remaining third at the end of the 2d year, without interest also. this, on the whole will be giving up a year’s interest on the whole sum; and could we be sure of an immediate sale, on the termination of the leases, either for ready money, or on interest from the delivery, mr H’s offer ought to be rejected. but should the land lie a year or two longer on hand the difference between the rent & interest will soon be equal to a year’s loss of interest. and this delay of sale is very possible considering how long we have been without any other offer approaching the terms. the war too, rendering the sale of produce uncertain, disinclines most people from making engagements of time. I have stated to you that you may rely on mr H’s punctuality. it may be well however to observe that as I suppose the instalments will be paiable about Christmas, & the period of his main collections is April, when the farmers have got their crops to market & sold them, the delay of a paimt from Christmas to April might happen; but interest on that delay would of course be to be paid: and I mention this possibility only on my own knolege of the course of Country business, & that you may have it under your view. as I propose to go to Bedford about the 15th of Octob. & shall be absent at least a month, your immediate answer is requested by mr H. as my letters are not sent on to me there, but lie unopened here during my absence. your visit & Genl Moreau’s is put off I presume to another season as you have not apprised me of the contrary, and my return from Bedford, likely to be late in November would not be a season for a pleasant journey. I should truly regret it, were my journey, & not your own convenience to be the cause of postponement. Genl Moreau is one of the first characters on earth with which I feel a solicitude for personal acquaintance. there is so much vilainy afloat on the earth & especially on it’s great stage, that the occurrence of an honest & virtuous man, from time to time, is necessary to reconcile one to the nature of our species. your two letters of June 28. & Aug. 2. have been recieved; the Abbé Rochon’s memoir not yet. that of the Margrave of Bareith shall be forwarded when I know that you are become stationary. on the subject of your salary, your appointment terminated on the 4th of Mar. by the force of the constitution, and the salary of course. it is hard as it is retrospective; but so has willed the constitution. but I think the 3. months allowance for return justly due; I think you should charge it, and that it will be allowed. mr Madison came to Orange a few weeks ago. but he staid only a week, & was gone before I heard of his arrival. indeed I happened to be in Bedford at the time. I salute you with assurances of my constant affection & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViW: TJP); addressed: “William Short esquire New York”; franked; postmarked Milton, 1 Oct.; endorsed by Short as received 6 Oct. 1812.

Short’s letter of 28 june 1812, not found, concerned itself with the rents on his lands at Indian Camp. TJ recorded it in SJL as received from New York on 8 July 1812 and soon forwarded it to Joseph Price (Price to Short, 13 July 1812 [DLC: Short Papers]). SJL also lists Short’s unlocated letter to TJ of 2 aug. 1812, recorded as received 15 Sept. 1812 from “La Bergerie—Neufville,” and a missing letter of 24 Aug. 1812 from TJ to David Higginbotham. Short had apparently been staying with Jean Guillaume Hyde de Neuville and his wife Anne Marguérite Henriette Rouillé de Marigny de Neuville, who were raising merino sheep at their farm near New Brunswick, New Jersey (Wayne Andrews, “Patience Was Her Reward: The Records of Baroness Hyde de Neuville,” Archives of American Art Journal 4 [1964]: 7).

Index Entries

  • Frédérique Sophie Wilhelmine, margravine de Bayreuth; Mémoires de Frédérique Sophie Wilhelmine de Prusse, Margrave de Bareith (included in Book of Kings compiled by TJ;see also Book of Kings) search
  • Higginbotham, David; purchases Richmond lot from TJ search
  • Higginbotham, Mary Elmslie Garrigues (David Higginbotham’s wife) search
  • Indian Camp (W. Short’s Albemarle Co. estate); TJ tries to sell for W. Short search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and W. Short’s property search
  • Madison, James; visits Montpellier search
  • Mémoires de Frédérique Sophie Wilhelmine de Prusse, Margrave de Bareith (Frédérique Sophie Wilhelmine, margravine de Bayreuth; included in Book of Kings compiled by TJ) search
  • Mémoire sur le micromètre de cristal de Roche (A. M. Rochon) search
  • Moreau, Jean; proposed visit of to Monticello search
  • Price, Joseph; rents part of Indian Camp search
  • Rochon, Alexis Marie; Mémoire sur le micromètre de cristal de Roche search
  • Short, William; and diplomatic outfit search
  • Short, William; and Indian Camp search
  • Short, William; and J. Moreau’s proposed visit to Monticello search
  • Short, William; letters to search