Free Frank of Thomas Jefferson, Signed as President

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Littleton Waller Tazewell was an attorney who served six years in the Virginia House of Delegates and sat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1800–01. He supported Jefferson in the presidential election of 1800 which fell to the House to decide, thus opposing the claims of Aaron Burr. He was later...

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Free Frank of Thomas Jefferson, Signed as President

Littleton Waller Tazewell was an attorney who served six years in the Virginia House of Delegates and sat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1800–01. He supported Jefferson in the presidential election of 1800 which fell to the House to decide, thus opposing the claims of Aaron Burr. He was later in the U.S. Senate and served as governor of Virginia from 1834 to 1836. Generally supportive of Jeffersonian positions, Tazewell worked with Jefferson on the development of a state university, and Jefferson selected him as one of his counsel in the controversy over the Batture Sainte Marie, a land claim related to the Louisiana Purchase. In 1798 Tazewell’s nephew Benjamin Carter Waller was the agent for Robert Cary & Company, so Tazewell got involved in trying to collect the remaining debt due from the Wayles estate to Wakelin Welch. As early as 1799, Jefferson wrote Tazewell about the debt, saying “I fear you will have considered me as improperly in default.”

In 1807 Jefferson is President of the United States, but the Wayles debt dogged his footsteps. Tazewell wrote him on January 15 of that year, apologizing to him for the intrusion but dunning him for the money: “A recent communication from those to whom I am accountable for what I do relative to the business of the late firm of Robt. Cary & Co. of London which has been committed to my charge, makes it necessary for me again to address you upon that part of this subject in which you are concerned. I have forborne to trouble you sooner, under the assurance that whensoever you could find it convenient to discharge the whole or any important part of your debt I should hear from you. And still influenced by the same consideration I should not now have made this application. But acting under the directions of others I am reluctantly compelled to request, that you will be so good as to make payment of this debt, or such part of it as you can find it convenient to discharge, at the earliest period which your own arrangements will admit.”

Jefferson responded.

Autograph document signed, free frank of Thomas Jefferson as President, February 27, 1807.

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