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Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes (August 30, 1785)

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Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes (August 30Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes (August 30
SUMMARY

In a letter to Francis Eppes, dated August 30, 1785, Thomas Jefferson, then in France, explains the conditions by which his daughter Mary ought to be sent from Virginia to join him. The manuscript of the letter has not been found, and the text has been taken from The Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson (1871) by Sarah N. Randolph, Jefferson’s great-granddaughter.

FULL TEXT

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes (August 30

I must now repeat my wish to have Polly sent to me next summer. This, however, must depend on the circumstance of a good vessel sailing from Virginia in the months of April, May, June, or July. I would not have her set out sooner or later on account of the equinoxes. The vessel should have performed one voyage at least, but not be more than four or five years old. We do not attend to this cir-

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Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes (August 30

cumstance till we have been to sea, but there the consequence of it is felt. I think it would be found that all the vessels which are lost are either on their first voyage or after they are five years old; at least there are few exceptions to this. With respect to the person to whose care she should be trusted, I must leave it to yourself and Mrs. Eppes altogether. Some good lady passing from America to France, or even England, would be most eligible; but a careful gentleman who would be so kind as to superintend her would do. In this case some woman who has had the small-pox must attend her. A careful negro woman, as Isabel, for instance, if she has had the smallpox, would suffice under the patronage of a gentleman. The woman need not come farther than Havre, l’Orient, Nantes, or whatever port she should land at, because I could go there for the child myself, and the person could return to Virginia directly. My anxieties on this subject could induce me to endless details, but your discretion and that of Mrs. Eppes saves me the necessity. I will only add that I would rather live a year longer without her than have her trusted to any but a good ship and a summer passage. Patsy is well. She speaks French as easily as English; while Humphries, Short, and myself are scarcely better at it than when we landed. …

I look with impatience to the moment when I may rejoin you. There is nothing to tempt me to stay here. Present me with the most cordial affection to Mrs. Eppes, the children, and the family at Hors-du-monde. I commit to Mrs. Eppes my kisses for dear Poll, who hangs on my mind night and day.

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TIMELINE
August 30, 1785
In a letter to Francis Eppes, Thomas Jefferson, then in France, explains the conditions by which his daughter Mary ought to be sent from Virginia to join him.
FURTHER READING

Will and Codicil of John Wayles (1760, 1772–1773) Letter from Elizabeth Wayles Eppes to Thomas Jefferson (October 13, 1784) Letter from James Currie to Thomas Jefferson (November 20, 1784) Letter from Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 26, 1787) Letter from Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 27, 1787) Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Nicholas Lewis (April 12, 1792) “The President, Again” by James Thomson Callender (September 1, 1802) “Our massa Jefferson he say” by Anonymous (September 1, 1802) Editorial from the Frederick-Town Herald (December 8, 1802) Will and Codicil of Thomas Jefferson (1826) Will of Martha Jefferson Randolph (April 18, 1834) “Life of Isaac Jefferson of Petersburg, Virginia, Blacksmith” by Isaac Jefferson (1847) Letter from Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge to Joseph Coolidge (October 24, 1858) “Mr. Jefferson’s Blooded Stock”; an excerpt from The Private Life of Thomas Jefferson by Hamilton W. Pierson (1862) “Mr. Jefferson’s Personal Appearance and Habits”; an excerpt from The Private Life of Thomas Jefferson by Hamilton W. Pierson (1862) “Mr. Jefferson’s Servants”; an excerpt from The Private Life of Thomas Jefferson by Hamilton W. Pierson (1862) Letter from Henry S. Randall to James Parton (June 1, 1868) “Life Among the Lowly, No. 1” by Madison Hemings (March 13, 1873) Editorial in the Waverly Watchman (March 18, 1873) “Life Among the Lowly, No. 3” by Israel Jefferson (December 25, 1873) Letter from Thomas Jefferson Randolph to the Pike County Republican (ca. 1874) Hemings-Jefferson DNA; an excerpt from “Jefferson Fathered Slave’s Last Child” by Eugene A. Foster, et al. (November 5, 1998)

CITE THIS ENTRY
APA Citation:
Jefferson, Thomas. Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes (August 30, 1785). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/letter-from-thomas-jefferson-to-francis-eppes-august-30-1785.
MLA Citation:
Jefferson, Thomas. "Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes (August 30, 1785)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 27 Feb. 2021
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