Thomas Jefferson, Autograph Note, With Signature
Thomas Jefferson Requisitions a Check
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Thomas Jefferson writes and signs a note to his financial advisor, John Barnes, to pay $25.00 to Thomas Manning. Manning writes on the verso, “Received the within amount / T. S. Manning.”
A founder of Christ Church in 1817, Barnes was a philanthropist and friend of the poor. He served as a confidante of and business adviser to Jefferson, being a purchasing agent, commission merchant, and investment advisor.
By the time of the Revolution, he was sympathetic to the American cause. He possibly might be the John Barnes who served as a Captain in the New York Rangers. On May 6, 1806, President Jefferson appointed Barnes Collector of Customs at the port of Georgetown, a lucrative position he filled for nearly 20 years until his death.
Jefferson appreciated Barnes’s usefulness and reciprocated Barnes’s cordiality. In 1815 when Jefferson sold his library to the Library of Congress in order to discharge his debts, the second largest beneficiary at $4,870 was that of John Barnes of Georgetown.
T.S. Manning perhaps refers to Thomas Manning, Lieutenant in the US Navy on the USS Raleigh during the Revolutionary War. The Raleigh is the ship pictured on the State Seal of New Hampshire.
More About John Barnes
(1730-1826) Christ Church founder John Barnes was an initial subscriber in 1817 (10 shares for $250). He was not on the Committee of Eight, one of the 26 committed to purchase a pew or a Vestryman. He in fact rented a pew (Number 56) starting in 1819. At the age of 87, he was by far the oldest of the church’s founders. He also was a philanthropist, friend of the poor and confidante of and business adviser to Thomas Jefferson.
Barnes was a native of Norwich, England, where he was born in 1730. At the age of thirty, in about 1760, at the height of the French and Indian War, he came to America, settling first in New York. His occupation in New York is uncertain, but he may have been a merchant. By the time of the Revolution, he was sympathetic to the American cause. He possibly might be the John Barnes who served as a Captain in the New York Rangers. Records at the time show him at North River in upstate New York, where he remained until New York City was evacuated by the British. When the U.S. government convened in Philadelphia, Barnes moved there from New York. He became friends with Secretary of State Jefferson.
According to the newspapers of the day, Barnes was among those who accompanied the heads of the departments when the federal government moved from Philadelphia to Washington. He took up residence in Georgetown. He “lived in princely style among the gentry of that period. Statesmen, dignified and influential, gathered around his board and ‘forgot the thorns of public controversy under the roses of private cheerfulness.’’’
At some point beginning around 1800 when both he and Jefferson were in Washington Barnes began to act as a sort of commission merchant/purchasing agent/investment adviser for the President.
On May 6, 1806, President Jefferson appointed Barnes Collector of Customs at the port of Georgetown, a lucrative position he filled for nearly 20 years until his death. Jefferson appreciated Barnes’s usefulness and reciprocated Barnes’s cordiality.
In 1815 when Jefferson sold his library to the Library of Congress in order to discharge his debts the second largest beneficiary at $4,870 was John Barnes of Georgetown.
The following obituary notice appeared in the Metropolitan, a weekly paper published in Georgetown, under date of February 18, 1826:“John Barnes, Collector of the Port of Georgetown, died in town February 11, 1826, in the 96th year of his age. He was a native of Norwich in England but came to N. Y. prior to the Revolution. When N. Y. was taken by the British he removed up the North River but returned to the city after the restoration of peace. When Congress re-moved to Philadelphia Mr. Barnes settled in that city and in 1800 removed to Georgetown. After freeing and providing legacies for his slaves, the remainder of his estate was left to build a Poor House and provision was made for the support of the same. ”That the welfare of the poor “was most in his thought and ever in his sight” while living was confirmed in his last will and testament.
Jefferson, Thomas. Autograph Note, signed “Th. Jefferson”. Washington: 16 March 1804. To: John Barnes (1730-1826) Oblong Octavo; 1 page.