Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Jonas Keller, 8 January [1818]

To Jonas Keller

Monticello Jan. 8. 17. [1818]


On seeing it announced in the newspapers that a number of stocking weavers from Switzerland were arrived at Washington under direction of mr Lee, and supposing they would not all find business there I proposed to him to send one to Charlottesville,1 which I thought a good stand. he informed me that the whole constituted a company which could not separate; but that an apprentice should be recieved from Charlottesville, who should be taught & discharged at the end of one year paying his own board, which he supposed would be 2.D. a week. on [th]is, three persons in Charlottesville, of whom mr Leitch is one, agreed to send mr Stewart,2 chiefly with the charitable view of giving him a trade to maintain himself & to repay what they should have advanced for him. in this I had no other concern than to have offered to contribute a certain sum, to help the young man, gratis and without asking reimbursement, or being concerned in the company. on the reciept of your letter of Dec. 14. I referred it to those gentlemen whose answer I now inclose to you. by this you will percieve that they are not disposed to go, in behalf of mr Stewart, beyond the original terms, which being changed, they chuse to withdraw, paying his board, which I believe they have enabled him to do by remittance.

I am sorry, on his account, for this change of purpose, but having no part in it, I can but convey to you their determination, and with my best wishes for the success of your establishment, I tender you the assurance of my respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC: TJ Papers, 209:37231); on verso of reused address cover of Emmanuel, marquis de Grouchy, to TJ, 20 Oct. 1817; misdated; damaged at seal, with three words rewritten by TJ in whole or in part; at foot of text: “Mr Keller”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 8 Jan. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in TJ to William Lee, 8 Jan. 1818.

a certain sum: on 24 Jan. 1818 TJ “Put into the hands of Jas. Leitch 10.D. as a contribn. towards C. Stewart’s learning the trade of a stocking weaver” (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, 2 vols., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1341). The enclosed answer from James Leitch to TJ of 6 Jan. 1818, not found, is recorded in SJL as written “for himself, Dinsmore & Garrett,” received the day it was written, and “sent to Keller.”

1Manuscript: “Charlottsville.”

2Manuscript: “Steward.”

Index Entries

  • Charlottesville, Va.; weavers needed in search
  • Dinsmore, James; and weaver for Charlottesville search
  • Garrett, Alexander; and weaver for Charlottesville search
  • Keller, Jonas; and C. Stewart’s apprenticeship search
  • Keller, Jonas; letters to search
  • Keller, Jonas; weaving enterprise of search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); and C. Stewart’s apprenticeship search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); weaving enterprise of search
  • Leitch, James; and weaver search
  • Stewart, Charles; apprenticeship of search
  • textiles; and weaving search
  • textiles; manufacturing search
  • Washington, D.C.; Washington Stocking Knit Factory search
  • Washington Stocking Knit Factory search