Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Barnes to Thomas Jefferson, 9 December 1812

From John Barnes

George Town 9th Decr 1812—

I address you Sir at the Instance and on behalf of Mr John Eliason of this place—a worthy good Man—Accustomed to the Manufacture of flour—Sole Owner of a Salt Mills at Bladensburg superindended by his son, a sober, decent, industrous Young Man—

Mr E. has been informed that Mr Shoemaker & Son—had both forfeited (most shamefully)1 their engagemt with you—and presuming—their lease had—or was abt expiring—Applied to me for information—requesting—in Case you were still inclined—to lease them—to permit him—to wait upon you—on the Occasion—and if Approved Off—to superintend them personally himself No One I verily beleive would do you more Justice than Mr E— his Character—for Honor Integrity, Industry, and Knowledge in the Business stands high in this Neighbourhood.

The continued demand & high prices for flour will in part—I hope—compensate you for the great loss and inconceivable trouble—you have suffered by their disgracefull proceedings—

from what I learn of Mr Shoemaker at the time of Selling his Mills—at Rock Creek for from 4–$5000—or more2 that property was secured to the Bank of Columa for Nearly $7000 —of course—not altogether unlike—the Doctr in Romeo Necessity—(if not his will) consented to the Injustice—done—towards you—

should you think proper to permit Mr E—to pay you a Visit—his information in many respects relative to the Milling business Machenary &ca might be Usefull—if not profitable—

with great Respect I am Dear Sir—your mst Obedt Servt

John Barnes.

PS. no tidings has reached me from either the good Genl K. or Mr Morton—hope no Material accident has happened—in the late Negociation—

RC (ViU: TJP-ER); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire Monticello”; franked; postmarked Georgetown, 11 Dec.; endorsed by TJ as received 17 Dec. 1812 and so recorded in SJL.

John Eliason (d. 1832), miller, was a resident of Georgetown, District of Columbia, where he served as a trustee of the Foundry Methodist Church. He owned the ship Ann, built in 1805. Eliason participated in an effort to establish an insurance company in 1813. He was appointed a commissioner for a turnpike road the same year and for a company formed in 1814 to supply Georgetown with water. In 1821 Eliason became a justice of the peace for Montgomery County, Maryland. He died of cholera during a Washington epidemic (Grace Dunlop Ecker, A Portrait of Old George Town [1933], 49; Hugh T. Taggart, “Old Georgetown,” RCHS description begins Records of the Columbia Historical Society, 1895–  description ends 11 [1908]: 196; A Bill to incorporate an Insurance Company in Georgetown, in the District of Columbia [Washington, 1813]; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, 1845–67, 8 vols. description ends , 3:12, 6:185; Annapolis Maryland Gazette and Political Intelligencer, 8 Feb. 1821; Margaret Bayard Smith to Jane Bayard Kirkpatrick, 3 Sept. 1832 [DLC: Smith Papers]; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 22 Sept. 1832).

The unnamed apothecary who sold romeo poison said by way of excuse that “My poverty, but not my will, consents” (William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, act 5, scene 1).

1Omitted closing parenthesis editorially supplied.

2Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Barnes, John; and T. Kosciuszko’s American investments search
  • Barnes, John; letters from search
  • Barnes, John; recommends J. Eliason search
  • Eliason, John; and Shadwell mills search
  • Eliason, John; identified search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; remittances to search
  • Morton, John Archer; and TJ’s payments to T. Kosciuszko search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Shakespeare, William; quoted search
  • Shoemaker, Isaac; and mismanagement of Shadwell Mill search
  • Shoemaker, Jonathan; and mismanagement of Shadwell Mill search
  • Shoemaker, Jonathan; sells mill near Washington search