James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Nicholas Lewis, 26 November 1786

From Nicholas Lewis

Albemarle, Novbr. 26th. 1786.

Dear Sir

Recd. Yours of the 4th. of the Present Month Inclosing A Letter and an Acct. Against Mr. Jeffersons Est. for Tuition & Board of P. Carr. Should have been glad You had informed me whether You Approved of Mr. Maury’s Acct. for it so far exceeds my expectation from the Conversation Passed between Mr. Maury and Self A little time before I sent him down first to his School that I think I shall Appear inca[u]tious to discharge it without Your Approbation. As well as I remember Mr. Maury informed me Master Carrs, Board & s[c]hooling would be 24£.1 At that time [he] did not intend I suppose to take Carr into his Family. Some time After his going down he informed me he thought it would be best for him to live in his Family[,] that it would then be in his Power to pay more Attention to him, and the Sooner fit him for going into the University but that he must make A greater Charge. I returned no answer to his Letters on that head but desired he would Settle with Yourself & that I would pay off Your draughts as Punctually as in my Power, for I conceived that Mr. Eppes & Self had Nothing more to do with that Business. Mr. Carr was at my House in September, understo[o]d by him he had left Mr. Maury some time before he came up. I think by Mr. Ma[u]ry’s Acct. the last Quarter expired the 17th. of October. After mentioning these Circumstances to You should be glad [if] You would be pleased to direct on this Occasion. I am Sir Your very Humble Servt.

Nicholas Lewis

P. S. Mr. Maury Charges for 6 Quarters @ £10: 10: — he has recd. 32, £.

N. L.


1Walker Maury had originally informed Jefferson that his nephew’s education would cost “£ 35 Virga. currency pr ann:, for board, tuition and washing inclusive” (ca. 20 Apr. 1784, Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (19 vols. to date; Princeton, N. J., 1950——). description ends , VII, 112). A year later Maury took Peter Carr into his home as a private pupil. He stated that it was “a situation somewhat more expensive, but much more advantageous for the studious youth.… However, I wait Mr. Lewis’s concurrence for his continuance in this situation” (Maury to Jefferson, 20 Apr. 1785, ibid., VIII, 101). As Lewis explained, he never answered Maury’s inquiry. Jefferson, however, approved the change and wrote, “I would have him lose no advantage on account of any difference in expence” (Jefferson to Maury, 19 Aug. 1785, ibid., VIII, 410). Maury had omitted telling Jefferson explicitly how much more expense was involved: possibly Maury was taking advantage of Jefferson for his own profit. Much of the correspondence concerning the Carr brothers’ education has not been found. If JM replied either to Martha Jefferson Carr’s inquiry of 21 Aug. 1786 concerning the change in Peter Carr’s situation, or to Lewis’s letter, the letters have not been found. JM may have believed that Jefferson only expected him to oversee the intellectual progress of the boys and therefore that his responsibility did not extend to the finances (see Jefferson to JM, 8 May 1784, Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (9 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , VIII, 29–32; JM to Jefferson, 25 Nov. 1786).

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