JEFFERSON, Thomas, President. Autograph letter signed ("Th: Jefferson") as Secretary of State, to Messrs. Thayer Bartlet & Co. Philadelphia, 26 August 1793. 1 page, 4to, docketed on verso, discreet repair to fold on verso, otherwise fine.
JEFFERSON LOOKS FORWARD TO RETIREMENT AS SECRETARY OF STATE AND CONSIDERS CHINA FOR MONTICELLO
At the end of July, Jefferson had told President Washington of his intention to retire at the end of September, but after a personal appeal by the President agreed to remain until the end of the year. It was a period fraught with difficult State Department matters, the crisis of the Genet affair, Revolution in France and problems of neutrality. With the end of his tenure in sight, Jefferson increasingly looked forward to his return to Monticello. Here, to a firm of merchants, he writes: "I have to acknolege [sic] the receipt of your favor of July 5 and of the two boxes of China, & Mr Dowse's letter. From the length of time (4 years) since Mr Dowse had been so kind as to undertake to bring me a service of China, he apprehended I must have given up the expectation of it & supplied myself, and therefore in his letter desired me to consult my own convenience only, as it was equal to him to keep it. The fact was as Mr Dowse had expected, that I had abandoned the expectation of this & supplied myself fully. I have so written him accordingly to Boston where he desired me to lodge a letter for him. He writes me word that the China cost, first price, 79-19-4 lawful money. You will therefore be so good as to consider this parcel as still making part of his cargo, and subject here to his order, which I have expected to receive, as according to his letter he should have been at Boston by this time. It shall in like manner be subject to any order you shall please to give."
Jefferson had planned to resign at the end of Washington's first term, and yearned for Monticello "'with a fondness of a sailor who has land in view.'" (W.S. Randall: Thomas Jefferson: A Life, p. 501). He finally submitted his resignation on 31 December 1793 and returned to Monticello, where he was to enjoy a three-year respite from public office.