Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 3 May 1789

To William Short

Paris May 3. 1789.

Dear Sir

Yours of Apr. 28. from Bordeaux came to hand yesterday as did Mr. Rutledge’s of the 27th. (for I must still have the privilege of acknoleging both together). The incertainty you express whether you come by Nantes, and of course whether this letter (a copy of which goes there) may not get into other hands will very much shorten it. Madame de Tessé, whose constancy to you is above reproach, has reserved a ticket for you to the opening of the states general, which is ultimately fixed for the day after tomorrow. It is now evidently impossible you should be here by that time. Another circumstance concurs to give you what time you may chuse to pass at Nantes, Tours, or Orleans; which is that I have not yet received my permission to go to America, and I shall be sure to be at Paris till ten days after I receive it. Our latest letters from America are of the 16th. of March. The tickets were not yet opened for want of members, but there would be enough the next day. No doubt of the unanimous election of Genl. Washington, and of a good majority in favor of Mr. Adams. Tho I think myself very sure of receiving my permission, yet there is a possibility it may come so late as that I may prefer going in the fall. I am with the most friendly compliments to Mr. Rutledge Dear Sir Yours very affectionately,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC).

Madame de Tessé’s ticket for Short for the opening of the states general at Versailles was offered to Gouverneur Morris the day this letter was written, when Morris dined at Hôtel de Langeac with TJ and Lafayette. Morris, who was extremely anxious to attend the audience, appeared reluctant to take advantage of the offer. That same afternoon he called on Madame de Chastellux, who promised to obtain a ticket for him from the Duchess d’Orléans. On Monday the 4th Morris learned that the Duchess d’Orléans could not redeem her promise, but that the Duchess de Bourbon would make an effort to get one. On returning home, he found that TJ had sent him a note (not recorded in SJL and not found) repeating the offer to obtain from Madame de Tessé the ticket intended for Short. Evidently Morris was disinclined to accept it from TJ or from Madame de Tessé, for it was not until after he had retired that night that the valet of “Monsieur de Puisignieu brought … a Ticket … intended for Monsr. de Berchini.” At four in the morning of the 5th Morris arose, but his carriage did not arrive until six; nevertheless, he entered the Hall at Versailles a little after eight and in letters and in his Diary left a colorful account of the spectacle (Davenport, ed., Diary of Gouverneur Morris, i, 65–9).

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