Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Armstrong, 14 March 1819

To John Armstrong

Monticello Mar. 14. 19.

Dear Sir

Your favor of the 1st inst. is recieved. in the case of Genl Kosciuzko, he having lived & died in Switzerland, his executor living in Virginia, the trust as to the mass of his property being to be executed there, and his bona notibilia being in the treasury of the US. I thought it best to ask the advice of the Atty Gen. of the US. as to the court before which, if the probat was admitted, the Treasury would think it authoritative. it is but lately I have recieved his opinion that it may be proved in the court of the district in which I live. that court does not sit till the 5th of May. I shall then prove the will and get the administration, with the will annexed, committed t[o]1 Genl Cocke, my friend & neighbor, & the most diligent, correct and worthy man in the world. in the mean time mr Zeltner of Soleure the friend in whose house the General lived & died, has forwarded to me a claim to the whole property of the General, found[ed on] some instrument which he has neither forwarded nor explained to me. I suspect it will be found to be confined to his property in Europe; as the General in his last letter to me expressed the continuance of his object as to his property here. should his bequest to Zeltner extend to the US. still, your son & he claiming equally under voluntary instruments, a question may arise whether the latter revokes the former. as soon as the will is proved, Genl Cocke & myself will have due consideration taken on this subject, and you shall hear from one of us. in the mean time perhaps Zeltner may forward me the instrument on which he claims. I salute you sincerely with friendship and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on recto of reused address cover to TJ, with additional address from TJ to Thomas Jefferson Randolph on verso; mutilated at seal; at foot of text: “Genl Armstrong”; endorsed by TJ.

Bona notabilia (bona notibilia): “Notable goods; property worth accounting for in a decedent’s estate” (Black’s Law Dictionary description begins Bryan A. Garner and others, eds., Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th ed., 1999 description ends ). The atty gen. of the us. was William Wirt. The circuit court of the district in which i live opened in Charlottesville on 10 May 1819, not the 5th (Albemarle Co. Law Order Book [1809–21], 345).

Franz X. Zeltner was the friend with whom Tadeusz Kosciuszko lived at the time of his death. Zeltner’s brother, Peter J. Zeltner, had claimed the whole property left by the Polish patriot.

1Word faint.

Index Entries

  • Albemarle County Circuit Court, Va. search
  • Armstrong, James Kosciuszko; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • Armstrong, John; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • Armstrong, John; letters to search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell (1780–1866); and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell (1780–1866); TJ on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business and Financial Affairs; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; J. H. Cocke search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; death of search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; estate of search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; plan to emancipate and educate American slaves search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; wills of search
  • slaves; T. Kosciuszko’s plan to emancipate and educate search
  • Treasury Department, U.S.; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • Wirt, William; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search
  • Zeltner, Franz Xaver; and T. Kosciuszko’s death search
  • Zeltner, Peter Josef; and T. Kosciuszko’s estate search