Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Morgan and Thomas B. Robertson, 26 May 1820

To Benjamin Morgan and Thomas B. Robertson

Monticello May 26. 20.

Dear Sir

A ca[se] arises here in which a grandson of mine, Thos J. Randolph is deeply interested, & wherein the information you can probably obtain for us would be an act of great friendship to mysel[f] and1 of infinite importance2 to my grandson.   a mr John Bostwick3 came into this neighborhood some time since, & being pleased with it’s soil, climate & othe[r] circumstances, determined to establish himself in it. he has entered into treaty with my grandson for a very valuable tract of land, of 820. as, a part of that I live on, for about 30,000.D. but he is an utter stranger here. it is unknown to us whether he will be able to make the payments stipulated, and a right of annulment4 is therefore reserved, if we should not recieve satisfactory information of his competence. he says he is of N. Orleans, well known there, and this induces me to trouble you with a request to communicate to me as speedily as convenient what you know of the responsibility of this gentleman, or what you can le[a]rn satisfactorily of5 others. the information is me[r]ely for our own government, and will not be made known to any mortal but my grandson and myself. experience of your kindness on other6 occasions has led me to the presumption of requesting7 you to befriend us on this important8 one with9 the aid of your knolege and enquiries,10 and I pray you to accept assurances of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

Dupl (L-M: Miscellaneous Manuscripts and Modern Ephemera); on verso of TJ to Morgan, 7 July 1820; damaged at crease and mutilated, with missing text supplied from PoC of RC; at foot of text: “Colo Benjamin Morgan.” PoC of RC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover of Fernagus De Gelone to TJ, 10 Dec. 1819; at foot of text: “Benjamin Morgan esq.”; endorsed by TJ. Dft (MHi); on verso of George Divers to TJ, [3 May 1820?], with unrelated architectural notes described at that letter; varies from texts to Morgan, with only the most significant differences noted below; at foot of text: “Thos Bolling Robertson”; endorsed by TJ as a letter to Robertson, with his additional notation: “see Morgan Benjamin fair copy verbatim.” Recorded in SJL as separate letters to Morgan and Robertson. Enclosed in TJ to Morgan, 7 July 1820.

1Preceding eight words interlined in Dft, reworked from “excused as being friendly to myself and.”

2Dft: “value.”

3In Dft TJ here canceled “lately.”

4Preceding two words interlined in Dft.

5PoC of RC and Dft: “from.”

6PoC of RC and Dft: “former.”

7Dft: “asking.”

8PoC of RC: “very important,” with “very” canceled in Dft.

9Sentence to this point reworked in Dft from “under these circumstances I have presumed on your frdshp so far as to hope you will give us.”

10Word interlined in Dft in place of “counsels.” In Dft TJ here canceled “I salute you with contind frdshp & respect.”

Index Entries

  • Bostwick, John; as potential purchaser for Lego search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; sale of Albemarle Co. land proposed search
  • Lego (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); sale of proposed search
  • Morgan, Benjamin; and J. Bostwick’s reputation search
  • Morgan, Benjamin; letters to search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); and proposed sale of Lego search
  • Robertson, Thomas Bolling; and J. Bostwick’s reputation search
  • Robertson, Thomas Bolling; letters to search