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Jefferson, Thomas | "Send me by the return post one hundred Dollars in bills from 20 to 5..."

Jefferson, Thomas | "Send me by the return post one hundred Dollars in bills from 20 to 5..."

Jefferson, Thomas | "Send me by the return post one hundred Dollars in bills from 20 to 5..."

Authenticity guarantee

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Jefferson, Thomas

Autograph letter signed ("Th: Jefferson") to Patrick Gibson, concerning financial matters, Monticello, 10 August 1813


1 page, 4to (250 x 202 mm). Jefferson's retained copy, docketed by Jefferson at top edge of verso; inlaid, one small hole from acidic ink, docket partly obscured, some tracing over in Jefferson's hand for clarity. 


"I drew on you lately ... and must now as the favor of you to send me by the return post one hundred Dollars in bills from 20 to 5.D." 


In the present letter, the former president asks Patrick Gibson to furnish him with ready cash. In addition to the requested $100, Jefferson notes that he will renew a $1,500 loan in an attempt to fend off other creditors: "I find it will be indispensable to reinstate 1500.D of my late note in the bank: for within a fortnight from this time I shall be obliged to draw on you from Bedford for 600.D. in favor of Brown & Robertson of Lynchburg, and in the ensuing month for about the same sum from this place, and after that a further sum of about 300.D to close my present calls..."


The letter offers a stark account of Jefferson's chronic financial difficulties. Indeed, the Founding Father would go to his grave saddled with debts. During his political career, however, Jefferson staunchly opposed a national debt, arguing that each state should retire its own. This position contrasted with that of Alexander Hamilton, who believed the consolidation of states' debts by the federal government was most advantageous. This disagreement nearly led George Washington to dismiss Jefferson from his cabinet. Ultimately, Jefferson voluntarily left the cabinet. 


REFERENCE:

The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (added to the digital addition on 2 September 2014): https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-06-02-9002


PROVENANCE:

Christie's New York, 3 December 2010, lot 83

Condition as described in catalogue entry.


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