Lot 6: Thomas Jefferson handwritten signed letter
12th September 2018
ALS as president signed “Th: Jefferson,” one page, 7.75 x 7.25, April 27, 1804. Letter to Wilson Cary Nicholas written from Monticello, regarding his appointment as collector of the port of Norfolk. In full: "In a letter of Apr. 15 I informed Mr. Gallatin of what had passed between us here, and desired him to take the measures for winding up the commission at Norfolk with as little delay as should be consistent with a resignation. He says in an answer of the 19th no previous movement here, nor time is wanted for winding up Mr. Davies's business, but on being informed of Mr. N's intention to accept, I will at once write to Mr. D that he may resign & to Mr. N that he may repair to Norfolk. Until I hear from him, or from you, I will continue silent? I have this day informed him that he misunderstood my letter, which was meant to say that you had made up your mind to accept, and desiring him to let the change be now made & notified to you as quickly as possible; so that I presume you will hear from him about the 7th of May, at which time I shall probably be on the road to Washington. But I imagine his letter will enable you to set out immediately for Norfolk, should your commission not have been made out before my arrival at Washington, I will send it, on my arrival, to Warren, or to the care of your brother in Richmond, as you shall advise me. If you do this immediately, I shall receive your letter here before my departure. Accept my affectionate salutations and assurances of great respect & attachment." Nicely archivally corner-mounted, matted, and framed with a portrait behind UV-protective acrylic to an overall size of 22 x 14. In very good condition, with trimmed edges, staining to the left side from old mounting residue on the reverse, repaired paper loss to the lower left corner, and complete professional silking to the back. In this interesting letter, Jefferson makes reference to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, and discusses Nicholas’s appointment as collector of Norfolk. A resident of Albemarle County, Virginia, Wilson Cary Nicholas (1761–1820) had served in the American Revolution and became commander of General George Washington's Life Guard. Elected to the House of Delegates in 1784, he supported Madison's stand for religious liberty and championed the adoption of the Federal Constitution. He became an ardent Jeffersonian, worked with Jefferson and Madison in the formulation of the anti-Federalist Virginia Resolutions, and in 1799 was elected to the Senate, where he served until 1804, when he resigned to become collector of the port of Norfolk. After a term of three years, he returned to Washington as a congressman in 1807. In 1814, Nicholas was chosen as governor of Virginia, and the following year his daughter Jane married Jefferson’s grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph. He was a strong supporter of education, and aided Jefferson in developing his plan for the University of Virginia. A desirable presidential letter boasting both personal and political associations.
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