Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, [by 17] January 1822

To John Wayles Eppes

Monticello Jan.   1822. [by 17 Jan. 1822]

Dear Sir

I send a small cart and box for the books, state papers Etc you are so kind as to lend me. I possess the Journals of the old Congress; and I have no need of the public accounts mentioned in your list. the information I need is generally from 1789. to 1809. and nothing at all after 1809. I will specify1 at the end of my letter the particular titles of what I wish to recieve as they are expressed in your list; and whatever I recieve shall be carefully kept separate from my own and faithfully returned. but altho’ I am proposing to myself to enter on this business, I have not much confidence that I shall be permitted to go through with it. age is an obstacle, but not the most formidable one. it is the oppressive correspondence with which I am so cruelly burthened, a correspondence in no wise concerning myself, or of any interest to me. I had the curiosity a few days ago to count the number of letters I recieve in a year, taking one at random. the number was 1267, nearly all requiring answers, and a great part of them elaborate answers & of much research. judge then what time these will allow me for what I propose, and that too in broken scraps, the mere offal of my time. still I will try to do what these will admit.2

Your proposition, dear Sir, of an exchange of territories is beyond the powers of my mind or body. it would be an enterprise too bold & gigantic for one near the entrance of his 80th year. to break up plantations move all hands, bag & baggage, stock and all, to a new & distant settlement, would be like beginning the world anew to one who is just going out of it. I should never live to see things under way again: and in the mean time crops would be lost which I could illy spare. I am without a fear, in the 1st place that you will3 live long enough to see your family of age to take care of themselves; & even should Francis’s care be necessary for them, the communication between Bedford and Millbrook is so short & good as to make it quite easy. it is not more than 13. or 14. hours drive, say of a day & a piece of a morning or evening. I have conveyed too 1000. as of my land there in trust to the bank of the US. as a security for my unfortunate engagement for Colo Nicholas; and altho’ I have pretty well founded expectations of being cleared of that, the liability of the land must continue until the actual discharge of the debt.—I shall not be able to pay you your interest, now due, of the 1st year until I get my tobo down from Bedford which will not be until April. it shall then be paid by an order on Richmd

I send mrs Eppes 2. trees of the most beautiful kinds known. the tallest is the silk tree from Asia. it will require housing about 2 years more & will then bear the open air safely. the mother tree growing here, about 15. years old and 25.f. high & still growing vigorously has stood winters which have killed my Azederacs & mulberries. the other is the celebrated Bow wood of Louisiana which may be planted in the spring where it is to stand as it bears our climate perfectly. it bears a fruit of the size and appearance of an orange, but not eatable.

Jan. 17. this letter has been written so far, many days, but the severe weather we have had has prevented my sending off the cart until now. with my respects to mrs Eppes accept my affectionate attachment and respect

Th: Jefferson

Journals of the Senate & H. of R. of the 8th 9th & 10th Congresses.

Public papers laid before the 8th 9th & 10th Congresses

American State papers 1789–1809.

Documents on the subject of Foreign relations

American Senator. Debates of 98.99.

Any newspapers you may have from 1789. to 1809.

RC (ViU: TJP); partially dated; addressed: “John W. Eppes esquire Millbrook Buckingham”; with “Dear Sir” and “Mill Brook” written in Eppes’s hand on address cover. PoC (ViU: TJP-ER); on reused address cover to TJ; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 17 Jan. 1822 and so recorded in SJL.

1Word interlined in place of “state.”

2In enhancing faint text in PoC, TJ substituted “I can” for preceding three words.

3TJ here canceled “not.” Word uncanceled in PoC.

Index Entries

  • aging; TJ on his own search
  • azedaracs (chinaberry) search
  • Bank of the United States, Second, Richmond branch of; and W. C. Nicholas’s debts search
  • Bedford County, Va.; deeds of trust for land in search
  • Carpenter, Thomas; The American Senator. or a copious and impartial report of the Debates in the Congress of the United States search
  • Congress, U.S.; documents presented to search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); mentioned search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); and loan to TJ search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); and proposed land exchange with TJ search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); letters to search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); library of search
  • Eppes, Martha Burke Jones (John Wayles Eppes’s second wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Eppes, Martha Burke Jones (John Wayles Eppes’s second wife); TJ sends plants to search
  • history; TJ asked to write search
  • House of Representatives, U.S.; journals of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; borrows books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; bond with W. C. Nicholas and T. J. Randolph search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; loan from J. W. Eppes search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; description of, in retirement search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; fatiguing or painful to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Bond of Wilson Cary Nicholas, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Jefferson Randolph to the Second Bank of the United States search
  • Mill Brook (J. W. Eppes’s Buckingham Co. estate); described search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); plants growing at search
  • mulberry; trees search
  • newspapers; loaned to TJ search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); bond with TJ and T. J. Randolph search
  • Osage orange (bow-wood) search
  • plants; sent by TJ search
  • Senate, U.S.; journals of search
  • silk tree search
  • State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States; loaned to TJ search
  • The American Senator. or a copious and impartial report of the Debates in the Congress of the United States (T. Carpenter) search
  • tobacco; and TJ’s debts search
  • trees; silk search
  • United States; state papers and public documents search
  • weather; effect on shipping search