Thomas Jefferson Papers

Isaac Doolittle to Thomas Jefferson, 11 September 1813

From Isaac Doolittle

Washington 11th Septr 1813


I have the honor to enclose herewith two letters that I was charged with in France—one of which from the respectable Mr Dupont de Nemours—and which a long detention in England, as a prisoner of War has prevented me from forwarding sooner;

At the same time I take the liberty to request to be informed whether the Eloge Historique de François Péron—which Mr Barnet—American Consul for Havre de Grace addressed to you some time since—came safe to hand—

and remain—Sir,

With the most profound respect your most obedient Servant
I, Doolittle—
of New Haven—

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson late President of the United States Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 17 Sept. 1813 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours to TJ, 10 Feb. 1813. (2) Tadeusz Kosciuszko to TJ, 1 Dec. 1812, noted below at TJ to John Barnes, 18 Sept. 1813.

Isaac Doolittle (1784–1852) was a Connecticut native who was detained in France by 1809 and lived there off and on for more than a decade. During his sojourn in Paris he was befriended by Isaac Cox Barnet, United States minister plenipotentiary Joel Barlow, and Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours. Doolittle lived with Barnet, received instruction in the useful arts from Barlow and, with Du Pont’s assistance, joined the Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale. He left Europe carrying a packet of American consular dispatches in February 1813 and succeeded in concealing and eventually delivering them despite being captured by a British warship and held for more than three months. Doolittle soon returned to Paris and worked for a time as a clerk under Barnet at the United States consulate, but he failed in two attempts to obtain American consulships elsewhere in France. His Manuel de l’ingénieur mécanicien constructeur de machines a vapeur (Paris, 1821) was a translation of Oliver Evans, The Abortion of the Young Steam Engineer’s Guide (Philadelphia, 1805). Shortly after Doolittle’s version came out he moved to New York City, where he helped introduce the art of lithography into the United States. From the end of 1822 to about 1846, he was manager of the Bennington Iron-Works in Vermont, where he also wrote for the American Journal of Science and Arts and obtained at least three patents. Doolittle died in Rochester, New York (William Frederick Doolittle, The Doolittle Family in America [1901–08], 1:303–4; Greville Bathe and Dorothy Bathe, Jacob Perkins: His Inventions, His Times, & His Contemporaries [1943], 139–41; New Haven Connecticut Herald, 15 Aug. 1809; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.  Congress. Ser., 17 vols.  Pres. Ser., 6 vols.  Sec. of State Ser., 8 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 6:6–7, 613; Doolittle to James Monroe, 9 Sept. 1814 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17]; Benjamin Silliman to John Quincy Adams, 30 July 1819 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1817–25]; Edmund Burke, comp., List of Patents for Inventions and Designs, issued by the United States, from 1790 to 1847 [1847], 124, 163, 313; DNA: RG 29, CS, N.Y., Rochester, 1850).

havre de grace: Le Havre, France.

Index Entries

  • Alard, Marie Joseph Louis Jean François Antoine; Éloge historique de François Péron search
  • Barnet, Isaac Cox; sends books to TJ search
  • books; biographical search
  • Doolittle, Isaac; carries letters from Europe search
  • Doolittle, Isaac; identified search
  • Doolittle, Isaac; letters from search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; correspondence search
  • Éloge historique de François Péron (Alard) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search