260
260
Jefferson, Thomas
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED (TH: JEFFERSON") TO WILLIAM BROWN
Estimate
10,00015,000
JUMP TO LOT
260
Jefferson, Thomas
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED (TH: JEFFERSON") TO WILLIAM BROWN
Estimate
10,00015,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Autograph Letters and Manuscripts from a Distinguished Private Collection: Part II | Music, Americana, English and Continental Literature

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Jefferson, Thomas
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED (TH: JEFFERSON") TO WILLIAM BROWN
1 page (9 1/4 x 6 7/8 in.; 234 x 176 mm) on laid paper watermarked 1799, Monticello, 22 May 1809; laid down on another sheet with a few short fold separations and pinholes at intersecting folds.
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Literature

The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Retirement Series, ed. Looney, 1: 210–211

Catalogue Note

A warm letter of thanks to a scoundrel. William Brown carried to New Orleans the commission that gave the United States possession of the Louisiana Purchase. He stayed on and in 1804 filled the offices, first, of deputy collector and—following the death of Hore Browse Trist, his brother-in-law—collector of New Orleans. Jefferson was friendly with the Trists (his granddaughter Virginia Randolph married their grandson Nicholas Philip Trist) and he likely confirmed Brown’s appointment so that he could help support his extended family. Jefferson, scarcely two months removed from the White House, here writes to thank Brown for his attempted gift of campeachy chairs and pecans.

"My new situation & the active occupations to which it has given occasion, must be my apology for this late acknolegement of the reciept of your favor of Oct. 10. informing me you had been so kind as to send me some articles by the schooner Sampson Capt Smith. the answer was deferred long in expectation of her arrival, and that becoming at length desperate, my removal from Washington, & the preparations for it suspended for a considerable time all correspondence which could bear delay. the concern for the loss of the articles shipped is obliterated by the deeper regret for the loss of the unfortunate persons who were in the vessel. but my sense of obligation to you for the intended kindness is the same as if it’s issue had been different from what it was. I embrace this occasion too of returning you my thanks for the many attentions you have been so good as to shew on the several occasions of shipments for me which have passed through your hands.  mrs Trist is with us at present & well, as is Miss Harriet [Brown] also. they talk of a visit to Philadelphia some time hence."

Rather than assisting his sister-in-law, seems to have spent his salary on his own dissolute lifestyle, which, together with the purchase of a plantation he could ill-afford, left him ruined. He embezzled nearly $100,000 and fled New Orleans in November 1809. He was arrested London in August 1810, returned what was left of the stolen money and returned to the United States.

 

Fine Autograph Letters and Manuscripts from a Distinguished Private Collection: Part II | Music, Americana, English and Continental Literature

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New York