Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Etienne Lemaire, 16 March 1809

To Etienne Lemaire

Monticello Mar. 16. 09.

My dear M. LeMaire

When I parted with you at Washington, it was my intention to have expressed to you all the sentiments of obligation I have felt myself under to you. but my heart was so full that I could utter but the single word Adieu. indeed the enlivening idea of rejoining my family and of being once more master of my own time & actions, was lost in the moment of separation from those who had lived so long in the house with me, & served me so much to my mind. I must supply now in writing, what I then could not express, the sense of my attachment to you & satisfaction with your services. they were faithful, & skilful, and your whole conduct so marked with good humour, industry, sobriety & economy as never to have given me one moment’s dissatisfaction: and indeed were I to be again in a situation to need services of the same kind, yours would be more acceptable to me than those of any person living. I have thought it my duty thus to declare what is just & true respecting you; it may give some satisfaction to you, as assuredly it does to myself to bear this testimony to your merit. I shall be glad to know where letters may find you hereafter, & to hear from you at times and at your own convenience, as I shall ever feel a deep interest in your happiness & success. I salute you with affectionate esteem

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “M. Etienne Lemaire”; mistakenly endorsed by TJ as a letter of 11 Mar. 1809 but correctly recorded in SJL.

Etienne Lemaire (d. 1817) served as mâitre d’hôtel during TJ’s presidency beginning in the summer of 1801, having previously worked for William Bingham in Philadelphia. Lemaire managed the domestic staff and supervised dining as well as shopping (MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1053–4n; Honoré Julien to TJ, 7 Nov. 1817).

Index Entries

  • Bingham, William search
  • Lemaire, Etienne; identified search
  • Lemaire, Etienne; letters to search
  • Lemaire, Etienne; TJ praises search
  • President’s House; during TJ’s presidency search