Thomas Jefferson Randolph to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors


My Grandfather, the late Thomas Jefferson devised, by his will, his library to the University of Virginia He like wise suggested a wish that his bust, executed by Ciracci, with the pedestal and truncated1 column on which it stands, should be presented by his executor to that institution.2It has ever been my most earnest3 desire, to comply with all his wishes, and particularly with this,4 but the deeply embarrassed state in which his affairs were left, renders it extremely doubtfull, whether his property will be sufficient to meet claims upon it of a higher dignity. Under these circumstances, my duty as executor, compells me to withold the payment of legacies untill the debts are discharged.

The breaking up of his establishment, the sale of his effects5 and the dispersion6 of his family, will leave the library exposed to injury: I must therefore ask to be allowed to deposit it, at the University, in charge of your librarian subject to my future order, should it become necessary7 to expose it to sale for the discharge of claims of a higher superior nature. The bust not being mentioned in the will, but being the subject of an informal direction to his executor, can not be deemed a specific legacy and deeply mortifying as it is, he is compelled to offer it8 for sale with the residue of his property in discharge of claims upon it.Feelings of the most affectionate devotion to my grandfathers memory would induce me as his executor to fulfill his wishes upon these points at all risks, but that of injustice, to his creditors, and the fear that his memory might be stained, with the reproach of a failure to comply with any of his engagements; an assurance is therefore given, that when his debts are discharged, however much his family may be straightened in their circumstances, no considerations of pecuniary interests or of their individual distress will bar their immediate compliance

Th: J. Randolph
Executor of Th Jefferson
RC (ViU: Mss 11961); undated, but before 7 Oct. 1826, when the University of Virginia Board of Visitors recorded the following in the minutes: “Resolved that the librarian is requested to receive from Thomas J. Randolph, executor of Thomas Jefferson deceased, the books bequeathed to the University by his will, and the bust mentioned in the letter of the exr, addressed to the Rector & Visitors; and to preserve them in the library, subject to the order of the executor” (ViU: RG-1/1/1.381, Minute Books of the Board of Visitors); addressed: “To The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia”; endorsed by Nicholas P. Trist: “Randolph. (Th: J).” Dft (ViU: Edgehill-Ranolph Papers); undated; addressed: “To The Rector & visitor of the University of Va”; endorsed by Randolph: “T. J. Randolph to the Visitors of the Univ.”
1Word not in Dft.
2Dft: “to your body.”
3Dft: “anxious.”
4Preceding four words not in Dft.
5Dft: “property.”
6Word interlined in place of “removal.”
7Dft here adds: “(which I fear is extremely probable).”
8In Dft, sentence concludes: “with the other personal effects to sale for the discharge of debts.”