Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Leiper, 27 March 1818

To Thomas Leiper

Monticello Mar. 27. 18.

Dear Sir

I am subject to a Corvée of a very painful nature which I resist whenever it is possible, but in some cases cannot avoid. it is to sollicit offices for others, who through themselves or their friends, have some hold on me of friendship or of duty. it is understood that application is made for the establishment of a branch of the bank of the US. in the town of Fredericksburg; and a mr Bernard of that part of the country wishes to be it’s president. I do not know him personally, but he is intimately known to those with whom I am intimate, and to whose assurances I can give en[t]ire faith that his character both moral & intellectual renders him worthy of the trust. with the main question Whether such a branch shall be established? I have nothing to do; but should that decision be affirmative, I have only to ask of your friendship that you will give the credit to the recommendation of mr Bernard which I do myself; & viewing him on that ground that you will do between him & his competitors what to yourself shall seem right, with the assurance that this will be what I most wish myself, and that my friendship and respect for yourself continue constant & sincere.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Robert M. Patterson to TJ, 23 Jan. 1818; torn at seal; at foot of text: “Thomas Lieper esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

William Bernard (1770–1841), a former resident of Belle Grove plantation in King George County and a director of the Farmers’ Bank of Virginia in 1812, relocated early in TJ’s retirement to Mannsfield, an estate in Spotsylvania County near Fredericksburg. The owner of forty-three slaves in 1820 and ninety-seven twenty years later, he exchanged letters with TJ in the winter of 1824–25 about his son Arthur H. H. Bernard’s candidacy for admission to the University of Virginia. The elder Bernard died at Mannsfield (John Frederick Dorman, comp. and ed., Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607–1624/5 [4th ed., 2004–07], 2:346; WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 1st ser., 3 [1894]: 109; 5 [1897]: 183; Norfolk Gazette and Publick Ledger, 7 Aug. 1812; Ralph Emmett Fall, Hidden Village: Port Royal, Virginia, 1744–1981 [1982], 138; DNA: RG 29, CS, Spotsylvania Co., 1820, 1840; Bernard to TJ, 9 Dec. 1824; TJ to Bernard, 5 Jan. 1825; Richmond Enquirer, 20 Aug. 1839; Fredericksburg Hustings Court Will Book, A2:25–51).

The Second Bank of the United States did not establish a fredericksburg branch at this time. Bernard was intimately known to the Bankhead family (Ann C. Bankhead to TJ, [received 25 Mar. 1818]).

Index Entries

  • Bankhead, John; family of search
  • Bank of the United States, Second; proposed Fredericksburg branch search
  • banks; in Va. search
  • Bernard, William; identified search
  • Bernard, William; seeks bank presidency search
  • Fredericksburg, Va.; proposed bank in search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • Leiper, Thomas; and Second Bank of the United States search
  • Leiper, Thomas; letters to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • Virginia; banks in search