Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Madame de Kersaint, 9 November 1795

To Madame de Kersaint

Monticello Virginia Nov. 9. 1795.


I am honored with your favor of Oct. 20. from Philadelphia. I left France at so early a period of it’s revolution that I had not the advantage of being personally acquainted with many characters which afterwards distinguished themselves. The public papers have made known to us the talents and merit of Monsr. de Kersaint; but not having been personally known to him, nor honored with his correspondence, it is not in my power to inform you what connections he had in this country either of business or of acquaintance. Be pleased to accept my regrets that this small service is not within my reach, with assurances of the good wishes and respect with which I have the honor to be Madam Your most obedt. & most humble servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mde. de Kersaint”; endorsed in ink by TJ on verso.

Claire Louise Françoise de Paul d’Alesso d’Eragny, a native of Martinique, was the widow of Armand Guy Simon de Coetnempren, Comte de Kersaint, a French naval officer and Girondin member of the National Convention who had been executed in Paris in December 1793 for alleged counterrevolutionary activities, and the mother of Claire de Kersaint, later Duchesse de Durfort-Duras, who became an author of some note in Restoration France. Madame de Kersaint and her daughter lived at 281 South Front Street in Philadelphia from 1794 to 1796, when they returned to Europe (Dictionnaire description begins Dictionnaire de biographie française, Paris, 1933–, 18 vols. description ends , xviii, 1156–7; Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale description begins J. C. F. Hoefer, Nouvelle biographie générale depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu’a nos jours, Paris, 1855–66, 46 vols. description ends , xv, 464–5; A. Bardoux, La Duchesse de Duras [Paris, 1898], 38–44, 48–51, 86; Edmund Hogan, The Prospect of Philadelphia, and Check on the Next Directory. Part 1 [Philadelphia, 1795], 115; TJ to George Washington, 1 Apr. 1793, and note). Her favor of Oct. 20, recorded in SJL as received 3 Nov. 1795, has not been found.

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