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creeds and confessions of faith, I am sure you will excuse my not giving opinions on the items of any particular one ; and that you will accept, at the same time, the assurance of the high respect and consideration which I bear to its author.
TO MESSRS. RITCHIE AND GOOCH.
MONTICELLO, June 10, 1822. Messrs. RITCHIE AND Gooch,—In my letter to you of May 13th, in answer to a charge by a person signing himself “ A Native Virginian," that on a bill drawn by me for a sum equivalent to $1,148, the treasury of the United States had made double payment, I supposed I had done as much as would be required when I showed they had only returned to me money which I hud previously paid into the treasury on the presumption that such a bill had been paid for me, but that this bill being lost or destroyed on the way, had never been presented, consequently never paid by the United States, and that the money was therefore returned to me. This being too plain for controversy, the pseudo Native of Virginia, in his reply, No. 32, in the Federal Republican of May 24th, reduces himself ultimately to the ground of a double receipt of the money by me, first on sale or negotiation of the bill in Europe, and a second time from the treasury. But the bill was never sold or negotiated anywhere. It was not drawn to raise money in the market. I sold it to nobody, received no money on it, but enclosed it to Grand & Co. for some purpose of account, for what particular purpose neither my memory, after a lapse of thirty-three years, nor my papers enable me to
a say. Had I preserved a copy of my letter to Grand enclosing the bill, that would doubtless have explained the purpose. But it was drawn on the eve of my embarkation with my family from Cowes for America, and probably the hurry of preparation for that did not allow me time to take a copy. I presume this because I find no such letter among my papers. Nor does any subsequent correspondence with Grand explain it, because I had no
private account with him ; my account as minister being kept with the treasury directly, so that he, receiving no intimation of this bill, could never give me notice of its miscarriage. But, however satisfactory might have been an explanation of the purpose of the bill, it is unnecessary at least ; the material fact being established that it never got to hand, nor was ever paid by the United States.
And how does the Native Virginian maintain his charge that I received the cash when I drew the bill ? by unceremoniously inserting into the entry of that article in my account, words of his own, making me say in direct terms that I did receive the cash for the bill. In my account rendered to the treasury, it is entered in these words : "1789, Oct. 1. By my bill on Willincks,
“ Van Staphorsts & Hubbard in favor of Grand & Co. for 2,800 florins, equal to 6,230 livres 18 sous ;" but he quotes it as stated in my account rendered to and settled at the treasury, and yet remaining, as it is to be presumed, among the archives of that department, " By cash received of Grand for bill on Willincks, &c.” Now the words “ cash received of Grand” constitute “the very point, the pivot, on which the matter turns,” as himself says, and not finding, he has furnished them. Although the interpolation of them is sufficiently refuted by the fact that Grand was, at the time, in France, and myself in England, yet wishing that conviction of the interpolation should be founded on official document, I wrote to the auditor, Mr. Harrison, requesting an official certificate of the very words in which that article stood in my autograph account deposited in the office. I received
yesterday his answer of the 3d, in which he says, “I am unable to furnish the extract you require, as the original account rendered by you of your pecuniary transactions of a public nature in Europe, together with the vouchers and documents connected with it, were all destroyed in the Register's office in the memorable conflagration of 1814. With respect, therefore, to the sum of $1,148 in question, I can only say that, after full and repeated examinations, I considered you as most righteously and justly entitled to receive it. Otherwise, it will, I trust, be believed that
I could not have consented to the re-payment.” Considering the intimacy which the Native Virginian shows with the treasury affairs, we might be justified in suspecting that he knew this fact of the destruction of the original by fire when he ventured to misquote. But certainly we may call on him to say, and to show, from what original he copied these words: "cash received from Grand "? I say, most assuredly, from none, for none such ever existed. Although the original be lost, which would have convicted him officially, it happens that when I made from my rough draft a fair copy of my account for the treasury, I took also, with a copying-machine, a press-copy of every page,
which I kept for my own use. It is known that copies by this wellknown machine are taken by impression on damp paper laid on the face of the written page while fresh, and passed between rollers as copper plates are. They must therefore be true fac similies. This press-copy now lies before me, has been shown to several persons, and will be shown to as many as wish or are willing to examine it; and this article of my account is entered in it in these words: “1789, Oct. 1. By my bill on Willincks, Van Staphorsts & Hubbard for 2,800 florins, equal to 6,230 livres 18 sous." An inspection of the account, too, shows that whenever I received cash for a bill, it is uniformly entered “by cash received of such an one, &c.;" but where a bill was drawn to constitute an item of account only, the entry is “by my bill on, &c.” Now to these very words “cash received of Grand,” not in my original but interpolated by himself, he constantly appeals as proofs of an acknowledgment under my own hand that I received the cash. In proof of this, I must request patience to read the following quotations from his denunciations as standing in the Federal Republican of May 24:
Page 2, column 2, 1. 48 to 29 from the bottom, " he [Mr. J.] admits in his account rendered in 1790 and settled in 1792, that he had received the 'cash,' [placing the word cash between inverted commas to have it marked particularly as a quotation] that he had received the cash' for the bill in question, and he does not directly deny it now. Will he, can he, in the face of
his own declaration in writing to the contrary, publicly say that
Col. 3, 1. 28 to 21 from bottom. There is a plain difference in the phraseology of the account, from which an extract is given by Mr. J. as above, and that which he rendered to the Treasury. In the former he gives the credit thus, “ By my bills on Willincks," &c. In the latter he states, “By cash received of
" Grand for bill on Willincks, &c." There is a difference, indeed, as he states it, but it is made solely by his own interpolation.
Col. 3, 1. 8, from bottom. “ That Mr. Jefferson should, in the very teeth of the facts of the evidence before us, and in his own breast, gravely say that he had paid the money for this bill, and that therefore it was but just to return him the amount of it, when he had, by his own acknowledgment, sent it to Grand & Co., and received the money for it, is, I confess, not only matter of utter astonishment but regret.” I spare myself the qualifications which these paragraphs may merit, leaving them to be applied by every reader according to the feelings they may excite in his own breast.
He proceeds: " And now to place this case beyond the reach of cavil or doubt, and to show most conclusively that he had negotiated this bill in Europe, and received the cash for it there, and that such was the understanding of the matter at the treasury in 1809, when he received the money.” These are his own words. Col. 4, he brings forward the overwhelming fact "not hitherto made public but stated from the most creditable and au
thentic source, that one of the accounting officers of the treasury suggested in writing the propriety of taking bond and security from Mr. J., for indemnification of the United States against any future claim on this bill. But it seems the bond was not taken, and the government is now liable in law, and in good faith for the payment of this bill to the rightful owner.” How this suggestion of taking bond at the treasury, so solemnly paraded, is more conclusive proof than his own interpolation, that the cash was received, I am so dull as not to perceive ; but I say, that had the suggestion been made to me, it would have been instantly complied with. But I deny his law. Were the bill now to be presented to the treasury, the answer would and should be the same as a merchant would give : “You have held up this bill three and thirty years without notice; we have settled in the meantime with the drawer, and have no effects of his left in our hands. Apply to him for payment.” On his application to me, I should first inquire into the history of the bill; where it had been lurking for three and thirty years ? how came he by it? by interception ? by trover? by assignment from Grand ? by purchase ? from whom, when and where ? And according to his answers I should either institute criminal process against him, or if he showed that all was fair and honest, I should pay him the money, and look for reimbursement to the quarter appearing liable. The law deems seven years' absence of a man, without being heard of, such presumptive evidence of his death, as to distribute his estate, and to allow his wife to marry again. The Auditor thought that twenty years non-appearance of a bill which had been risked through the post-offices of two nations, was sufficient presumption of its loss. But this self-styled native of Virginia thinks that the thirty-three years now elapsed are not sufficient. Be it so. If the accounting officers of the treasury have any uneasiness on that subject, I am ready to give a bond of indemnification to the United States in any sum the officers will name, and with the security which themselves shall approve. Will this satisfy the native Virginian? or will he now try to pick some other hole in this transaction, to shield