Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Harrison, 26 June 1817

To Benjamin Harrison

Monticello June 26. 17.

Dear Sir

The American Philosophical society (at Philadelphia) are in possession of a MS. journal of Colo Byrd, father of the late Colo Wm Byrd, while he was on the line of Virginia & Carolina. I suppose it went with the Westover library & thro’ that channel has come to them. it was evidently written by the author for publication, and they mean to print it. the one which, thro’ the channel of Colo Nicholas, I have had your permission to read, is a diary of the same survey, yet by no means a copy. each of these contains many and interesting facts & observations which the other has not, each is important as a supplement to the other, and both equally worthy of the good sense of the writer, and of possession by the public. both go to the same object of pourtraying the state of society & manners of that time. I am sure the Philosophical society would be glad to print both at the same time; and the object of this letter is to ask your permission to me to send on to them the copy I hold as yet under your indulgence, with a view to it’s being printed? your answer shall determine it’s being forwarded to them or returned to yourself without further delay. Accept the assurance of my esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; at foot of text: “Benjamin Harrison esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

Benjamin Harrison (1787–1842), grandson of Virginia governor Benjamin Harrison (d. 1791), was born at Berkeley plantation in Charles City County. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1806. Two years later TJ nominated Harrison to be commissioner of loans for Virginia, but the Senate rejected the appointment. Harrison represented Charles City County in the House of Delegates, 1814–15, and in a state convention opposed to Andrew Jackson’s presidential aspirations in 1828. The 1840 census listed him in possession of sixty-eight slaves. The following year he was present at the death of his uncle, United States president William Henry Harrison (Fillmore Norfleet, Saint-Mémin in Virginia: Portraits and Biographies [1942], 73, 171–2; Louise Pecquet du Bellet, Some Prominent Virginia Families [1907; repr. 1976], 2:519; ViHi: Byrd Family Papers; Richmond Enquirer, 11 July 1806; Margaret Page to TJ, 30 Sept. 1808 [MHi]; TJ to Albert Gallatin, 10 Oct. 1808 [NHi: Gallatin Papers]; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:84, 88 [14 Nov., 6 Dec. 1808]; DNA: RG 29, CS, Charles City Co., 1810–40; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends , 277; Richmond Enquirer, 10 Jan. 1828; Baltimore Niles’ National Register, 17 Apr. 1841; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 3 Feb. 1842).

Index Entries

  • American Philosophical Society; collections of search
  • Byrd, William (1674–1744); library of search
  • Byrd, William (1674–1744); The History of the Dividing Line search
  • Byrd, William (1674–1744); The Secret History of the Line search
  • Byrd, William (1728–77); family of search
  • Harrison, Benjamin (1787–1842); and W. Byrd manuscripts search
  • Harrison, Benjamin (1787–1842); identified search
  • Harrison, Benjamin (1787–1842); letters to search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); and W. Byrd manuscripts search
  • North Carolina; boundary with Va. search
  • The History of the Dividing Line (W. Byrd [1674–1744]); manuscript of search
  • The Secret History of the Line (W. Byrd [1674–1744]) search
  • Virginia; boundary of with N.C. search