To Irenée Amelot De Lacroix
Monticello Dec. 31. 11.
A long absence from home has prevented my sooner acknoleging the reciept of your letter of the 10th. I have this day written to the President of the US. on the subject of it. but, Sir, it is important on these occasions to send testimonies of character, which I would advise to obtain from those who not only know you, but are known themselves to the government. these papers come under regular review when the decision is to be made between the candidates. I do not recollect whether you have become formally a citizen, and sincerely wish the same provisions in favor of citizens exclusively which stood in your way in a former law may not find place in those now under consideration. Accept the assurance of my great respect & esteem.
PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “M. Amelot de Lacroix”; endorsed by TJ.
Irenée Amelot De Lacroix, Baron de Vanden Boègard (b. ca. 1775) served under Napoleon in Egypt and at the decisive battles of Marengo and Austerlitz. He aided in a spirited defense of the island of Guadeloupe and served as an aide-de-camp to Gen. Jean Victor Moreau. Lacroix ultimately attained the rank of colonel in the French army. He followed his friend Moreau into exile and was in Boston by 1807, where he became a merchant, published several military treatises, and opened a military school. Lacroix subsequently lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and New York City, and he obtained United States citizenship. He failed in repeated petitions to TJ and others for a military appointment. During the War of 1812 Lacroix apparently received government permission to raise a corps of French volunteers in New York City, but the undertaking failed. In the winter of 1813–14 the United States government briefly detained him after he accepted a major general’s commission from a group of Mexican revolutionaries, releasing him after he agreed to decline the post (Portrait of Colonel I. A. De La Croix, Baron de Vanden Boègard: written by his former Secretary, and Afterwards his Adjutant Major, trans. Maria De Lacroix [Baltimore, 1814]; Lacroix to TJ, 29 Sept. 1807, [ca. 2 Dec. 1807], 12 Mar. 1808, and TJ to Lacroix, 21 Dec. 1807, 3 Feb. 1809 [DLC]; 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., 5:333–5, 388–9, 469; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1163; New York Columbian, 6 July, 30 Oct. 1811, 9 Oct. 1812; Alexander J. Dallas to James Monroe, 10 Jan. 1814 [DNA: RG 59, MLR]; Monroe to Dallas, 15 Jan. 1814 [DNA: RG 59, DL]).
SJL records Lacroix’s letter of the 10th of December, not found, as received from New York on 29 Dec. 1811. TJ enclosed it to James Madison on 31 Dec. 1811. The former law of 12 Apr. 1808 stated that newly commissioned army officers had to be citizens of the United States or one of its territories (“An Act to raise for a limited time an additional military force,” U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States . . . 1789 to March 3, 1845, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:481–3).
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