Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Justus Erich Bollmann, 4 March 1803

To Justus Erich Bollmann

Washington Mar. 4. 1803.


Your favor of Feb. 28. is recieved, and if the box of the wine of the quality I selected, is not reserved for your own use, I shall certainly be very glad to recieve it, and I will ask the further favor of you to import for me a gross of bottles of the same quality: for I observe that it’s price places it among those wines which are to be used pour faire bonne bouche, and not for ordinary consumption. is it designated by any particular name, or the particular place of it’s growth known?   I think it will be pleasing to you to know that Congress have given to the Marquis de la Fayette 11,500. acres of land, which may be located any where, and is probably now worth 4. or 5. times as many dollars. Accept assurances of my respect & consideration.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Doctr. J. Erich Bollman”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

TJ never learned the particular name or place of origin of the Hungarian wine he obtained from Bollmann, despite the latter’s efforts. Because of commercial restrictions established under the Austrian empire and the relative passivity of Hungarian growers, wines from the region could be difficult to obtain (Zoltán Halász, Hungarian Wine through the Ages [Budapest, 1962], 164–9; Bollmann to TJ, 10 Oct. 1804).

In 1794, Bollmann had attempted to rescue the marquis de Lafayette from a prison in Olmütz, an act that earned him some celebrity on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as a stint in the same prison (Paul S. Spalding, Lafayette: Prisoner of State [Columbia, S.C., 2010], 84–124; New York Argus, or Greenleaf’s New Daily Advertiser, 11 Jan. 1796; Bollmann to TJ, 11 Dec. 1802).

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