Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Stephen Sayre, 25 August 1785

From Stephen Sayre

New York 25 augt. 1785


I do myself the honor of transmitting a Letter to your Excellency, which the Delegates of Virginia and Massachusetts, voluntarily gave me, as soon as they understood that the appointment it mentions would be agreeable to me.

It is a duty I owe to their good will, to give you the earliest notice, that I am now ready to embark for Cadiz—shall immediately proceed to Madrid, where my private affairs may detain me twenty, or thirty days; unless your Excellency should express a wish to see me immediately at Paris.

If I can render Service to the public my private interest will become a secondary object. May I request your Excellency, to favour me with your resolutions, as soon as possible, under [cover] to Mr. Carmichael.

I am, with great respect & consideration your most obedient & most humble Servant,

Stephen Sayre

RC (ViWC); endorsed. Recorded in SJL as received 10 Oct. 1785. Enclosure: Elbridge Gerry and others to TJ, 23 Aug. 1785.

On this same date, Sayre wrote to Adams, also enclosing a letter from the Massachusetts and Virginia delegates, “by which,” he added, “I believe, those Gentlemen mean to render me particular service. If it does not come too late, I trust you will think yourself justified in uniting with Mr. Jefferson to send me on the business it mentions. My private affairs call me to Cadiz and Madrid. I shall sail in a Vessell of my own in two or three days. I inform your excellency of this, that you may communicate your resolutions to me at Madrid where I shall remain some weeks, if not called upon: or make the utmost haste to obey your commands. Or, if you will take the trouble of writing to Mr. Jefferson, immediately on this subject, he will do me the honor of conveying your Sentiments” (Sayre to Adams, 25 Aug. 1785; MHi: AMT). For a brief account of Sayre’s sometimes grandiose and always unsuccessful schemes, see Julian P. Boyd, “The Remarkable Adventures of Stephen Sayre,” Princeton Univ. Lib. Chronicle, ii [1941], p. 51–64).

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