Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Armistead Burwell, 11 August 1806

August 11th 1806

Dr Sir,

I have lost no time in consulting Mr Turner upon the Subject of Managing your estate in Albemarle; the result however has proven unfavorable to my wishes; he thinks the Sacrifice in quitting his farm too great to for the Sum of 75.£. in other respects he would feel pleased with your employment & thinks himself competent; I am Sorry you must loose his Services, because I beleive your interest would be very much promoted; this opinion is entertaind by all who know Mr T. & who have witnessed his industry, fidelity & Skill while in the business of Colo Callaway—Some days since I met with Mr Anthony Street the son of the Gentleman, who was consulted about the character of Ray: he informs me Ray lived in Lunenburg until he married, that he married a very old woman merely for her fortune, which he soon wasted, & then disappeard, from which time nothing certain has been heard from him until your letter arrived, the Grand son of the woman he married I find lives in this County, & if you still feel doubtful about his merits, [shall] be consulted—I have given this information lest the letter of Mr Street Senr Miscarries—Upon the whole Ray was consider’d a man utterly destitute of Morals or principle.

Mr. Clarke has determin’d to resign his seat in Congress without farther delay. I have been fixed on & solicited by Many who place confidence in me to become a Candidate to fill the vacancy, relying on the Sincerity of their Solicitations I have consented; Notwithstanding the sanguine expectations of my friends, I myself feel very doubtful of Success; It is almost impossible for an Individual, without any particular claim on the people of the district, to prevail against one who has connexions scatter’d in every direction & who on such occasions generally display the utmost Zeal, whatever may be the event I shall be satisfied,

the people will be represented by one disposed to support the Administration—This will place it out of my power to return to Washington in the fall, it will be necessary unless Captn Lewis arrives to provide yourself with another Secretary—Mr Coles will probably be pleased with the offer—If he goes, & I am disappointed, I will if he & yourself think proper resume the station in the spring—from the public prints I find Smith & Ogden have been acquitted; & the whole blame of that transaction attatchd to the Executive—would not your next communication to Congress afford an excellent opportunity of Satisfying the public of the innocence of the Executive & the atrocious malignity of those who have prejudged them?

Be pleased to present me affectionately to your family; & yourself accept my most Sincere wishes for your health & happiness—

Wm A Burwell

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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