Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Anderson, 28 September 1792

From James Anderson

Paris 28 September 1792.


By the recommendation of Major Mountflorance I am induced to address you.

I am a native of Charles town South Carolina, and not unknown to The Honble Mr. Bingham, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Hayfeild Connyingham, and many other Gentlemen in Philadelphia, and to whom I have already wrote, requesting of them to procure for me an appointment in France, under the government of the United States of America.

I propose to remain in Paris this winter for the sole purpose of acquiring more of the French language than what I already know.

I will candidly acknowledge Sir, that I have been unfortunate in the earlier part of my life in the commercial line, by the capture of the Island of St: Eustatius and other events, which I could not guard against, but I will be bold to declare, that my heart is uncorrupted: if then in your goodness Sir, you will deign to honor me with the smallest attendtion, I pledge my honor to you Sir and my country, that I will endeavour to merit any appointment which you may please to bestow upon me.

I have never forfeited the protection of my country, which is very dear to me by any political act, and when I had the power I always gave proofs, that I merited the birthright of an American.

I am known to Mr. Short and had the honor to dine three or four times with him, before that Gentleman left Paris for Holland.

Mr. Mountflorance will I flatter myself Sir, be able to give you satisfactory answers, to any enquiries which you may please to make. With the greatest Respect I have the honor to be, Sir Your most ob hble St.

James Anderson

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD); at foot of text: “To the Honorable Mr. Jefferson Minister for Foreign Affairs Philadelphia”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Jan. 1793 and so recorded in SJL.

Anderson’s request for a regular federal appointment did not bear fruit until 1803, when as president TJ appointed him commercial agent at Cette in France (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828 description ends , i, 433, 440). In the summer of 1793, however, Anderson received an appointment from Joseph Fenwick as consular agent at Nantes, in consequence of which he wrote letters seeking TJ’s sanction and describing events in and around that port (Anderson to TJ, 23 Aug., 14 Sep. 1793).

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