Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Mann Randolph to Thomas Jefferson, 31 July 1821

From Thomas Mann Randolph

Richmond July 31. 1821

Dear Sir,

Mr William F. Pendleton Senior Member of the Council, and one of the Directors of the Literary Fund, will return you the Bond executed by the Visitors of the University for the loan of 30.000$. which I could not give up, as the Board refused to pay more than 29.100$ upon it. Mr Pendleton has sufferred himself to be overruled unfortunately, on this occasion, for he is well disposed, and [just?], not grave only, as is so often the case. The compensation to the agent of the Executive who collected the money+had been paid out of the general Fund: the 30.000$ was untouched, and certainly was fairly appropriated1 by the Law, in toto, to the University. There were 10.000 $++ by the statement of the Accountant, (who was called upon during the discussion to say,) at that moment, in the Fund. To the remark that the schools were constantly drawing, I observed that the receipts were as constantly coming in.2 And most certainly the Accountant did enquire whether the Board would purchase any James River shares, immediately after the defeat of the Loan; to which the Gentleman who was so hostile to it, replied easely3 by expressing a desire to get all of that stock4 possible, and enquiring the price of them. This fact proves hostility to the University to be at the bottom of the whole transaction. It is absurd for men who could vote such an enormous compensation as 900 $, for what was done, in fact, by an officer sent to Washington from Richmond at publick expence, and not by Mr Selden, to affect such scruples about the part of the Fund from which the extravagant compensation was to come, all being in fact mingled so completely that the one could not be concealed by the other. I confess I voted for the compensation but I understood at the time that the Loan would be made with certainty, and I was disposed to run some little risk on the side of liberality, to encourage good feelings in my colleagues. I was sorry to find the Accountant of the Literary fund had gone completely5 into the party opposed to the University.

with very sincere attachment

Th M Randolph

RC (MHi); one word illegible; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Aug. 1821 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Stackelberg, 23 Oct. 1822, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire Monticello By favor of Wm F. Pendleton Esqr Councillor of State and Director of the Literary Fund.”

The accountant of the Literary Fund was James Brown (1780–1859). At their 4 June 1821 meeting the directors of the Literary Fund ordered that $900 be paid to Cary selden, Virginia’s agent of claims. The directors had previously agreed that Selden should be awarded a 3 percent commission on any debts to Virginia retrieved from the United States government, and Selden claimed this commission on the $30,000 received by the Literary Fund even though he had not done the actual work of collecting that sum (Vi: RG 27, Virginia Literary Fund Minute Book).

1Manuscript: “appropiated.”

2Preceding four words interlined in place of an illegible phrase, with duplicate uncanceled period editorially omitted and “comin” corrected to “coming.”

3Word interlined.

4Preceding three words interlined.

5Manuscript: “compleletely.”

Authorial notes

[The following note(s) appeared in the margins or otherwise outside the text flow in the original source, and have been moved here for purposes of the digital edition.]

+ +for the Literary Board

++ ++more than the 30.000$.

Index Entries

  • Brown, James (1780–1859); as Va. Literary Fund accountant search
  • James River Company search
  • Literary Fund; and loans for University of Virginia search
  • Literary Fund; and U.S. debt to Va. search
  • Pendleton, William F.; as director of Va. Literary Fund search
  • Pendleton, William F.; conveys document to TJ search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); as Literary Fund president search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); letters from search
  • Selden, Cary; as Va. claims agent search
  • United States; debt to Va. search
  • Virginia, University of; Administration and Financial Affairs; funding for search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and loans for University of Virginia search