Thomas Jefferson Papers

Power of Attorney from Tadeusz Kosciuszko, 30 April 1798

Power of Attorney from Tadeusz Kosciuszko

Know all men by these presents that I Thaddeus Kosciusko late of Poland, but now at Philadelphia in the United States of America do hereby constitute & appoint Thomas Jefferson of Monticello in Virginia my attorney in fact and proxy in all cases within the United States giving him full power & authority over all the property real or personal, in possession right, title or action which I now have, or hereafter may have within the United States, and of and touching the same to enter into and conclude any transactions which he may think expedient for my interest with any person or1 persons, body politic or corporate, or any state or the United States,2 and the said property to preserve in the same form or to change into any other for my use; as also on my behalf to demand sue for, recover, recieve, dispose of, transfer & convey the same in all cases whatsoever, & to give, make & take in every case full and valid transfers, conveyances,3 discharges & acquittances, as to any thing touching the premisses.

And further to enable the said Thomas Jefferson to transact the said matters as well by others as by himself, he is hereby fully authorized to appoint & substitute under himself other attornies or proxies by way of deputation, from time to time, as he shall think proper, giving to him or them on my behalf the same or any lesser powers over the premisses, as is herein before given to himself, and such deputed powers again to revoke, or to renew, as he may think best for my interest.

And moreover to provide against the contingency of death or disability of the said Thomas to transact the said business, I do further authorize the said Thomas, by any sufficient instrument under his hand & seal, for me, & on my behalf, to nominate & appoint another attorney in chief to succeed, on the contingency of his death or other disability, to all the powers herein given to the said Thomas; the same however remaining in suspense, and of no activity during his own life or ability to act.

And I do hereby ratify and confirm all the acts and proceedings of the said Thomas & of those acting under him, or in pursuance of his appointment, as fully & absolutely as if done by myself. And inasmuch as the sd Thomas undertakes to act in the premisses without fee or reward, & purely and sincerely from motives of friendship & esteem which he bears to me the said Thaddeus Kosciusko, & it would therefore be unjust that he should be chargeable for any accidents or losses which may happen herein, not through his wilful default or gross negligence, now therefore, that it may not be in the power of my representatives or others, on the event of my death, or any other event, to molest or damnify the sd Thomas or his representatives for such cause, Know ye, that from all responsibility for such accidents & losses not happening through his wilful default or gross negligence as aforesaid I do for myself my heirs executors & administrators hereby fully exonerate & acquit him the said Thomas, his heirs, executors & administrators for ever. And I do expressly reserve to myself the legal right to revoke these presents whensoever to me it shall seem expedient. Witness my4 hand & seal at Philadelphia this 30th day of April one thousand seven hundred & ninety eight.

T Kosciuszko
J Dawson
John Barnes

MS (PPRF); in TJ’s hand, leaving blanks for day and month which were filled by an unidentified hand; signed and sealed by Kosciuszko; signed by Dawson and Barnes; indented; notarized with seal on verso by Peter Lohra, Philadelphia, 15 June 1798, attesting Dawson’s signed and sworn statement that affirms his and Barnes’s witnessing of the document; endorsed in an unknown hand: “Power for Dividends &ca. Thaddeus Kosciusko to Thomas Jefferson with his Substitution to John Barnes April 30 1798” (see below). PrC (MHi); letterpressed on a sheet too small to accommodate the full text. MS (same); in TJ’s hand; blanks for date filled by same unidentified hand as in MS in PPRF; signed and sealed as above; indented; signed statement by Dawson on verso notarized by Lohra, 15 June 1798, identically to MS in PPRF; endorsed by TJ: “Koscuszko to Jefferson Power of Atty.” PrC (National Museum, Cracow, Poland); blanks for date not filled; unsigned. Dft (MHi); entirely in TJ’s hand and endorsed by him.

On 12 June TJ made Barnes “attorney under myself & on behalf of” Kosciuszko in matters relating to the latter’s shares in the Bank of Pennsylvania, to include the receipt of dividends and voting for officers of the bank (MS in PPRF, entirely in TJ’s hand, signed by him and by Dawson as witness, notarized by Lohra on 15 June, with seals).

1In Dft TJ interlined the words from “and of and touching” to this point in place of: “of whatsoever the same may consist, whether of money, stock, shares, dividends, interest or other thing, due or to become due from any.”

2Here in Dft TJ canceled: “or deposited or to be deposited in any public treasury, bank, association, or company within the US.”

3Preceding three words interlined in Dft in place of “perfect.”

4PrC in MHi ends here.

Index Entries