Thomas Jefferson Papers

Lafayette to Thomas Jefferson, 20 September 1810

From Lafayette

Paris 7ber 20h 1810

My dear friend

This Letter will Be Carried by Gal Armstrong which makes it Superfluous for me to Give political intelligences— You will Have Heard of the Repeal of the milan and Berlin decrees to take place the 1st November—there Have Since Been Some Communications more Secret, Some of them verbal, from which we may Hope for a Restoration of the Confiscated property, short of the Enormous duties, which Brings it to above the prime Cost, as Soon as the Cause of pretended Reprisals is Removed—in fact, this Government Now moves on the Better Road while Britain keeps to the Bad one— The Execution of the Nonintercourse Engagement provided for this Case is Here much depended upon—I Hope it will prove Encouraging— in the mean while we Have Endeavour’d to Avail ourselves of the Election of Bernadotte to the throne of Sweden—You Remember that in my letter of introduction to You, when He was Going to America, I did justice to His Services in and Remaining Sentiments for the Republican Cause— He Has Ever Since professed to me the Same Respect and Attachement for the United States, and when I found Him Called to be a northern1 king I did, with the Advice of Gal Armstrong, Claim the Exertion of those Sentiments—His Good will is Secured—How far it may Be Efficacious in Conversations Here, and through His power there, much depends on the delicacy of His Situation With the Omnipotent Ally—But when the American Government insists On the freedom of Neutral trade in the North, in their Communications At paris, it is Good to think the personal dispositions of the Boreal throne are favorable—His nomination Has Been free and Honorable to Him.

Three vessels are Arrived with public dispatches Since I Could Expect Answers to my long triplicates— I Have not Even Received Yours to a former packet when I took the liberty to inclose a Letter from my friend Tracy, Some observations on Montesquieu, and a Request to Have them translated and printed as the work of an American— two letters from the president 18h and 19h may Anterior to the Reception of my triplicate Have Been Sent By mr david parish who will at the End of the month deliver a part of my locations, But not that of the tract near the City— a letter of Captain fenwick not included in the dispatches Has Been Carefully Brought By lieutenant miller—But owing to a Blunder of which he is innocent it Has Been Sent to the post office under a Bad direction—the post administration are now very kindly Busy to Recover it— m. La Bouchere Has declared no monney Could not2 Be lent to me on American Lands, either in Holland or Great Britain—I Have Some Hopes of mr parish. the Burthen of Ruinous interests is increasing So fast that Something must be done to Avoid Complete [fall?]

I Have very Eagerly thought of Going over with Gal Armstrong—I would not Have Been deterred By the danger of Capture, tho’ perhaps Greater at this moment, of Rivalship Between3 Both Belligerent, Had it not Been the unanimous Opinion of people knowing well Respective Situations and dispositions, that no precaution or Assurance Could Secure a Return.

I was the other day with our friend Humbolt at mr and mde de tessé’s who are well and desire their best Compliments to You—my Son now Here with Me Requests to Be most Respectfully Remembered—my Affectionate Respects waït on mrs Randolph.

with most Grateful tender Sentiments I am forever Your old friend


RC (DLC); one word illegible; endorsed by TJ as received 29 Nov 1810 and so recorded in SJL.

Jean Baptiste Jules bernadotte was elected crown prince of Sweden on 21 Aug. 1810, turned against Napoleon in 1812, and reigned as King Charles XIV John, 1818–44 (Napoleon, Correspondance, 21:94; Alan Palmer, Bernadotte: Napoleon’s Marshal, Sweden’s King [1990], esp. 172). Lafayette’s letter of introduction to TJ for Bernadotte was dated 31 Mar. 1803 (DLC). Bernadotte’s omnipotent ally was Napoleon. lieutenant miller was probably John Miller, of Maryland (Heitman, U.S. Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 1:711).

1Manuscript: “northen.”

2Thus in manuscript, with “now” probably intended.

3Manuscript: “Betwen.”

Index Entries

  • Armstrong, John; returns to U.S. search
  • Armstrong, John; U.S. minister to France search
  • Berlin and Milan decrees; revocation of search
  • Bernadotte, Jean Baptiste Jules, crown prince of Sweden; and TJ search
  • Bernadotte, Jean Baptiste Jules, crown prince of Sweden; Lafayette on search
  • Commentary and Review of Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws (Destutt de Tracy); preparation of search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; Commentary and Review of Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws search
  • Fenwick, John Roger; and Lafayette’s La. land search
  • Great Britain; Non-Intercourse Act reimposed on search
  • Humboldt, Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander, Baron von; sends greetings to TJ search
  • Labouchere, Peter Caesar search
  • Lafayette, George Washington (Lafayette’s son); sends greetings to TJ search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; land of, in La. search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; letters from search
  • Madison, James; and Lafayette search
  • Miller, John (of Maryland) search
  • Non-Intercourse Act; reimposed on Great Britain search
  • Parish, David; and Lafayette search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings to search
  • Sweden; election of king in search
  • Tessé, Adrienne Catherine de Noailles de; sends greetings to TJ search
  • Tessé, René Mans Froulay, comte de; sends greetings to TJ search