* JEFFERSON, Thomas (1743-1826). Autograph letter signed ("Th. Jefferson"), as President, to Wilson Cary Nicholas. Monticello, 27 April 1804.
1 page, 4to, browned, central area with glue stain showing through from old fold repair on verso, lacking approximately 1-inch section of lower left corner, laid down; mats and frames available. Writing to a close personal friend and political associate regarding his appointment as collector of the port of Norfolk following his term as Senator-and before his return to Washington as Congressman in 1807.
"In a letter of Apr. 15. I informed Mr. Gallatin of what had passed between us here, and desired him to take measures for winding up the commission at Norfolk with as little delay as should be consistent with a resignation… I have this day informed him that he misunderstood my letter, which was meant to say that you 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 form him about the 7th of May, at which time I shall probably be not eh road to Washington. but I Imagine his letter will enable you to set out immediately for Norfolk…. Accept my affectionate salutations and assurances of great respect & attachment…."
Wilson Cary Nicholas (1761-1820), residing in Albemarle County, Virginia, had served in the Revolution and became commander of General 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 1804-1807, then returned to Washington as a Congressman in 1807. He corresponded with the President on the subject of the Constitutionality of the Louisiana Purchase, and in 1809 was a principal organizer of Madison's Presidential candidacy. In 1814 he was chosen Governor of Virginia. He collaborated with Jefferson in the organization and founding of the University of Virginia, and was briefly head of the Richmond branch of the Bank of the United States. In 1819, due to heavy speculations in frontier real estate, he defaulted on a $20,000 debt which his old friend Jefferson had endorsed on his behalf, causing considerable distress to his political mentor (see Dumas Malone, Jefferson and His Time; The Sage of Monticello, 1981, pp.302-305, 309-14). Nicholas died in virtual poverty in October 1820 and was interred in the graveyard at Monticello.
Estimate $ 6,000-8,000
Property from the Robert L. McKay Collection, North Tustin, California