To Christian VII, King of Denmark
Great and Good Friend
Mr. Blicherolsen your Minister Resident with the United States, having communicated his purpose of making, under your permission, a voyage to his country, I make it an occasion of expressing the satisfaction which his estimable qualities and the use he has made of them in the exercise of his functions, have inspired: and at the same time of assuring your Majesty of the perfect reciprocity in the United States, of the kindly sentiments contained in the letter of which your worthy Minister was the bearer. It is their sincere disposition to promote all the relations with the Danish Nation which may foster such sentiments, and which are prescribed by a mutual interest; and it is not doubted that, on this subject, the knowledge which Mr. Blicherolsen acquired by his residence, will render him, a just interpreter. I pray God to have you Great and Good Friend in his holy keeping.
Written at the City of Washington the sixth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three.
FC in Lb (DNA: RG 59, Credences); in a clerk’s hand; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson President of the United States of America To His Majesty the King of Denmark, Norway, the Vandals and the Goths, Duke of Sleswic, Holstein, Stormar Ditmarsh and Odenburg &ca.”; at foot of text: “To Our Great & Good Friend His Danish Majesty”; below signature: “By the President James Madison, Secretary of State.”
Christian VII (1749–1808) assumed the throne in 1766, but severe mental problems impaired his ability to rule. Beginning in 1772, a form of regency governed Denmark, and from 1784, Christian’s son Frederick, the crown prince, ruled in all but name. Christian was the son of King Frederick V of Denmark and Queen Louisa, who was a daughter of George II of England (Svend Cedergreen Bech, ed., Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, 3d ed., 16 vols. [Copenhagen, 1979–84], 3:316–18; Thomas Munck, “Absolute Monarchy in Later Eighteenth-Century Denmark: Centralized Reform, Public Expectations, and the Copenhagen Press,” Historical Journal, 41 , 201–24; DNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, In Association with The British Academy, From the Earliest Times to the Year 2000, Oxford, 2004, 60 vols. description ends , s.v. “Anne, princess royal [1709–59]”).
Peder Blicher Olsen had been serving as both minister and consul general. He informed Madison on 3 June that the king had granted him a leave of absence to go home to Denmark. He indicated also that his government had appointed Peder Pedersen, who had not yet arrived in the United States, to take over as consul general, and Pedersen was to act as chargé d’affaires for diplomatic relations during Blicher Olsen’s absence (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 35 vols., Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 9 vols., Pres. Ser., 1984- , 7 vols., Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 5:55, 327, 363; Vol. 35:162, 163n; Vol. 39:206).
Christian’s letter of credence for Peder Blicher Olsen was dated 16 Jan. 1801 (Vol. 34:451n; Vol. 35:111n).
prescribed by a mutual interest: Madison wrote to Blicher Olsen on 6 June, enclosing TJ’s letter to the king and reiterating “all the sentiments it contains.” Madison lauded what he saw in Blicher Olsen as “a just tendency to strengthen the friendly ties between two nations which have every motive to cultivate a perfect harmony, and to render their intercourse more and more liberal and useful” (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 35 vols., Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 9 vols., Pres. Ser., 1984- , 7 vols., Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 5:62).