Thomas Jefferson Papers

American Philosophical Society’s Subscription Agreement for André Michaux’s Western Expedition, [ca. 22 January 1793]

American Philosophical Society’s Subscription Agreement for André Michaux’s Western Expedition

[ca. 22 Jan. 1793]

Whereas Andrew Michaux,1 a native of France, and inhabitant of the United States has undertaken to explore the interior country of North America from the Missisipi along the Missouri, and Westwardly to the Pacific ocean, or in such other direction as shall be advised by the American Philosophical society, and on his return to communicate to the said society the information he shall have acquired of the geography of the said country it’s inhabitants, soil, climate, animals, vegetables, minerals2 and other circumstances of note: We the Subscribers, desirous of obtaining for ourselves relative to the land we live on, and of communicating to the world, information so interesting to curiosity, to science, and to the future prospects of mankind, promise for ourselves, our heirs executors3 and administrators, that we will pay the said Andrew Michaux, or his assigns, the sums herein affixed to our names respectively, one fourth part thereof on demand, the remaining three fourths whenever, after his return, the said Philosophical society shall declare themselves satisfied that he has performed the said journey and that he has communicated to them freely all the information which he shall have acquired and they demanded of him: or if the said Andrew Michaux shall not proceed to the Pacific ocean, and shall reach the sources of the waters running into it, then we will pay him such part only of the remaining three fourths, as the said Philosophical society shall deem duly proportioned to the extent of unknown country explored by him, in the direction prescribed, as compared with that omitted to be4 so explored. And we consent that the bills of exchange of the said Andrew Michaux, for monies said to be due to him in France,5 shall be recieved to the amount of two hundred Louis, and shall be negociated6 by the said Philosophical society, and the proceeds thereof7 retained in their hands,8 to be delivered to the said Andrew Michaux, on his return, after having performed the journey to their satisfaction, or, if not to their satisfaction, then9 to be applied towards reimbursing the subscribers the fourth of their subscription advanced to the said Andrew Michaux. We consent also that the said Andrew Michaux shall take10 to himself all benefit arising from the publication of the11 discoveries he shall make in the three departments of Natural history, Animal, Vegetable and Mineral, he concerting12 with the said Philosophical society such measures for securing to himself the said benefit, as shall be consistent with the due publication of the said discoveries.13 In witness whereof we have hereto subscribed our names and affixed the sums we engage respectively to contribute.

[Column 1] [Column 2]
Go: Washington one hundred Dollars H Knox fifty dollars
John Adams Twenty Dollars Th: Jefferson fifty dollars
Benjamin Hawkins Twenty Dollars Alexander Hamilton Fifty Dollars
Ra. Izard Twenty Dollars Rufus King Twenty Dollars
Sam Johnston Twenty Dollars John Langdon Twenty Dollars
Robt Morris Eighty Dollrs. John Edwards Sixteen Dollars
Jno. Henry ten dollars John Brown Twenty Dollars
G Cabot Ten Dollars Tho Mifflin Twenty Dollars
John Rutherfurd Twenty dollars
[Column 3] [Column 4]
Jona: Trumbull Twenty Dollrs. John F. Mercer twelve Dollars
James Madison Jr. Twenty dollars Sam. Magaw Sixteen Dollars
J: Parker Twenty dollars Nicholas Collin sixteen dollars
Alexr White Twenty Dollars Jona Williams Twenty Dollars
John Page twenty Dollars John Bleakley Ten Dollars
John B. Ashe 10 Drs. Jos Parker Norris Ten Dollars
Wm Smith Twenty Dolirs. Wm: White ten Dollars
Jere Wadsworth Thirty Dollars John Ross Twenty Dollars
Richard Bland Lee ten dollars
Thos. Fitzsimons ten dollars
Saml. Griffin Ten dollars
Wm B. Giles Ten Dollars
Jno W: Kittera Ten Dollars

MS (PPAmP: Miscellaneous Manuscripts); undated; entirely in TJ’s hand, except for signatures of thirty-seven other subscribers with amounts pledged arranged in four columns, three at foot of text and a fourth on verso. Dft (DLC: TJ Papers, 81: 14061); undated; entirely in TJ’s hand, unsigned; significant variations and emendations are noted below. Tr (PPAmP: Miscellaneous Manuscripts); undated; in the hand of Nicholas Collin, except for thirty-one signatures, all different from those in MS, arranged in no apparent order in three columns, two at foot of text and another on endorsement page, and quoted here as follows:

[Column 1]

  • J: Ross Twenty Dollars
  • J Beale Bordley Twenty Dollars
  • John Penn Twenty Dollars
  • John Ewing ten Dollars
  • Math: Mcconnell ten ds.
  • John Nixon ten dollars
  • Thos Willing ten dollars
  • Christian Febiger ten Dis.
  • Robt. Blackwell sixteen dols.
  • J Hutchinson ten Dollars
  • W. Shippen Jr Ten Dollars

[Column 2]

  • John D Coxe Ten Dollars
  • Jared Ingersoll Eight Dollars
  • Mattu Clarkson Eight Dollars
  • J B Smith Eight dollars
  • Samuel Powel Ten Dollars
  • Walter Stewart Ten Dollars
  • J Dorsey eight Dols
  • W. Hawes ten dollars
  • Thos Ruston 20 Dollars
  • Caspar Wistar 30 Dollars
  • Peter S. Du Ponceau 16 Dollars

[Column 3]

  • Benjn. Franklin Bache 8 dolls
  • A. Kuhn 20 dollars
  • Saml M Fox ten dollars
  • Kearny Wharton ten dollars
  • David Lewis Ten Dollars
  • Sam. Coates Nine Dollars
  • Caspar W Morris Eight Dolls
  • JosA Gilpin Ten dollars
  • Reuben Haines Junr 20 Dollars

endorsed in an unidentified hand: “Papers relative to Subsn. to Michaud.” Tr (same); undated; entirely in Collin’s hand, except for signature of John Ewing; lacks text and consists solely of names and pledges of first thirty-four signatories to TJ’s MS, followed by names in pencil of six members of the American Philosophical Society and Ewing’s signature, evidently pledging another $10, quoted here as follows:

John Nicholson } fifty Dollars each
David Ritfenhouse
Henry Hill
Dn Thointon
Jn Vaughan
William Bingham
John Ewing ten Dollars

at head of text: “Copy of subscriptions.” Recorded in SJPL under 23 Jan. 1793: “subscription for Michaux’ mission.” Enclosed in TJ to George Washington, 22 Jan. 1793. Also found in the vault of the American Philosophical Society with the subscription papers listed above was a signed certification by President David Rittenhouse, dated 23 Apr. 1793, of the appointment four days before of a committee consisting of Collin, Charles Willson Peale, and John Vaughan to collect “one fourth part of the Subscriptions for Mr. Michaud’s Expedition, or the whole, of such subscribers as chuse to pay, in order to enable Mr. Michaud to proceed immediately,” with a list of the advances received toward the subscription in Collin’s hand, except for the last entry in Vaughan’s hand, as follows:

Received by me Nicholas Collin

Apr. 23d. from Mr. Hamilton  52.50 { Twelve and ½ dollars
from General Washington Twenty five dollars
Gen. Walter Stewart five dollars
John Ross Merchant five dollars
Mr. J. B. Bordley five Dollars
Bishop White  40   { two and one half
Mr. Robert Morris Twenty dollars
Doctor Ewing two dollars—half
Samuel Powel two—half
Mr. Vaughn twelve—half
Mathew McConnel  18.00 { two—half
John Nixon two—half
Benjamin Beach [Bache] two
Samuel Coats two—quarter
Robert Blackwell four dollars
Jared Ingersol two dollars
Mathew Clarcson two dollars
John Dorsey two dollars
    Received by John Vaughan
Dr. Thornton  12.50 Twelve & one half Dolls

(MSS in PPAmP: Miscellaneous Manuscripts; on verso of certificate in Vaughan’s hand: “NB July 22. 1796 Recd from Mr Rittenhouse 128 25/100”; on verso of list in Vaughan’s hand: “Money Collected”). Comparison of this list with a statement Collin submitted to the Society in April 1800 on behalf of a committee appointed in February 1799 to report and recommend disposition of the sums received for the Michaux expedition indicates that the two rosters are not identical, the MS omitting the $12.50 advance by TJ and the $4 advance by Collin reported in 1800 but including the payment by Thornton not reported in 1800. The ultimate disposition of the money is not recorded (APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings, xxvi [1889], 278, 298).

1Here and throughout the Dft TJ first wrote “______ Michaud” before inserting the first name and, except in one case, altering the surname.

2Preceding three words interlined in Dft in place of “productions.”

3Word written over “and,” erased, in Dft.

4Preceding three words interlined in Dft in place of “not.”

5Here in Dft TJ interlined and then canceled “to the amount of 200 louis.”

6Here in Dft TJ first wrote “shall be accepted and negociated” before he altered the passage to read as above.

7Preceding two words interlined in Dft in place of “money.”

8Preceding three words interlined in Dft.

9Preceding six words interlined in Dft in place of “otherwise.”

10Word interlined in Dft in place of “enjoy” and an interlined and canceled “have.”

11Word interlined in Dft in place of “any discov botanical.”

12Preceding thirteen words inserted in Dft.

13In Dft TJ first wrote “the publication of the discoveries producing it” and then altered the phrase to read as above.

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