Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Richard Harrison, 31 May 1822

To Richard Harrison

Monticello May 31. 22.

Dear Sir

You have doubtless seen, under the signature of ‘a Native Virginian’ a charge against me on the reciept of 1148.D. in 1809. which I had erroneously credited to the US. in 1789. on the presumption that a draught of mine, of that amount, in favor of Grand on their bankers in Amsterdam would be paid; which however miscarried, and of course was never paid. I stated in answer to this libellist what was the truth, shewing that as I had paid it to the US. and it had never been paid by them, it was just it should be returned to me, but the writer abandoning the charge of my having pilfered it from the Treasury,1 changes it to that of having twice recieved it, and to support this he falsifies that credit as entered in my account given in to you. I have the original now before me and it stands in these words ‘1789. Oct. 1. by my bill on Willinks V. Staphorsts and Hubbard in favr of Grand and co. for 2800. fl equal to 6250–18s.’ and I am certain that that I filed with you is in the same words, which he falsifies into these 1789. Oct. 1. ‘by cash recieved of Grand for bill on Willinck Et.’2 and on the single word ‘cash’ which he has interpolated, founds his whole charge of my having confessed that I recieved the money for the draught. whereas I recieved not a copper.3 it was drawn and inclosed to Grand to be credited in our private account, & I therefore credited it to the US.   will you, Dear Sir, do me the favor to have my autograph account examined, and send me a certificate of the very words of this entry in my account, certified by the officer who has official custody of the paper or by yourself if within your line of office. and I must further request an immediate transmission of it to me, as it is not well to let these things take root in the public mind for want of timely contradiction. I am really happy in having occasion to recall myself to your recollection, and to renew to you the assurances of my real friendship and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Joseph C. Cabell to TJ, 22 Feb. 1821; at foot of text: “Richard Harrison esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

The answer to this libellist is TJ to Ritchie & Gooch, 13 May 1822. In the original now before me, TJ’s Accounts as Minister Plenipotentiary to France, 8 July 1792, the date of the bill was given as 21 Oct. 1789, not 1789. oct. 1 (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– , 45 vols. description ends , 24:175–93, entry on p. 187; see also 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 , 1:746).

1Reworked from “Treasurer.”

2Omitted closing quotation mark editorially supplied.

3Word interlined in place of “coffer.”

Index Entries

  • Grand & Compagnie (Paris firm) search
  • Harrison, Richard (auditor of the treasury); and settlement of TJ’s account search
  • Harrison, Richard (auditor of the treasury); letter to search
  • Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard (Amsterdam firm) search
  • “A Native of Virginia” (pseudonym); accuses TJ of misuse of public funds search
  • “A Native of Virginia” (pseudonym); TJ’s replies to search