Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John H. Peyton, 17 December 1819

To John H. Peyton

Monticello Dec. 17. 19.

Dear Sir

I wait only to recieve a copy of the decree respecting my mill, to suggest to you proper commissioners. must they be of the county? every man above our little ridge of mountains & on the waters of our river is interested on the side of the defendants. they must certainly come from below the S. W. mountains and not have rival mills. may they be taken from the adjacent counties? their report must be the foundation of a new and full bargain which th[e] court will have to make for us, for example.

where shall the locks be built?

if below the mill, should they not be obliged to fill up the old chasm?

who is to maintain the dam, & keep the canal clean?

if both, in what proportions?

must they not keep a lock-keeper on the spot?

must they not give sufficient security against damage?

I have just compleated a canal for a mill at the West end of the dam, a lock a few yards below that end of the dam1 of 3. or 4. feet lift only would let them down below the bottom of my dam. can they have any right but to be placed where they would be if my dam were not there?

shall I not have a right to use my own canals for other works, such as a threshing machine, saw mill (one being actually built and in use2 on the canal at the West end?

in fine, the commissioners must, I suppose, find all the facts whic[h] may be necessary to enable the court to make a specific bargain for us, which we never made nor thought of for ourselves.

your’s with great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on a reused address cover from Hugh Holmes to TJ; edge trimmed; mutilated at seal, with five words rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “Mr J. H. Peyton”; endorsed by TJ.

1Preceding four words interlined.

2Preceding three words interlined.

Index Entries

  • agriculture; threshing machines search
  • dams; on Rivanna River search
  • Jefferson v. Rivanna Company; commissioners in search
  • Jefferson v. Rivanna Company; Order by Virginia Superior Court of Chancery in search
  • Jefferson v. Rivanna Company; TJ’s counsel in search
  • locks (canal) search
  • machines; threshing search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); sawmill at search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); threshing machines at search
  • Peyton, John Howe; andJefferson v. Rivanna Company search
  • Peyton, John Howe; letters to search
  • Rivanna Company; directors of search
  • Rivanna River; canals on search
  • Rivanna River; dams on search
  • Rivanna River; locks on search
  • sawmills; at Monticello search
  • Southwest Mountains; and Rivanna River search
  • Superior Court of Chancery for the Staunton District search
  • threshing machines search