Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Charles Rodes, 22 September 1807

Sep. 22. 07.

Observations on the Reciept of Oct. 5. 1795. given by me to Charles Rodes for tickets amt. 297 ℔. tobo. ‘to be examined & returned or paid.’

Of this particular transaction I have no recollection. but I have a general knolege that no abuse is so frequent as that of the same tickets being issued (often carelessly) by clerks &c two & three times after they have been paid, & that therefore it is never safe to pay them without strict examination. these tickets I suppose had been put into mr Rodes’s hands to collect. they must then have been old, as I think tickets had ceased to be issued in tobo. long before 1795. I have carefully examined my papers of about that date, and find no such tickets among them. the probability is therefore that I did return them to mr Rodes with reasons for not paying them, & that he returned them in like manner to those from whom they had been recieved. hence it is that neither of us are in possession of them. mr Rodes must probably have an account specifying what these tickets were. this might throw some light on the subject. if he paid for them to the clerks &c out of his own pocket (which however was not the custom) he must have some entry or reciept for such paiment. this would throw further light on it. but after a lapse of 12. years, during the first half of which time I resided in the county, & the last half have passed 3. months in every year in it, and never called on in that time, the probability strongly is that the matter was settled at the time by returning the tickets as having been paid before, or perhaps not properly demandable of me, or in some other way not now recollected by either mr Rodes or myself. certainly the bare finding such a reciept as this after such a lapse of years, is by no means satisfactory evidence that it has not been satisfied my not taking it in is no evidence. I hardly ever took in a paper of that kind in my life, on paying or settling them. I do not believe it is unsettled, but shall be ready to attend to further evidence.

Th: Jefferson

It should be added that if such tickets were still unpaid, it is no debt to the Collector of the day but to the clerk &c whose right to re-issue them reverted to him on their not being paid to the collector.

MHi: Coolidge Collection.

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