Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph, 14 November 1813

To Thomas Mann Randolph

Monticello Nov. 14. 13.

Dear Sir

Your motions have hitherto put it out of our power to write to you from the uncertainty of the times and places at which a letter could meet you. your last however from Cayuga removes the difficulty, as we presume a letter now written will find you at Headquarters, and that these will be somewhere in the line between Sacket’s harbor and Montreal. we have heard of the movements of Genl Wilkinson as far as Grenadier island, and Genl Hampton’s to within 4. miles of the hostile camp, and we expect every mail to inform us of their both opening on Montreal, leaving Kingston to be taken at leisure. in short we are rejoicing in the expectation that all Canada above the Sorel is ours, and that the earlier disgraces of the war are now wiped away. this with the execution of Hull, and perhaps the disgrace of 3. or 4. more will satisfy all with the state of the war, the Anglomen excepted. the success of Bonaparte in the battle of Dresden, and repair of the checks given by Bernardotte and Blucher, which I have no doubt he will soon effect, added to the loss of Canada, will produce a melancholy meeting between the Executive of England and it’s parliament. and should it overset the ministry it may give us peace with England, and consequently war with all those arrayed against her in Europe, which will hardly mend our situation.

The family is all well, and has been constantly so since you left us. you will hear this from our Martha herself, and perhaps from others of the family. we are just finishing our wheat sowing, as your people are also, and we are about to begin that of rye to feed us from harvest till the next corn season; for of corn I do not make a barrel to the acre. I believe it is expected you will make enough to serve till harvest at least. I buy largely at 20/ the price at which it starts. the manufacturing mill is just beginning to recieve wheat and to do something. there have been some discouragements to the bringing it in. the want of a visible and responsible head is supplied to a certain degree by Jefferson’s taking that post, which I dare say he will discharge satisfactorily. some flour for neighborhood use, perhaps too closely ground (to wit the barrel from 4 bush.–7 ℔) has discredited the mill for a while. an assistant miller has been engaged by Jefferson on trial, and after a month’s trial, the opinion of his skill & good conduct is favorable, and perhaps that he may understand grinding better than Gilmer. but he could not supply Gilmer’s place as principal. I am still afraid it will be a losing concern to you as long as you are absent, unless you had a skilful and honest partner, not easy to be found. since our last operations on the dam, altho’ the river is now very low indeed so that no boat can go down, we have the greatest abundance of water. I was at the mills yesterday. all were going with full heads, the locks leaking as usual, and a great deal of water running over the waste. I was disappointed in raising the breast of the dam a foot higher by the water becoming extremely cold just as we had got all our logs & stone in place ready to be laid down. this is therefore deferred to the spring, and will remove our difficulties from the dam to the canal bank which will be in danger of overflowing. the Rivanna company have had their works viewed by Commissioners and it is presumed they will be recieved at the next court, and toll begin to be levied. they have agreed that the bill respecting them shall pass as amended by the Senate, which provides that they shall recieve their toll at the locks, and only on what passes thro’ them, saving moreover all other private rights. I am not without a hope the Executive is taking measures to prevent the enemy’s lying in Hampton road thro’ the winter which may give an outlet to our produce. I have proposed to them the building a fort at the mouth of Lynhaven R. to command that bay and be a rallying point for the light horse & infantry kept to scour that coast. as yet prices do not look up. the new wheat is sold here @ 3/6 & 3/9 and at the Buckingham mills & all above them at the same. I have heard of no price at Richmond further than that the new flour is dull @ 5.D. I leave this for Bedford in 2. or 3. days and shall not be back till the middle of December, until which time of course I shall not be able to write to you again. we are all in the hope however of seeing you before that, as in that climate the troops must very shortly go into winter quarters, on which event you have nourished our hopes of your coming and passing the winter at home. not despairing then of finding you here on my return from Bedford I salute you with affection and respect and with every wish for your health and safety.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC); at foot of first page: “Colo Thos M. Randolph”; endorsed by Randolph. PoC (MHi); endorsed by TJ.

Randolph’s letter from cayuga, New York, is not recorded in SJL and has not been found. The sorel is an obsolete name for the Richelieu River in Quebec, Canada (A Gazetteer of the World, or Dictionary of Geographical Knowledge [1850–56], 6:671). Although Napoleon won the battle of dresden, 26–27 Aug. 1813, his subordinates were defeated at Grössbeeren that same month by Crown Prince Charles John of Sweden, the former Napoleonic marshal Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte (bernardotte), and by Gebhard Leberecht von blucher at the Katzbach (Chandler, Campaigns of Napoleon description begins David G. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, 1966 description ends , 903–11). TJ alluded to martha Jefferson Randolph and Thomas jefferson Randolph.

Missing letters from Randolph to TJ of 12 and 16 Nov. 1813 are recorded in SJL as received 13 Dec. 1813 from an encampment near Cornwall, Canada, and from French Mills, New York, respectively.

Index Entries

  • Bernadotte, Jean Baptiste Jules, crown prince of Sweden; in1813campaign against Napoleon search
  • Blucher, Gebhard Leberecht von search
  • Buckingham County, Va.; mills in search
  • Chesapeake Bay; British blockade of search
  • Chesapeake Bay; defense of search
  • corn; at Monticello search
  • corn; TJ buys search
  • Dresden, Battle of search
  • Edgehill (T. M. Randolph’s Albemarle Co. estate); wheat crop at search
  • flour; price of search
  • Gilmer, Mr.; and Shadwell mills search
  • Hampton, Wade; War of1812service of search
  • Hull, William; TJ favors execution of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; defense of Chesapeake Bay search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); corn crop at search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); rye crop at search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); wheat crop at search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; 1813campaign of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); mentioned search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); and Shadwell mills search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); and Rivanna Company search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); and Shadwell mills search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); letters from accounted for search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); letters to search
  • Richmond, Va.; flour prices at search
  • Rivanna Company; bill regarding search
  • Rivanna River; water level of search
  • rye; as crop search
  • Shadwell mills; and T. M. Randolph search
  • Shadwell mills; interim millers at during War of1812 search
  • Shadwell mills; repairs to search
  • Virginia; Senate search
  • wheat; at Edgehill search
  • wheat; at Monticello search
  • wheat; price of search
  • Wilkinson, James; War of1812service of search