Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THOMAS APPLETON - The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816-1826)
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TO THOMAS APPLETON - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816-1826) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 12.
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TO THOMAS APPLETON
Monticello, July 18, 16
—Your letter of Mar. 20. & Apr. 15. are both received. The former only a week ago. They brought me the first information of the death of my antient friend Mazzei, which I learn with sincere regret. He had some peculiarities, & who of us has not? But he was of solid worth; honest, able, zealous in sound principles Moral & political, constant in friendship, and punctual in all his undertakings. He was greatly esteemed in this country, and some one has inserted in our papers an account of his death, with a handsome and just eulogy of him, and a proposition to publish his life in one 8-vo. volume. I have no doubt but that what he has written of himself during the portion of the revolutionary period he passed with us, would furnish some good material for our history of which there is already a wonderful scarcity. But where this undertaker of his history is to get his materials, I know not, nor who he is.
I have received Mr. Carmigniani’s letter requesting the remittance of his money in my hands. How and when this can be done I have written him in the inclosed letter, which I leave open for your perusal; after which be so good as to stick a wafer in it, & have it delivered. I had just begun a letter to Mazzei, excusing to him the non-remittance the present year, as requested thro’ you by his family. And I should have stated to him with good faith, that the war-taxes of the last year, almost equal to the amount of our whole income, and a season among the most unfavorable to agriculture ever known made it a year of war as to it’s pressure, & obliged me to postpone the commencement of the annual remittances until the ensuing spring. The receipt of your letter, and of Mr. Carmigniani’s only rendered it necessary to change the address of mine. The sale was made during the war, when the remittance of the price was impossible: nor was there here any depot for it at that time which would have been safe, profitable, and ready to repay the principal on demand. I retained it therefore myself to avoid the risk of the banks, to yield the profit the treasury could have given, and to admit a command of the principal at a shorter term. It was of course, therefore that I must invest it in some way to countervail the interest, and being but a farmer receiving rents and profits but once a year, it will take time to restore it to the form of money again, which I explained to Mr. Mazzei in the letter I wrote to him at the time. Exchange is much against us at present, owing to the immense importations made immediately after peace, and to the redundancy of our paper medium. The legislatures have generally required the banks to call in this redundancy. They are accordingly curtailing discounts, & collecting their debts, so that by the spring, when the first remittance will be made, our medium will be greatly reduced, and it’s value increased proportionably. The crop of this year too, when exported will so far lessen the foreign debt & the demand for bills of exchange. These circumstances taken together promise a good reduction in the rate of exchange, which you can more fully explain in conversation to Mr. Carmigniani.
I am happy to inform you that the administrator of Mr. Bellini has at length settled his account, and deposited the balance 635. Dollars 48 cents in the bank of Virginia, at Richmond. I think it the safest bank in the U. S. and it has been for some time so prudently preparing itself for cash payments, as to inspire a good degree of confidence, & moreover I shall keep my eye on it, but the money while there bears no interest; and I did not chuse to take it myself on interest reimbursable on demand. It would be well then that Mr. Fancelli should withdraw it as soon as he can; his draught on me shall be answered at sight to the holder, by one on the bank. In the present state of our exchange, & the really critical standing of our merchants at this time, I have been afraid to undertake it’s remittance, because it could only be done by a bill of some merchant here on his correspondent in England, and both places are at this time a little suspicious. I know nothing so deplorable as the present condition of the inhabitants of Europe and do not wonder therefore at their desire to come to this country. Laborers in any of the arts would find abundant employ in this state at 100. D. a year & their board and lodging. And indeed if a sober good humored man understanding the vineyard & kitchen garden would come to me on those terms, bound to serve 4. years, I would advance his passage on his arrival, setting it off against his subsequent wages. But he must come to the port of Norfolk or Richmond, & no where else. If such a one should occur to you, you would oblige me by sending him. I remark the temporary difficulty you mention of obtaining good Montepulciano, and prefer waiting for that, when to be had, to a quicker supply of any other kind which might not so certainly suit our taste. It might not be amiss perhaps to substitute a bottle or two as samples of any other wines which would bear the voyage, and be of a quality and price to recommend them. You know we like dry wines, or at any rate not more than sillery. I salute you with constant friendship and respect.1
[1 ]On the subject of this business matter, Jefferson further wrote to Giovanni Carmigniani:
Monticello in Virginia, July 18, 1816
—My letters to you, within the last 12. months have been of May 28. 19. with the annual remittance to M. & Me. Pini, Sep. 3. informing you of a remittance thro’ Mr. Vaughan of 300. D. for the wives of the two Raggis, and Feb. 15. 20. announcing a remittance of 400. D. for the same persons to pay their passage and expences to the U S. Since the last of these your two of Jan. 15. & 21. have been received. I wonder much that the remittance of the 300. D. had not got to hand at the date of yours of Jan. 21. but that transaction having passed between Mr. Vaughan and our Proctor, I am not able to state the particulars of it’s transmission. I hope however it is long since at hand. As to the 400. D. of Feb. last, Mr. Vaughan in a letter of Mar. 3. says ‘the 400 D. have been received, and I purchased S. Girard’s bill on Jas. Lafite and Co. Paris at 60. days to order of Thos. Appleton for 2135 90/100—equal to 403. D. which I have forwarded to him under cover to Bernard Henry, Gibraltar, by the Newburn, Capt. Cushing via Maderia, & duplicate by the Pleiades Capt. West direct to Gibraltar, under care of a friend. The 3d I shall send via New York. By the Pleiades I sent your letter to Mr. Appleton.’ Since your information as to the post thro’ Spain I much regret that this last remittance has gone by Gibraltar. Altho’ I should have supposed opportunities from that to Leghorn by sea could not have been rare. However I shall caution Mr. Vaughan against it in future, and recommend London & Paris, perhaps also Marseilles where an opportunity to Leghorn direct does not occur.
In mine of Feb. 15. I mentioned that I should make my annual remittance to M. & Me Pini in April or May. I am however to this date before it could be done. The extraordinary embarrassments produced by the sudden withdrawing of one half of our circulating medium has in a great measure suspended money transactions. 9. out of 10. of the banks of the different states have blown up; the adventurers calling themselves merchants, who had been trading on bank credits, have been swept away. Those who stood the ordeal still suspend their business, from caution, till the storm shall be over, so that from want of medium, and the want of purchasers at market, property & produce are fallen one half. We had 18. month ago 6. millions of Dollars in circulation in this state, of paper; we have but 3 millions now. Produce, say flour sold from 8. to 16. D. a barrel. It is now at 4. D. This extraordinary curtailment in the profits of the year has brought on a general distress, unknown before in the annals of our country. Before this explosion in our commerce, I had hoped myself to have been able in good time to remit the principal of my debt to M. & Me Pini, from the annual profits of my estate: but the fall in the price of produce, likely to continue some time yet, has induced me to give up that hope and to determine on the sale of property sufficient for that paiment. This I will certainly do as soon as the present suspension of buying and selling ceases, and bidders at a fair price return into the market. At this time nothing can be sold at half price. These difficulties have made me a little later than I had expected in the remittance of interest this year to M. & Me Pini. I have now placed in Mr. Vaughan’s hands 444 D. with a request to vest it in a bill of Mr. Girard on Paris, (the most solid channel of remittance, and indulged to me as a favor,) and to send it via Paris or London, or both; so that I hope it will have a safe and speedy passage to you. . . .
P. S. June 30. 20. I had written thus far when your favor of May 18. came to hand. The remittance of 300. D. for the Raggis, mentioned in my letter from Poplar Forest, I find on enquiry was not carried into execution. The Proctor informs me that they soon after changed their minds, concluded to send for their wives, which requiring a larger sum, produced delay till the state of their accounts admitted it, this brought on winter and finally the remittance of 400. D. was made only in time for them to sail in spring. On the subject of what I owe to Mr. Mazzei’s representatives. I had already made up my mind to clear it out as soon as possible. Like thousands of others, I had sustained some losses by being security for a friend who failed under the late general bankruptcies. This not admitting the delay of annual crops I had come to the resolution of selling some unprofitable property to pay at once and to make the sale sufficient to discharge the debt to M. & Me Pini. As yet however nothing can be sold. All confidence is suspended, and fear takes it’s place. The grounds for example in Richmd of Mr. Mazzei which sold for 6432 D. could not now be sold for 1500 D. It will probably be another year before the fair prices of things are settled and proportioned to the reduction of circulating medium. I shall certainly take advantage of the first possibilities of disposing of property to disengage myself. It is this same state of commerce which has delayed to this date the remittance of this year’s interest: I salute you with constant & affectionate friendship and respect.