Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Jean Guillaume Hyde de Neuville, 31 December 1811

To Jean Guillaume Hyde de Neuville

Monticello Dec. 31. 11.


An absence of 6. weeks from home has prevented my earlier acknolegement of your letter of Nov. 22. I am happy to learn from that that Madame1 d’Houdetot continues in life and health. there was no person in France from whom I recieved more civilities or for whom I entertained higher regard, and it would at all times be pleasing to me to shew my sense of it by services to those for whom she interests herself. your wishes therefore become mine, and I have communicated the case of your friend in a letter to the President. but if you could engage Colo Williams to recommend, it would be more than equal to all other recommendations. whatever he would desire in such a case would be done by the Secretary at war without further enquiry, and I think he would be readily disposed to comply with your wishes. I shall be happy if any aid I can give on this occasion may be useful to your friend or gratifying to yourself, and pray you to accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “M. de Neufville”; endorsed by TJ.

Jean Guillaume Hyde de Neuville (1776–1857), later made a baron, was a French royalist and diplomat. He lived in exile in the United States, 1807–14, but kept informed of European events through his extensive contacts with other Bourbon sympathizers. After returning to France, Hyde de Neuville became a member of the Chamber of Deputies in 1815 and served as ambassador to the United States, 1816–22, and to Portugal, 1823–24. He visited Monticello late in 1818. Hyde de Neuville was again elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1823. He was named Count of Bemposta in 1824 for his role in stopping a coup d’état in Portugal. Four years later Hyde de Neuville became minister of the French navy, retiring after the fall of the Bourbon monarchy in 1830 (DBF description begins Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933– , 19 vols. description ends ; Françoise Watel, Jean-Guillaume Hyde de Neuville (1776–1857) Conspirateur et Diplomate [1997]; Hyde de Neuville to TJ, 22 Dec. 1807 [DLC], 3 Dec. 1818; TJ to James Madison, 31 Oct. 1812).

Hyde de Neuville’s letter to TJ of nov. 22, not found, is recorded in SJL as received from New Brunswick on 22 Dec. 1811. TJ enclosed it to James Madison on 31 Dec. 1811. Hyde de Neuville was seeking an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point for Charles Despinville, the son of his friend and relation Charles, comte d’Espinville. The younger Despinville became a West Point cadet in July 1813, and he later rose from third to first lieutenant as an artillery officer in the United States Army, serving from 1817 to 1830 (Hyde de Neuville to TJ, 19 Oct. 1812; Heitman, U.S. Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 1:369; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:103, 105, 108, 4:91 [18, 19 Dec. 1817, 14 Apr. 1830] ).

1Manuscript: “M.”

Index Entries

  • Despinville, Charles; and West Point appointment search
  • Espinville, Charles, comte d’; seeks West Point appointment for son search
  • Eustis, William; as secretary of war search
  • Houdetot, Elisabeth Françoise Sophie de La Live de Bellegarde, comtesse d’; and military appointment for C. Despinville search
  • Hyde de Neuville, Jean Guillaume; and military appointment for C. Despinville search
  • Hyde de Neuville, Jean Guillaume; identified search
  • Hyde de Neuville, Jean Guillaume; letters from accounted for search
  • Hyde de Neuville, Jean Guillaume; letters to search
  • Madison, James; and appointments search
  • New York (state); U.S. Military Academy (West Point) search
  • United States Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.); appointment to sought search
  • Williams, Jonathan; and recommendation for C. Despinville search