- 1 William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, June 4, 1806
- 2 William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, June 8, 1806
- 3 Thomas Jefferson to William DuVal, June 14, 1806
- 4 Thomas Jefferson to William DuVal, June 19, 1806
- 5 William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, June 19 1806
- 6 Thomas Jefferson to William DuVal, June 22, 1806
- 7 William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, June 29, 1806
- 8 William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, July 12, 1806
- 9 Thomas Jefferson to William DuVal, July 17, 1806
- 10 William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, November 21, 1806
- 11 Thomas Jefferson to William DuVal, December 4, 1806
- 12 William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, December 10, 1806
- 13 References
William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, June 4, 1806
Worthy Sir, Richmond June 4th 1806
Geo W. Sweeney who lived with Mr Wythe was committed to Gaol on the 27th of May last for forging Six Checks on the Bank of Virginia on the 25th of May Mr Wythe was taken with a Cholera Morbus on the 26 & 27 all the Rest of the Family were seized with the same violent disorder on the 27 We had no idea that Sweeney had poisoned the whole Family — On Sunday Morning June the first last Michael the Mulatto boy died — Yellow Arsenic was found in Sweeney’s Room & many other strong Circumstances concurred to in duce [sic] a believe [sic] he had poisoned the whole Family — As a magistrate I requested four eminent Physicians to open the body of the Boy — they did so, from the inflamation [sic] in the Stomach & Bowels they said that it was the kind of infla mation [sic] produced by Poison — Our Worthy Friend is still alive — he has suffered greatly — on Whitsunday Evening, he told me he never suffered more in his Life — That in the Morning he attended to his Official Duties, the Chancery Court being in Session, that he ate his Breakfast as usual, that about Nine O’Clock in the Morning he was attacked in the most violent manner & had rose from his Bed Forty Times, to evacuate the Feces — I had Doctors McClurg, Currie & McCan to attend him — They pronounce his
Death to be certain in a day or two — They say that his Constitution was remarkably Strong for a person of his age — Thus by the hands of a Youth to whom he was kinder than a Father is about to be taken from us the most virtuous and illustrious of our Citizens — one among the best of Men
inwhom even Death, can’t terrify or alarm.
I am Yr mo Obd ServtWm DuVal
William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, June 8, 1806
Sir, Richmond June 8th 1806
Our venerable great and pious Friend departed this Life about half an hour after Nine of the Clock this Morning — Doctors Foushes Currie Grumpers McClurg & McCan opened his Chest & Bowels, there was considerable in Flamation [sic] in the Stomach. It is strongly sus pected [sic] that he & Michael Brown were poisoned with Yellow Arsenic by Geo W. Sweeney — On Thursday he said I am murdered but mentioned no name — The day before Yesterday he said Let me die
the Disrighteous — he during his severe complaint dsplayed uncom mon [sic] Patience & Fortitude — He called on the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on him —
The Governor & Council have desired that his Body shall be conveyed to the Capitol
thatTomorrow at Four O’Clock in the Afternoon his Funeral Oration will be pronounced by Mr Wm Montford who lived with Mr Wythe formerly, and is a Member of our Council of State. When Mr Wythe’s Will shall be proven. I shall enclose you a Copy of the Will with the Codicils — I believe he inclosed to you a Copy of it.
I am, with great Respect
yr obd Servant
Thomas Jefferson to William DuVal, June 14, 1806
Sir Washington June 14. 06.
Your letters of the 4th & 8th inst. have been duly received, the last announcing the death of the venerable Mr Wythe, than whom a purer character has never lived. his advanced years had left us little hope of retaining him much longer, and had his end been brought on by the ordinary decays of time & nature, al-tho' always a subject of regret, it would not have been aggravated by the horror of his falling by the hand of a parricide. Such an instance of depravity has been hitherto known to us only in the fables of the poets. I thank you for the attention you have been so kind as to shew in communicating to me the incidents of a case so interesting to my affections. he was my antient [sic] master, my earliest & best friend; and to him I am indebted for first impressions which have had the most salutary influence on the course of my life. I had reserved with fondness for the day of my retirement, the hope of inducing him to pass much of his time with me. it would have been a great pleasure to recollect with him first opinions on the new state of things which arose soon after my acquaintance with him; to pass in review the long period which has elapsed since that time, and to see how far those opinions had been affected by experience & reflection, or confirmed and acted on with self-approbation. but this may yet be the enjoyment of another state of being. You seem to suppose Mr Wythe had inclosed to me a copy of his will, but this was not the case. I hope he had time to alter its dispositions as to him who has brought it prematurely into force. Accept my salutations & assurances of esteem & respect.Mr Duvall Th Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson to William DuVal, June 19, 1806
Dear Sir Washington June 19. 06.
I have this moment received by post the paper directed to me in the handwriting of my best & most revered departed friend, mr Wythe, & superscribed by yourself as found among his papers. it covers his will in his own handwriting, dated Apr. 20. 1803. with a codicil of Jan. 19. 1806. with a label indorsed ‘Testament of G. Wythe to be published when he shall cease to breathe, if not by him required before’ and making yourself his executor. is this a duplicate, of which another copy is with you? or is it the sole original? if the latter, it shall be forwarded for publication & proof by the first safe conveyance, & in the meantime a copy shall be furnished you. he recommends in it to my patronage ‘the freed boy Michael Brown.’ is this the boy who is said to have died a few days before mr Wythe, or is he still living, & in this case will you be so good as to give me such information of him as may enable me to judge how I may best fulfill the wishes of my friend. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of esteem & respect.
William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, June 19 1806
Sir, Richmond June
As soon as I can obtain an Authenticated Copy of the Will & Codicils of Mr Geo WytheGeo W Sweeney was examined Yesterday before Col. Edward Carrington Mayor of this City, on the charge of having murdered Mr Wythe & Michael Brown the Freed Boy, two other Magistrates at
thatI inshall enclose them. I have ____ applied to the Clerk for [illegible] Michael being dead, I shall extract as much as relates to your self.
"I give my Books and small Philosophical Apparatus to Thomas Jefferson President of the United States of America, a Legacy considered abstractlie [sic], perhaps not ^ deserving
wortha place in his Musaeum, but estimated by my Good Will to him the most valuable to him of any thing which I have power to bestow."
dated January 19th 1806
and (?) dated February 24th 1806
I give to my Friend Thomas Jefferson my Silver Cups and Gold headed Cane.
Be pleased to appoint an Agent here, to receive the above legacies, a catalogue of the Books etc.(?) will be delivered to him — The House where Mr Wythe lived will be rented, I expect in a few days. I shall with pleasure aid you in having them sent to where ever you may direct. I think they are worth about £500 —
tended his examination of witnesses, which lasted near five hours. They were of opinion that they, Mr Wythe & Michael, were poisoned by Geo. W Sweeney. On Monday next a Court of Examination is to be held in this City G. W. Sweeney was remanded to Gaol —
G. W. Sweeney’s Case in some Respects resembles that of Capt. John Donellan for the Willful Murder of Sir Theodosius Edward Attisley Boughton Bart. at the Assizes at Warwick on the 30th day of March 1781 before the Honble Mr Justice Butler who was convicted and Executed for poisoning the brother of Mr. Donnellan — I do not recollect to have (?) seen it in any of the Reporters. But is published at large in the 68 Vol. of the British Universal Magazine for Jany, Feby March, April, May & June of 1781. Beginning at page 205. You may suppose that the conduct of Sweeney has excited the most lively sympathy for the deceased and detestation agt the supposed Culprit — Pardon me for dwelling so long on a Subject, that must be painful to your feelings.Wm DuVal
I am with great Respect
Yr. mo. obt Servt
Thomas Jefferson to William DuVal, June 22, 1806
Dear Sir Washington June 22. 06.
Yours of the 19th is received & anticipates the answer to mine of the same date, respecting the will of our deceased friend, and the freed boy Michael Brown. I sincerely regret the loss of the latter not only for the affliction it must have cost mr Wythe in his last moments, but also as it has deprived me of an object for attentions which would have gratified me unceasingly with the constant recollection & execution of the wishes of my friend. does there exist a portrait of mr Wythe? I fear not, if there be one I presume it must be with some member of the family of Maj. Taliaferro his father in law.
Mr. Jefferson of Richmond will receive from you the bequests of my venerable friend & take off of your hands the trouble & expence of packing [illegible]. I salute you with esteem & respect.
William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, June 29, 1806
Dear Sir Richmond June 29th 1806
Your favors of the 14. 19 & 22 Instant have been regularly received the last Letter I got from the Post Office Yesterday.
I believe that the great & good Mr Wythe loved ^ you as sincerely as if you had been his Son, his attachment was founded on his thorough knowledge of you, personally — Some Years ago he mentioned that if there was an honest Man in America, T. J. was that person, every thing that he said has been verified. About fourteen Years ago my intimacy with that good Man commenced & sontinued until [sic] his last moments. He taught me to be rich and contented, when my income had been greatly reduced, he taught me there could be no happiness, unless we endeavored to love that great being who made the universe me, that some time ago, Mr Wythe told him that every Night & Morning he addressed the great Creator — some years ago venerable Friend told me he believed he never put his head on ^ his Pillow, but that he said the Lord's Prayer. his great desire, he told me, was to be holy and innocent. He thought that faith without good actions were of no avail. He loved every good Man. He thought that God is no respector of persons but in every nation he that feareath him and walketh righteous ways, is accepted with him.I think he loved his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, and with all his strength.
Charity as described by high Authority, seemed later ingrafted in his Soul — Happy would he have been, had he been spared to have conversed with you, on the changes, if any had been made of Opinions & thinigs that Experience & Reflection had confirmed or affected & to have spent most (?) of his Time with you — Resignation is a duty we (illegible) to him that cannot err — but I still feel as if I had lost half of my self —
When Mr Wythe heard of the untimely death of Michael the Freed Boy — he made a Long Breath — pathetically said — Poor Boy — The Boy was personable and good, he had caught the Suavity of his Master's Manners.
The Picture of Mr Wythe I hope to obtain from Lydia
William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, July 12, 1806
Worthy Sir, Richmond July 12th. 1806 A catalogue of the books, the small philosophical apparatus, with the two cups & gold headed cane, also Mr. Wythe’s portrait are delivered to the care of Mr. Geo Jefferson. The terrestrial globe is missing, it is apprehended G.W.S. sold it. He sent last year several books belonging to Mr. Wythe to Vendue. Have you the profile of Mr. Wythe in miniature? If you have not I can furnish you with one – I have not sold Mr. Wythe’s watch, it was appraised to $20. It is an old silver watch. Mr. Wythe told me it kept good time. The seal & key I suppose cost about $12. The stone is a white cristal found in Virginius. It has ingraved, the initial letters of his name, under which are some Greek characters, on the other side is his coat of arms – I did not know but the seal might attract your attention. I am Sir(?) with the highest esteem, ___________________ Wm. DuVal
Thomas Jefferson to William DuVal, July 17, 1806Dear Sir Washington July 17.06.
William DuVal esq. Th Jefferson
Your favor of the 12th was received [sic] yesterday. I infer from it's [sic] tenor that the seal, key & perhaps the Watch of mr Wythe are
perhapsto be disposed of. if so, I will take them with desire, either at the appraised prices stated by you, or greater prices at which they shall be estimated by any persons of skill whom you may chuse [sic] to consult. mr Jefferson, has I expect by this time funds of mine in hand, out of which he will pay for these articles on sight of this letters. I infer from a former letter that the portrait of mr Wythe was the property of Lydia Broadnax or, if not, doubtless it would be desired by some of his relations. I ask only therefor to borrow it that I may get it copied by mr Peale & the original shall be safely returned. Accept my salutations and assurances of esteem & respect.
William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, November 21, 1806Sir Richmond November 21st 1806
I have a profile of the venerable
GeorgeGeorge Wythe taken by Mr W. Bache in 1804 ^ by an Instrument he calls by the name of his patent Physiognotrace which profile much resembles that great and good Man, & Mr E Deane, I have written to, who is a man of some eminence as a portrait Limner to take a copy theseof, — Both of which I will leave with Mr George Jefferson, that you may take either of them —
The profile you have, will shew his appearance at that period of his Life, & the one I have, will exhibit a strong likeness a few years before his untimely Death —
I was at the Sweet Springs when your Letter of the 17 July was received here — The portrait of Mr Wythe which you desired was inventoried and accounted for at the appraised value
If you preferred the Original Lyddia would be contented with a profile Copy — I know from wat Mr Wythe often said, that you were dearer to him than any Relation he had — That his attachment arose from that impulse that unite great Minds, the sincere Love of Virtue —
May providence long preserve you to be a Blessing to our Country and an Example to all Nations
I am with sincere Respect
Yr obedient Servt
Thomas Jefferson to William DuVal, December 4, 1806
Washington Dec. 4. 08
- Your favor of Nov. 21. has been duly received and I thank you for the offer of the profile of Mr. Wythe, every trace of whom will be dear to me. If you will be so good as to desire Mr. Jefferson to forward me either the original or the copy, as you please, it will be received with equal thankfulness. It should be rolled on a stick, & not folded. The original of the other profile, after taking a copy, I had packed in a box addressed to yourself that it might be returned to Lydia with my thanks for the opportunity of copying it. In the same box I put 2 folio volumes of Mr. Wythe's accounts which had come by mistake with his books. The box I directed to be forwarded to you. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of great respect.
William DuVal to Thomas Jefferson, December 10, 1806Dear Sir, Richmond Decemr 10th 1806
I received your favor of the 4th Instant. The origional [sic] profile of our Friend Mr George Wythe set in a plain neat Frame is this day delivered to Mr George Jefferson to be conveyed to to [sic] Washington for you Sir —
I received the other profile of our good and Virtuous Friend with the two folio fee Books which were packed up thro' mistake for which I return you my thanks—
You have perhaps seen the Resolution of the Assembly, respecting the House who have agreed to ware [sic] Mourning for one Month as a Mark of Respect for so great and good a Man.
I think they should have done more for an incitement to Virtue and Patriotism. I would have had them to have erected at the public Expence a plain Tomb Stone, to transmit to future ages the High Lines they entertained of his Talents, his Patriotism, and his inflexible Integrity — his was a rare Character, such an One as is scarcely to be met with in many Centuries
I am, Sir, with great esteem & Respect,
your mo. Obt Servt
- Vendue: public auction.