From Peter A. Guestier
Baltimore July 12th 1815—
I have in my possession a Small box Containing Seeds directed to you, this box is from france, I would have forwarded it should I not have been afraid of its having miscaried, please to give me your directions about it, and I Shall make it a duty to follow them
Permit me Sir to Subscribe myself with the Greatest Respect
P. A. Guestier
RC (DLC); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 19 July 1815 and so recorded in SJL, which mistakenly describes it as a letter of 5 July 1815. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Obadiah Rich, 23 July 1815, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr late President of the U.S. Monticello”; franked; postmarked Baltimore, 12 July.
Peter August Guestier (1762–1842), merchant, was transacting business in Baltimore by 1795 and resided there from at least 1803. He traded with France and the West Indies and served as an agent for a mercantile firm of his native Bordeaux, perhaps that of Barton et Guestier. A member of the Loge Française l’Aménité, a Philadelphia Masonic lodge, in 1808 Guestier helped oversee a lottery to raise money for the construction of a Masonic hall in Baltimore. In that same year he acquired seeds from European sources for TJ’s personal use. Guestier was a founding director of the Patapsco Insurance Company, 1813–14, and last appeared in a Baltimore directory in 1829 (Paul Butel, Histoire de la Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Bordeaux des Origines a nos Jours [1705–1985] , 151; Federal Intelligencer, and Baltimore Daily Gazette, 16 Dec. 1795; Tableau Des F. F. Composant La T. R. Loge Française l’Aménité, No. 73 [Philadelphia, 1802], 11; Cornelius William Stafford, Baltimore Directory, for 1803 [Baltimore, n.d.], 57; Report of the Committee of Claims, to Whom was Referred, on the Sixth of December Last, The Petition of Peter A. Guestier [Washington, 1806]; Michael Stephen Smith, Emergence of Modern Business Enterprise in France, 1800–1930 , 38; Laws Made and Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Maryland [title varies] [1807–08 sess.]: ch. 67 [20 Jan. 1808]; [1813–14 sess.]: ch. 55 [11 Jan. 1814]; Guestier to TJ, 14 Mar. 1808 [DLC]; 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 , 2:1224; Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser, 10 Dec. 1813; Matchett’s Baltimore Directory Corrected Up To June 1829 , 135).