Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Daniel Call, 13 May 1820

To Daniel Call

Monticello May 13. 20.

Dear Sir

On the first glance over the account of mr Darmsdatt stated in your favor of the 5th inst. I was conscious that I did not owe him a cent, and readily concieved that he had kept his own side of the account only (which I found to be very just) and left to me to take care of mine. the course of our business was this. I wrote to him annually for my supply of fish, generally a dozen barrels of herrings & 1. of shad, desiring him to present the letter to mr Gibson, my Correspondent in Richmond, who would pay his bill on sight of the letter. I have now examined mr Gibson’s accounts and find that accordingly these supplies were regularly paid by him, as you will see by the statement on the back hereof.

Besides the debets you state from 1815. to 1817. there have been two supplies for the years 1818.19. which I presume you have not met with among his papers. I therefore inclose you my letter of July 4. 18. & his note of what was furnished under it, and my letter of May 25. 19. of the amount of which I have no other evidence than mr Gibson’s payment of 165.21 for both. that of 18. being 88.85 the one for 19. I presume was 76.36 making together the sum paid. the payments by mr Gibson I must refer you to him, who will readily turn to the articles by the dates I give, and who probably has the reciepts. the inclosed letters being sent merely to enable you to make up this account correctly, I pray you to return them to me by mail and to accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; text lost in mutilation at seal or obscured due to polygraph malfunction rewritten by TJ; at foot of first page: “Daniel Call esq.”; endorsed by TJ as a letter to “Call Danl exr of Darmsdatt.” Enclosures: (1) TJ to Joseph Darmsdatt, 19 June 1818. (2) Darmsdatt to TJ, 4 July 1818 (not found; see note to preceding enclosure). (3) TJ to Darmsdatt, 25 May 1819. Other enclosure printed below.

Daniel Call (1765–1840), attorney and law reporter, studied law under George Wythe in the 1780s and began practicing law in Petersburg in 1786. In 1791 he qualified to practice in the Court of Appeals, Virginia’s highest tribunal. For several years Call maintained a residence in Petersburg while practicing in Richmond, but he relocated to the state capital about 1797. There he took over Bushrod Washington’s practice when the latter became an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1798. One of the cases that Call inherited from Washington was acting for TJ in his suit in chancery against the heirs of Bennett Henderson. When Call’s relative-by-marriage John Marshall was named chief justice three years later, Call also assumed responsibility for his practice. He published extensively on Virginia case law, producing six volumes of the Virginia Reports between 1801 and 1833. Call also served as a director and general counsel of the Mutual Assurance Society. A decade prior to his death in Richmond, he owned ten slaves (DVB description begins John T. Kneebone, Sara B. Bearss, and others, eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, 1998– , 3 vols. description ends ; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, James P. McClure, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 43 vols. description ends , vol. 31; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1005; Marshall, Papers description begins Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, Charles F. Hobson, and others, eds., The Papers of John Marshall, 1974–2006, 12 vols. description ends , 2:111; Petersburg Virginia Intelligencer, 21 Oct. 1808; DNA: RG 29, CS, Richmond, 1810–30, Henrico Co., 1820; Richmond Enquirer, 22 May 1840; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 23 May 1840; gravestone inscription in Shockoe Hill Cemetery, Richmond).

Call was executor of the estate of Joseph darmsdatt (Richmond Enquirer, 3 Feb. 1820). His favor of the 5th inst., not found, is recorded in SJL as received 10 May 1820 from Richmond. In describing the letters he enclosed here, TJ incorrectly identified the letter of july 4. 18 as having been written by him to Darmsdatt, when in fact it was Darmsdatt’s response of that date to TJ’s letter of 19 June 1818.

Index Entries

  • Call, Daniel; as executor of J. Darmsdatt search
  • Call, Daniel; identified search
  • Call, Daniel; letter from accounted for search
  • Call, Daniel; letter to search
  • Darmsdatt, Joseph; and fish for TJ search
  • Darmsdatt, Joseph; TJ’s account with search
  • fish; herring search
  • fish; shad search
  • food; fish search
  • Gibson, Patrick; and payments made for TJ search
  • herring; TJ orders search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; account with J. Darmsdatt search
  • shad; TJ purchases search