Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the Board of Trade, [18? March 1780]

To the Board of Trade

[18? March 1780]


Mr. Nathan having taken up Bills drawn on us to a considerable amount payable in N. Orleans, and having occasion for ten thousand Livres in France in part paiment, I am to desire you to furnish him with Bills of Exchange to that amount, carrying them to his debit; also that you will be pleased to take back the Bills you gave Colo. Legras on Penet & Co. He having received Satisfaction for them from Mr. Nathan to whom he delivered Clarke’s and Todds on general draughts in exchange for Mr. Nathan’s Bills.

Tr in Board of Trade Journal (Vi); received 18 Mch.

The bills of exchange issued to Simon Nathan, drawn on Penet & Co. for 10,000 livres, were the cause of a long-drawnout controversy between Nathan and the Commonwealth of Virginia which extended at least through 1791. In the May 1783 session of the legislature, Nathan presented a petition for payment of his claim to the House of Delegates. The committee appointed to review the claim reported on 21 June (the documents on the case to this date are printed in the report); the House disapproved the recommendation of the committee that the claim be paid and ordered that the claim, “together with all papers and testimony relative thereto, be referred to any two gentlemen in the State of Maryland, … who shall have power to arbitrate and finally determine all disputes and controversies arising upon the said claim” (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1783, 1828 edn., p. 15, 72–5, 81–2; see also TJ to George Rogers Clark, 19 Mch. 1780, and TJ to Edmund Randolph, 18 July 1783). In 1791 William Alexander, agent for the attorneys of Simon Nathan, again petitioned the governor for payment of the claim (CVSP description begins Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond description ends , V, 259–60).

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