Thomas Jefferson Papers

Brett Randolph to Thomas Jefferson, 7 July 1818

From Brett Randolph

Culpeper 7. July 1818.

Respected Sir,

In the year 1801, I improvidently abandoned a lease of 14 years upon a farm in this County in the expectation of being appointed to an office in Frederick’sburg where I unavoidably remained untill I had nearly exhausted my small pecuniary resources—and unfortunately, soon after I had resumed the occupation of a farmer, the times became unfavorable and I have been for several years struggling with adversity in a state of poverty little short of absolute want. A recurrence, to this circumstance is not intended, as a murmur at what is some times aptly termed private griefs, but merely, as introductory to a most respectful request, in the sequel. It has been suggested to me very recently, that the post office at Richmond will probably be vacated. I would, with the aid of two of my Son’s, in all the details, discharge the duties of that station;—and in the event, of the Office becoming vacant, permit me good Sir, to solicit you to interest yourself so far in my behalf, as to name me to the proper authority, as one whose chief care it would be, faithfully, to perform his duty—and that you will be pleased to excuse this obtrusion on your time,—and accept, the respectful consideration of Sir, your most Obt Sevt

Brett Randolph jr

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 18 July 1818 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to William F. Gray, 8 Nov. 1818, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Albemarle County Virginia” by “mail”; franked; postmarked Stevensburg, 8 July.

Brett Randolph (1766–1828), farmer, was a native of Henrico County who made several unsuccessful attempts to obtain an appointment to public office. In 1795 TJ and Francis Eppes (ca. 1747–1808), acting as executors of the John Wayles estate, began a chancery lawsuit against Randolph and his brothers, including David Meade Randolph (ca. 1759–1830). The complicated effort to make the Richard Randolph estate responsible for payment of a debt failed four years later when an appeals court ruled in favor of the Randolph heirs. Randolph died at Goshen, Lowndes County, Mississippi (VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893–  description ends 34 [1926]: 163; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 41 vols. description ends , 28:285–91; Albert Gallatin to TJ, 18 Apr. 1805 [DLC]; TJ to Gallatin, 20 Apr. 1805 [NHi: Gallatin Papers]; DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17; correspondence in ViW: Beverly Papers; Richmond Enquirer, 26 Feb. 1828).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Post Office, U.S.; and Va. post offices search
  • Randolph, Brett; family of search
  • Randolph, Brett; identified search
  • Randolph, Brett; letter from search
  • Randolph, Brett; seeks recommendation from TJ search
  • Richmond, Va.; post office in search