Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Lee to Thomas Jefferson, 8 August 1810

From William Lee

On board the Ship Ann at Sea August the 8th 1810.—


I must beg leave to apologize to you for the state of the packet accompanying this—The boat in which I sent my baggage from St Jean de Luz to the Ship Ann was upset in crossing the Bar of the harbour and my trunks were found full of water—with great care I preserved Genl Armstrongs dispatches and this letter for you which happened luckily to be wrapped up in very thick paper.—

With great respect I have Sir the honor to subscribe myself your obliged & obedient servant

Wm Lee

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Sept. 1810 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Johann Severin Vater to TJ, 4 Nov. 1809. (2) Levett Harris to TJ, 13 June 1810. Enclosed in George Jefferson to TJ, 14 Sept. 1810.

William Lee (1772–1840), merchant and United States commercial agent at Bordeaux, 1801–16, was a native of Nova Scotia who moved to Massachusetts as a young man. During the latter part of the 1790s he traveled widely in Europe and became acquainted with other prominent Americans living abroad, including John Quincy Adams, Joel Barlow, and James Monroe. Lee shipped wine to TJ and James Madison from Bordeaux, served as Barlow’s secretary of legation at Paris, 1811–12, and sent TJ a copy of a book he had written entitled Les États-Unis et l’Angleterre, ou Souvenirs et réflexions d’un citoyen américain (Bordeaux, 1814; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library [1829] description ends , 11 [no. 684]). After briefly serving as an accountant in the War Department, early in 1817 Monroe appointed Lee second auditor in the Treasury Department, in which capacity he served until his removal by Andrew Jackson in 1829. When Lee undertook to bring a group of Swiss stocking weavers to Washington in 1817, TJ negotiated unsuccessfully to attract one of them to Charlottesville (Mary Lee Mann, ed., A Yankee Jeffersonian: Selections from the Diary and Letters of William Lee of Massachusetts [1958]; Monroe to TJ, 23 Mar. 1801 [DLC]; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:402, 405, 3:61, 70, 73, 92, 93, 4:55 [6, 26 Jan. 1802, 16 Dec. 1816, 16, 28 Jan., 6 Mar. 1817, 10 Feb. 1830]; 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 , esp. 2:1341; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 29 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 7 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 2:77, 81, 4:112–3, 342–3, 413–5; Lee to TJ, 20 Dec. 1814, 16 June 1817, 12 Jan. 1818; TJ to Lee, 6 June, 12 Nov. 1817, 8 Jan. 1818; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 23 Mar. 1840).

Index Entries

  • Ann (ship) search
  • Armstrong, John; dispatches mentioned search
  • Lee, William; forwards letters to TJ search
  • Lee, William; identified search
  • Lee, William; letters from search