Description

    Thomas Jefferson Autograph Letter Signed as President. Two pages, 7.75" x 9.75", Washington, February 27, 1809, to his only living daughter, Martha, about his plans to return to his plantation at Monticello as his presidency is drawing to an end. It reads in full:

    "My dear daughter

    Your letters of the 17th and 24th are both received. Beverly T. Randolph called at the hour at which I had rode out & left your letter of the 17th taking for granted he was to stay a day as you mentioned, I wrote an invitation to him the next morning to come and dine with me, but he had already gone on. He called in like manner on his namesake Beverley here, who being out did not see him. I had written a letter of introduction & recommendation to Colo Williams the superior of the whole institution, to be delivered by him in person: but as I did not see him I sent it on by post we have found the paper which gave Moultrie's Christian name and his warrant and forwarded to him at Charleston 4 days ago: so Mr. Randolph can answer his friend on that ground. The Schooner Sampson, capt Smith with the Campeachy hamocks &c owned in this place left N. Orleans for this destination about the 6th of October as the Captain's receipt forwarded to me shows and has never been heard of since, no doubt remains here of her being lost with every person & thing on board her. Mr. Coles will leave this about the 9th of March consequently if you write to Betadour by return of post, it will find him here, as it will myself. I send the two books you desired for Mary.

    I am glad you have taken the resolution of going over to Monticello before my return because of the impossibilities of fixing the day of my return. I shall be able, I expect, to dispatch the wagon with servants from hence about the 9th of March and they will reach home about the 14th, but how many days after their departure I shall be detained in winding up here, I cannot determine. I look with infinite joy to the moment when I shall be ultimately moored in the midst of my affections, and free to follow the pursuits of my choice. In retiring to the condition of a private citizen and reducing our establishment to the style of living of a mere private family, I have but a single uneasiness. I am afraid that enforcing the observance of the necessary economics in the internal administration of the house will give you more trouble than I wish you to have to encounter, and I presume it is impossible to propose to my sister Marks to come & live with us. Perhaps with a set of good & capable servants, as ours certainly are, the trouble will become less after their once understanding the regulations which are to govern them. Ignorant too, as I am, in the management of a farm, I shall be obliged to ask the aid of Mr. Randolph's skill and attention, especially for that of Tufton, when it comes to me, it will be my main dependence, and to make it adequate, with my other Albemarle resources, to support all expenses, will require good management. If I can sell the detached tracts of land I own, so as to pay the debts I have contracted here (about ten thousand dollars) and they are fully adequate to it, My wish would be to live within the income of my Albemarle possessions. They will yield 2000 D. rent, besides the profits of the lands and negroes of Monticello & Tufton, the toll mill, and nailery. My Bedford income, about 2000 to 2500 D. would then be free to assist the children as they grow up & want to establish themselves. In all this I look to nothing but the happiness of yourself, Mr. Randolph, & the dear children. My own personal wants will be almost nothing beyond those of a chum of the family. On these subjects however we can confer more in detail when I shall have the happiness of being with you. I write to Mr. Randolph on the subject of my friends of the country. My love to the children and most of all to yourself.
    Th: Jefferson"

    Because Jefferson was a widower, his daughter Martha served as First Lady during his presidency, although she spent very little time at the White House. Her primary focus was the rearing and education of her 11 children. In this letter, Jefferson makes mention of sending two books for Mary Jefferson Randolph that Martha had requested. Mary would have been six at this time.

    Martha was to take up residence at Monticello upon her father's return from Washington. She shared her father's sharp intellect and would help run Monticello so it is natural that Jefferson would have divulged his financial planning in such great detail. Jefferson's finances were in constant turmoil, borrowing from one creditor to repay another, and always leveraging his assets to repay old accounts. Martha would eventually inherit Monticello, but financial constraints would force an eventual sale in 1831. She would thereafter reside at her Edgehill estate in Albemarle, also referenced in this letter.

    The letter is evenly toned with bold ink, with a touch of mat burn at all edges from previous matting. The text is stunning and exceptionally clear.


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    Auction Dates
    December, 2011
    8th-9th Thursday-Friday
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