Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Tench Coxe, 13 October 1820

To Tench Coxe

Monticello Oct. 13. 20.

Dear Sir

Your favor of Aug. 4. was handed to me by mr Skinner whom I recieved with great pleasure, as well on account of his merit, as of your recommendation. I valued it the more as it has furnished me an occasion to renew recollections of our antient friendship, and to assure you that time has neither weaned nor weakened it with me. we were fellow laborers indeed in times not to be forgotten. a stiffened wrist, the effect of age on an antient dislocation, makes writing now a slow & painful operation and disables me for regular correspondence. but while embarrassing the expression, it does not diminish the feeling of former cordialities, and I pray you to accept the assurance of the faithful remembrance of mine with yourself.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Tenche Coxe esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

Tench Coxe (1755–1824), merchant, public official, and political economist, was born in Philadelphia. Between the age of six and the year 1771 he attended the academy division, and possibly briefly the college division, of the Philadelphia College and Academy (later the University of Pennsylvania). In 1772 Coxe entered business on his own before becoming a partner in his father’s mercantile firm four years later. During the American Revolution he remained ostensibly neutral, but he went to British-occupied New York City in 1776 and returned to Philadelphia in the wake of the British army the following year. This led to an accusation of treason. After his case was dismissed in 1778, Coxe resumed commercial activities in his native city. During the 1780s he participated in western land speculations that eventually established his family’s fortunes. Influential in debates on political economy and a promoter of domestic manufactures, Coxe attended the 1786 Annapolis convention to consider reforming the American government, supported the new United States Constitution in a number of pamphlets, and was appointed late in 1788 to represent Pennsylvania during the last months of the Confederation Congress. In 1790 he became the assistant secretary of the treasury, and two years later he was made commissioner of the revenue. Coxe joined the American Philosophical Society in 1796 and subsequently served as one of its counsellors. He eventually became dissatisfied with Alexander Hamilton’s economic program, and on being removed from the Treasury Department in 1797, Coxe became one of the most influential writers supporting the Republican party. In 1803 TJ appointed him purveyor of public supplies, a position he held until it was abolished in 1812. Coxe then returned permanently to Philadelphia, where he unsuccessfully sought various federal appointments and continued to write on a wide variety of subjects (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Jacob E. Cooke, Tench Coxe and the Early Republic [1978]; PHi: Coxe Family Papers; Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton [1961–87], esp. 26:519–22; 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 , esp. 19:122–7; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends nos. 3422, 3622–32; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:124, 453, 455, 2:242, 243, 456, 497 [8 May 1792, 11, 15 Nov. 1803, 1, 3 Apr. 1812, 18 Jan., 18 Feb. 1814]; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Minutes, 15 Jan. 1796, 5 Jan. 1797 [MS in PPAmP]; Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., esp. 2:142–3, 152, 155–6; Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 17 July 1824).

Coxe’s letter to TJ of aug. 4, not found, is recorded in SJL as received 6 Sept. 1820 from Philadelphia, with additional bracketed notation: “by mr Skinner.”

Index Entries

  • American Philosophical Society; members of search
  • Coxe, Tench; friendship with TJ search
  • Coxe, Tench; identified search
  • Coxe, Tench; introduces J. S. Skinner to TJ search
  • Coxe, Tench; letter from accounted for search
  • Coxe, Tench; letter to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; fatiguing or painful to search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Skinner, John S. search
  • Skinner, John Stuart; introduced to TJ search
  • Skinner, John Stuart; visits Monticello search