Thomas Jefferson Papers

Philip Thornton to Thomas Jefferson, 17 March 1818

From Philip Thornton

Richmond. March 17th—18

Dear Sir

I acknowledge I have been remiss, in not writing but was betrayed in to the omission, by peculiar circumstances, which will I hope remove every impression of intentional delay. Yours, of Augst never came to hand, for after, I was informed by Colo Randlph that you had made such a proposition, I went repeatedly to the P. Ofice and made the strictest enquries. Soon after I took the lease from you I became united, with Mr William Caruthers and a Gentleman of this place,—we made a large purchase of Lead, and an accidental fire—suceeded by the peace, produced a very considerable loss, we wound up, and I took the establishment, from them, with a View of admitting Robert C. Jennings, whom, I believed was to have had a Store at With C, House, and to have furnished the lead on good terms, and many other advantages were to accrue by the aliance; but suffice it to say, that in a Short time, I was compelled to decline all transactions with him, after meeting a second and no inconsiderable loss. At the date of your duplicate I was on a Visit to my farm in Culpeper, as soon as I returned and received it,—feeling myself committed to Mr Jennings, who resides in Norfolk, and having no confidence, in him, I wrote immediately offering to take the whole lease on myself, I was in daly expectation of receiving an answer, that I might tender you my Sincere, acknowledgements, and return you a definitive answer, But Mr Jennings1 was in the City of Washington, and it was only a few days ago that he passed through, Richmond, to Norfolk, and authorised his agent here, to whom I had mentioned the Subject, to give me his relinquishment. I have much to regret but particularly, the aspect it wears, on the Score of neglect, for if I had thought for a moment, that you had any object that required, immediate possession, I would have risked, the damages that R C Jennings might have recovered from me—

be good enough to present me to all the family and accept my warmest assurances of esteem and2
great respect

Philip Thornton

Yours of the 10th Int came to hand yesterday

P. Thn

RC (MHi); addressed (faint): “Mr Thomas Jefferson es[q]r Monticello, Near Chartolsville”; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked Richmond, 19 Mar.; endorsed by TJ as received 24 Mar. 1818 and so recorded in SJL.

with c, house: Wythe Court House. Wythe County was noted for the lead its mines produced. For the dispatch of the duplicate of TJ’s [18] Aug. 1817 letter, see TJ to Thornton, 8 Jan. 1818.

1Manuscript: “Jennngs.”

2Manuscript: “ang.”

Index Entries

  • Caruthers, William; and shot manufacture search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and lease of Natural Bridge search
  • Jennings, Robert C.; and shot manufacture search
  • lead; for shot search
  • lead; mines search
  • manufacturing; shot towers search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; and shot manufactory search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; lease of search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); and lease of Natural Bridge search
  • Richmond, Va.; post office in search
  • shot manufacturing search
  • Thornton, Philip; and shot manufactory search
  • Thornton, Philip; leases Natural Bridge from TJ search
  • Thornton, Philip; letters from search
  • Wythe County, Va.; lead mines in search