Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Lafayette, [11 November 1800]

From Lafayette

La Grange 20th Brumaire [i.e. 11 Nov.] 1800

My dear friend

As I’ll Have By this Opportunity the pleasure to Write to You, I shall Now only Mention the Affair of M. de BeauMarchais Which You Better know than I do—His Claims Have Been InHerited By a former Aid de Camp of Mine Who Married Beau-Marchais’s daughter and Whose Sister is a Wife to General Dumas the Chief of the Staff in the Middle Army—My Attachement to My two Companions Makes it a duty for me to Give them the Recommendation Which they Have Requested—The Merits of the Cause Have Been often and are Now, I Unterstand, to be Again debated—Your knowledge of it Leaves Nothing More for me to Say, after I Have Related the friendly Motives of this Letter, than that I am Most Affectionately



You Have known Mathieu Dumas in the beggining of the french Revolution, and it is probable You Have Seen Delarue, as an Aid de Camp, at My House.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Hble Thomas Jefferson Esq.”; English date supplied; at head of text in an unidentified hand: “Copd.”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 11 Nov. 1800 received 10 July 1801 and so recorded in SJL. Tr (DLC); in an unknown hand; at head of text: “Exd.”; with minor variations.

During the American Revolution Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, by secret arrangement with the French crown, had sent arms and equipment to aid the revolt of Britain’s American colonies. After the playwright’s death in 1799 his heirs continued to press his claim for the completion of payment. Resolution of the matter met delay after delay because it seemed impossible to ascertain if one million livres tournois paid in 1776, known as the “lost million,” had subsidized matériel sent to America. The matter dragged on until the 1830s, when the United States applied part of an indemnification from France to a final settlement of the claim of Beaumarchais’s heirs (Syrett, Hamilton, description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends 11:207–11; 20:35760n; Brian N. Morton and Donald C. Spinelli, Beaumarchais and the American Revolution [Lanham, Md., 2003], 317–26; Vol. 26:243–7, 277).

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