Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Barnes to Thomas Jefferson, 1 February 1819

From John Barnes

George Town Coa 1t feby 1819

Dear Sir—

This morning the Honble Rufus King of the Senate called on me to make inquirey into the particulars of the late Genl K— Affairs—having learnt of my Agency thro you &: &c—I answered him—namely—to what was generally known. viz: that the good Genl K— had previous—to his leaving this Country left you his sole Executor—by his Will—to which—the late John Dawson—then a Member of Congress and my self were Witnesses—and that the Contents thereof were—in trust—to you—for Charitable purposes—at your decretion1—to all which he had previously been informed—at length Mr King informed me—the Cause of his inquiries—was at the particular request of Genl John Armstrong—who—while in France—had a Son—Named After the Genl—and to whom he the Genl K— had made in a 2d Will a bequeth—but to what Amot Mr King—did not say—

as I had a slight knowledge of Mr King—previous to his Mariage with Miss Alsop whose father Mr John Alsop I was well acquainted—and at whose request Mr King—when Appointed Minister to England was desired to tender his Mr Alsops respects to me—at his departure from Philada—of which I now reminded him—Mr King insisted on my calling on him—at his Lodgings—Crawfords Hotell—of this Opportunity I shall avail myself and thereby probably may learn more particulars respecting this said—unexpected—(improbable Claim) of Genl Armstrongs2 Son—I added—from the knowledge I had of the Correct Character the pure—Sincere & Honorable intentions & delicate Motives of the good General—at all events—if such an Alteration of His former Will—had taken place—I had not the smalest doubt but that the good Genl K— had—at the same time, transmitted correct information to Mr Jefferson of the fact, for his Mr Jefferson Goverment, of course Genl Armstrong should—or Ought to make his Communications direct to Mr Jeffers[on] on so delicate & particular a subject—meanwhile I shall endea[vor] to learn & advise you—and if any directions from you for my future Govrmt &c:—

Most Respectfully—I am Dr Sir Your Obed: servt

John Barnes.

The mail is now Closing

RC (MHi); edge trimmed; postscript adjacent to signature; endorsed by TJ as received 7 Feb. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Steele, 7 Feb. 1820, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson, Esqr Monticello—Virginia”; with trimmed text from first four lines of second page of RC attached.

genl k—: Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

1Thus in manuscript, meaning “decrease; diminution” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ), with “discretion” probably intended.

2Manuscript: “Armstongs.”

Index Entries

  • Alsop, John; friendship with J. Barnes search
  • Armstrong, James Kosciuszko; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • Armstrong, John; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • Barnes, John; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • Barnes, John; friendship with J. Alsop search
  • Barnes, John; letters from search
  • Crawford’s Hotel (Georgetown, D.C.) search
  • Dawson, John; witnesses document search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business and Financial Affairs; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • King, Mary Alsop (Rufus King’s wife) search
  • King, Rufus; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; estate of search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; wills of search