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    Thomas Jefferson Autograph Letter Signed "Th: Jefferson." Two pages with integral page bearing address, 14.5" x 8.75", Monticello, September 23, 1795, to close friend, Elizabeth Trist. Following his return to the United States after serving as minister to France, Jefferson reluctantly agreed to act as President George Washington's Secretary of State. While in that position, he favored stronger relations with France, who at the time was at war with England, which put him squarely into opposition with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and his Federalist allies, who had convinced the president to take a pro-British stance and were swaying him toward a more centralized government.

    Accepting Washington's pro-British stance, Jefferson opened negotiations with the British minister to the U. S. in an attempt to get the British government to: pay reparations to American slave owners whose slaves were freed by the British during the war; admit guilt in violating the Treaty of Paris; and evacuate their garrisons west of the Appalachian Mountains and east of the Mississippi river north of the Ohio river. The British refused on all counts.

    Due to his failures as secretary of state and Hamilton's constant opposition, Jefferson, filled with bitterness, resigned his post in 1793 and retired from the public eye (even threatening in this letter to "...banish pen, ink, & paper from my farm.") in an effort to concentrate on the building operations at Monticello and farming. Here he writes to Elizabeth while enjoying the life of a farmer, in full:

    "I recieved [sic] by our last post but one your favor from Alexandria. Mr. Giles had before informed us you intended a visit to that city this summer and as I flattered myself with the hope of seeing you here also, and knew that Patsy would be a material object in your visit I was only waiting to know when she would return in order to express to you our general wish to see you, and that I would send my Phaeton to meet you at Fredericksburg at any time. from thence here is but about 75 miles. the very day I recieved [sic] your letter announcing our disappointment, I received one from Mr. Randolph letting me know they would be here by the last of the month. we are sincerely concerned that you have but one blessing and have given that to Jacob but hope that a new shoot will grow from the old stock another year & be given to us, but scripture & metaphor apart we should have been happy to see you during this visit to Virginia, and shall be equally to the next. another part of your letter gave more satisfaction. we had heard that Browne [?]had purchased a poor tract of land with a great house on it in Gloucester but by your letter it seems not so. no circumstances known to me could have rendered this a prudent purchase and I wish he would not fix himself at all till he sees more of our country. great misconceptions are entertained of what are in truth the most fertile healthy, & pleasant parts of this state. I hope he will advise with some of his friends who know the whole country. Mr. Giles told me he had promised this. I shall be very happy to see him here. I am sure I can be useful to him in counsel on this subject. we are made happy by mr. Randolph's almost perfect recovery of his health by the use of the sweet springs. the warm springs had been of no service to him. I am become the most industrious farmer in the world: and never had reformer great obstacles to surmount from the barbarous mode of culture & management which had been carried on. I read but little, take no newspapers, that I may not have the tranquility of my mind disturbed by their falsehoods & follies, and I have it in contemplation next to banish pen, ink, & paper from my farm. When I pay the sheriff my taxes it is his business to furnish the reciept [sic] and I wish to have no necessity for any other paper. the society of my family & friends is becoming more & more the sole object of my delight, and among my best friends I have ever taken the freedom of counting yourself, assuming you in return of the sincerest sentiments of esteem and respect from Dear Madam your affectionate friend & sent Th: Jefferson."

    Within a few months, his retirement ended as he accepted the nomination for president as the candidate for the new Democratic-Republican Party during the 1796 election. He lost to John Adams, but would serve as his vice president, ultimately achieving the presidency for himself during the 1800 election.

    With an engraved portrait of Jefferson, circa 1806, by engraver David Edwin based upon an earlier painting by Rembrandt Peale. Light to moderately toned. Damage on the address leaf from opening at the seal. Scattered, foxing; main vertical fold weakened and beginning to separate in places with no loss of text. Jefferson's signature is bold and bright.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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