Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Tobias Lear, [22 November 1791]

To Tobias Lear

[22 Nov. 1791]

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to Mr. Lear and informs him he has recieved from Mr. Short a statement of the cost of the Champagne imported this year for the President, to wit 1680. livres. He sends him a statement of the whole, exact, except of the proceeds of the sterling money at Paris, which Mr. Short has not yet informed him of. He thought he should have had money enough in Mr. Short’s hands to have answered the present demand of 30. dozen bottles of Champagne for the President: but on revising his accounts with Mr. Short, he finds himself mistaken. This article, with the undervaluation on the former Champagne, will probably be something upwards of 2000 livres. If Mr. Lear therefore can furnish a bill for that it will probably cover the two demands: or rather a bill on Amsterdam for 800. florins, as bills on Paris are perillous on account of the Assignats.

RC (Estate of Charles William Whipple, New York, 1945); undated; addressed: “Mr. Lear”; endorsed: “From Mr. Jefferson with acct. of Wine 22d Nov. 1791.” PrC (MHi). Enclosed in RC was TJ’s calculation of the account:

“1790. 1791. Th: Jefferson’s disbursements for the wines of the President.

Frontignan from Dr. Lambert. 2 cases. livre tournois
  G.W. No. 23. 120.bottles 155– 0
    carriage from Frontignan to Bordeaux 44–11
Sauterne from Mde. de Luz-Saluce.
  7 cases 350.bottles 525– 0
    packages for do. 28– 0
Bordeaux de la Fite. from Mr. Fenwick.
  5 cases. 240.bottles 720– 0
    charges on do. 30– 0
    his charges for postage of lres. on the half 10– 5
    do. for entries, shipping, commission &c 195– 8
  Freight of all the above from Bordeaux to Charleston to Capt. Tilden ½.  88– 0
Champagne from M. d’Orsai. 4. hampers. 451. bottles. to Mr. Short 1680– 0
    transportn. & other charges from Paris to Havre, to do. for La Motte 226–18
    freight of do. from Havre to Philada. 71. cub. feet @ 1/ sterl. 84–10


By Warder’s excha. on Warder & co. London.£131–5 sterl.

the proceeds in livres not yet known.

Note. No account of the duties on the wines from Bordeaux payable in the U.S. has been ever presented to Th: J. Those on the Champagne were paid here by Mr. Lear.”

The bill for champagne for the president was transmitted in William Short to TJ, 17 July 1791, which TJ had received on 22 Oct. 1791. See also Short to TJ, 6 Oct. 1791.

On Nov. 23 TJ sent a receipt to Lear for Mordecai Lewis’ bill for “800 currt. gilders on account of wine” payable to Van Staphorst & Hubbard (RC from Mrs. Henry M..Sage, Albany, N.Y., 1954).

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