Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Lancelot Minor, 14 January 1817

To Lancelot Minor

Monticello. Jan. 14. 17.

Dear Sir

Your favor of Nov. 25. came during an absence of 2. months in Bedford; that of the 6th inst. was recieved on the 10th

In my letter of Jan. 17th of the last year I promised that in the spring of the present I would pay out of my own resources the debt to Colo Callis’s estate. this shall assuredly be done as soon as my crop of flour is sold; which however I do not expect will take place till March or April. I hold it up till then, because the want of bread thro’ all Europe as well as America must produce here by that time a higher than the highest price ever yet known here. the debt as heretofore agreed on was 69.D. principal, and interest: from 1795. at 5. per cent, the rate fixed by law on all debts preceding May. 1797. adding therefore 22. years interest it will be 144. D 90 C   I am thus exact because it is a case of innocent loss on mr Marks as explained in my letters of October 29. 1812 and May 26. 13. and of an executor who must adhere rigorously to law.   You have been so kind as to pay the State & Congressional taxes on mrs Marks’s lands; and if you will inform me of the amount it shall be added to the order on Richmond which will be given for the 144.90 D. we wish exceedingly that those lands could be sold, and if a proper offer1 should occur we hope you will have the goodness to avail us of it, and add that to the many obligations we owe you. I pray you to accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of a reused address cover from Thomas Appleton to TJ; at foot of text: “Colo Lancelot Minor”; endorsed by TJ.

TJ paid the debt due from the estate of his brother-in-law Hastings Marks to colo callis’s estate on 3 June 1817 (MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1334). The maximum interest rate fixed by law in Virginia increased from 5 to 6 percent under usury legislation that came into effect on 1 May 1797 (Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1786–87 sess.], 36; [1796 sess.], 16–7). TJ was the executor in question.

Missing letters from Minor to TJ of 1 July, 25 Nov. 1816, and 6 Jan. 1817 are recorded in SJL as received from Louisa on 10 July, 11 Dec. 1816, and 10 Jan. 1817, respectively. Letters from TJ to Minor of 17 Jan. and 14 July 1816, not found, are also recorded in SJL.

1Reworked from “an offer.”

Index Entries

  • bread; scarcity of search
  • Callis, William Overton; and H. Marks’s estate search
  • Europe; scarcity of bread in search
  • flour; price of search
  • flour; sale of search
  • food; bread search
  • interest; rate limits in Va. search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and H. Marks’s estate search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; sells flour search
  • Marks, Anne Scott Jefferson (TJ’s sister; Hastings Marks’s wife); and H. Marks’s estate search
  • Marks, Hastings (TJ’s brother-in-law; Anne Scott Jefferson Marks’s husband); estate of search
  • Marks, Hastings (TJ’s brother-in-law; Anne Scott Jefferson Marks’s husband); TJ makes payment for search
  • Minor, Lancelot; and H. Marks’s estate search
  • Minor, Lancelot; letters from accounted for search
  • Minor, Lancelot; letters to search
  • Minor, Lancelot; letters to accounted for search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • taxes; on land search
  • United States; scarcity of bread in search
  • Virginia; interest rates in search