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Thomas Jefferson - A Character Sketch
The Financial Diary of Thomas Jefferson
by Ellis, Edward S. (A.M.)


Thomas Jefferson kept a financial diary and account book from January 1st 1791, to December 28th, 1803, embracing the last three years of his service as Secretary of State under Washington, the four years of his Vice- Presidency under John Adams, and the first three years following his own election to the Presidency.

This diary was one of the most valuable treasures in the library of the late Mr. Tilden.

Among the items enumerated in the very fine, but neat and legible hand of Mr. Jefferson, is the following:

"Gave J. Madison ord. on bank for 9625 D."

The modern symbol of the dollar was not then in use. Jefferson uniformly used a capital D to denote this unit of our Federal currency.

Madison was Jefferson's most intimate friend, and was a member of congress at the time the above entry was made Jan. 8, 1791, at Philadelphia.

Whenever Jefferson went home to Monticello or returned thence to his duties, he frequently stopped with Mr. Madison.

While they were in the public service together, it appears by this diary, that they traveled together to and from their posts of duty. It also seems that one or the other generally acted as paymaster.

The inadequate salary of $3,500 which Jefferson received as Secretary of State, was $500 more than that of any other cabinet officer.

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