[Thomas Jefferson] Henry Lee IV Autograph Letter Signed. Three pages, 8" x 13.25", July 28, 1827, Nashville [Tennessee], to Supreme Court Associate Justice John McLean concerning the possible only male nephew of Thomas Jefferson. In part: "There is a boy going to school . . . with whose family I board, who is said to be, & I believe is, the nephew of the great Jefferson. He is about 12 years of age, not week growing and only middling in his promise. He is said to be the only child of Randolph Jefferson, the only brother of Thomas, by his wife Miss Pryor or Prior, who conceived him but is now dead. The boy is named John Randolph Jefferson & speaks of his Uncle Tom, and is living with Mrs. Prior, his maternal grandmother, in this neighborhood. . . . Being that he is the only male of the family bearing the name of Jefferson, his condition and prospects are objects worthy of general interest and with me of particular solicitude - for in him I think I see all that remains, palpable to the general feeling of the great author of the Declaration of Independence for the country. It is a pity he should be so obscure." Randolph Jefferson was Thomas Jefferson's only brother to reach adulthood. In 1809, Randolph married his second wife, Mitchie Pryor. They had one son, John Jefferson, whom Lee found living in obscurity. Five years later, author Henry Lee published Observations on the Writings of Thomas Jefferson. Henry Lee IV (1787-1837) was the son of Maj. Gen. Light Horse Harry Lee and the half-brother of Robert E. Lee. An author and historian with a fascination for Thomas Jefferson, Lee spent his final years traveling abroad and dying in Paris two months after writing the 1836 letter. With folds, rough right edge, and small tear at the seal, yet very good.

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    June, 2009
    16th-17th Tuesday-Wednesday
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