Draft of a Letter from Thomas Mann Randolph to Thomas Mann Randolph (1741–1793)

Dear Father,

It makes me inexpressibly happy to find that your displeasure towards me has in some mean[s] subsided. I take that opportunity of laying open the motiv[es] of my conduct & of exposing it thro’ all its circumstances to your calm consideration. The purchase of Edgehill was suggest[ed] by Mr Jefferson & was consented to by me in consequence of my deference for his opinion and my desire to gratify Patsy. For the fear of being disagreeably fettered by the bargain, particularly when the least failure on my part would have exposed me to the malice of the world, rendered me unwil[ling] to engage in it. I however impowered Mr Jefferson to act [in] every respect according to his inclination & determined to [be] governed alltogether by his Opinion. We set out for Tucka[hoe] accordingly, with an intention of concluding proposing to you a bargain which would render to you the full value of the property he wish[ed] to obtain on such terms of payment as are generally establish[ed] in this country my circumstance[s] would admit His idea of the mutual confidence bet[ween] you & myself made him insert two articles in a different f[orm] from that that you had insisted on, knowing that it was to be of the gre[atest] consequence to me & fully convinced that the least hint f[rom] you that they were of their being disagreeable would have made me r[. . .] them. One of these articles concerned the corn and the other t[he] times of payment, 200 barrels were inserted instead of one & as payment of 300£ was introduced, ½ of which sum was to have be[en] deducted from each of the 2 last annual payments. These he th[ought] you had opposed at first but had afterwards read & signed the oblig[. . .] which he looked on as giving your consent, observing to me that I might pay the current price for the at the same time t[hat if] you found it convenvien[t] [. . .] make up the deficiency in the payments [. . .] it was easy to abandon.

The mistake with respect to the land cannot be explained it is e[x]traordinary that a man [. . .] so remarkable for his accuracy sh[ould] have been so shamefully guilty of neglect & committed such a capital error as it is incredible that one m[an] [h]ad spread the fame of his integrity as well as his abilities thro half the Globe shd have [int]ended to insert a fraudulent article in a contract.

Seeing myself that the bargain was in my favor, I had determin[ed] consistent with the protestations in the letter which Mr Jefferson deliv[ered] to have learnt from yourself that your were perfectly satisfied with it before I demanded the fullfilling of the engagement. But [. . .] which met me on the road at the same time astonished me with sudden wounded my mind by demonstrat[ing] great change in your sentiments concerning me and alarmed my honor by intimating a suspicion that Mr Jefferson or myself had [. . .] take as advantage. Can it be conceived improper or unnatural that I should be desirous of immediately communicating making known so great & [su]dden a charge to a person who was a party acted a principal in part in the transac[ting] of of communicating so important to me a circumstance to a man with whom [I] was in the closest habits of intimacy, and whose opinion I had been [. . .]. Besides, could there be a better method of allaying the ferment which the state of your [. . .] your mind to be in, than by immediately removing [. . .]

The last letter sentence in my letter at which alone you [. . .] have taken umbrage was occasioned produced by the emotions of an [. . .] mind & intended to intimate my sense of the [. . .] your opinion, without increasing your displeasure.

I shall conclude with [. . .]; the pain you [. . .] occasioned to me, with the happiness of [s]eeing you [. . .]

I conclude with the most solemn protestations of my gratitude & affection, and with a declaration of my opinion that the generosity of your temper would not have permited you to make [kn]own your dissatisfaction in such a harsh manner, had your mind been [. . .] to oper act from its own motives. Your most aff. Son

T. M. R.
Dft (ViU: ER); edges frayed; faint; subsequently endorsed by author: “T. M. Randolph jr to T. M. Randolph Senr oct. 1790.”