Lot 8: James Monroe
ALS as president, one page both sides, 8 x 9.75, March 23, 1819. Letter to Thomas Swann, in full: “I forgot to mention to you the case of Mr. Swart yesterday, who has admitted, in some degree, that he must pay the balance due for the land at the death of Judge Jones, but has never paid a cent of it. Mr. Benton will take your instructions in it. I am satisfied that the object of Swart is to evade the payments in hope of taking advantage of the act of limitation, or some other circumstance. He had no title from the old gentleman, & the young one could make none. Had he better be sued in Chancery, or by ejectment. The legal title was not in me, except by the old gentleman’s will, which may have some weight in the decision. If you think proper to consider the subject, & want further information, & will be so good as to inform it to me, the delay will not be material to Mr. Benton, who will always be ready to follow your instructions. I am aware that I am indebted to you, on acct of the estate & my own account, by your kind attention to my affrs. In Alexa. You never mentioned whether you were so fortunate as to collect some bonds given you by Col. Mercer. If you will be so kind as send me an account I will with great pleasure make sure an arrangement as will be satisfactory to you.” Addressed on the reverse of the second integral page in Monroe’s hand. Professionally inlaid into a slightly larger sheet by its integral address leaf. In fine condition, with some light toning and staining. Accompanied by a handsome custom-made leatherbound presentation album.Judge Joseph Jones was Monroe’s uncle, the brother of his mother, and it was Judge Jones who enrolled James Monroe in the College of William and Mary in 1774, becoming a mentor and adviser to the future president. In 1794, Jones and Monroe jointly purchased the land called Oak Hill in Virginia, which came into Monroe’s sole possession when Jones passed in 1805. The man in question here, Robert Swart, was the farm manager at Oak Hill plantation and owed Monroe money for land he had purchased from the estate. Later on in his presidency in 1825, Monroe appointed the recipient, his attorney Thomas Swann, as “Attorney of the United States for the District of Columbia.” A lengthy and boldly penned presidential letter boasting several significant historical connections.
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