Thomas Jefferson Papers

Lafayette to Thomas Jefferson, 8 September 1815

From Lafayette

Paris 7ber the 8h 1815

My dear friend

I do not know whether the Bearer of these Lines Has Had the Honour of Your Acquaintance while you were Visiting His family or friends—But I am Sure He Will Meet a kind Welcome at Monticelo and Shall only add the Expression of my Constant and Respectful affection


RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 27 Oct. 1817 and so recorded in SJL; with notation by TJ adjacent to endorsement: “(by Grouchy).” Enclosed in Emmanuel, marquis de Grouchy, to TJ, 20 Oct. 1817.

Emmanuel, marquis de Grouchy (1766–1847), military officer, was a native of Paris. In 1779 he entered the artillery corps and rose steadily in rank. A supporter of the French Revolution, he served under Lafayette in 1792, took part in a failed expedition to Ireland in 1796, fought under Jean Moreau in Italy in 1798, and spent a year as a prisoner of war. Grouchy served under Napoleon in numerous campaigns, and after the emperor returned from exile in March 1815, he rewarded Grouchy’s loyalty by promoting him to marshal. Napoleon and others blamed him for the French defeat at Waterloo, because he neither marched his detached column to the sound of the guns nor prevented his Prussian adversaries from reinforcing their British allies. Following the restoration of Louis XVIII, Grouchy went into exile in the United States. Spending his time in various American cities, in 1816 he met TJ’s granddaughter Ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge) in Washington, D.C., and he lived in Philadelphia for several years. Grouchy was associated with the attempt of French emigrants to establish the Vine and Olive Colony in what is now Alabama, but he never settled there himself. In 1820 he returned to Europe, and a royal decree ended his exile from France the following year. Eventually Grouchy recovered his estates and army rank. For the remainder of his life he defended his role at Waterloo, ultimately writing several works on the subject (Connelly, Napoleonic France description begins Owen Connelly and others, eds., Historical Dictionary of Napoleonic France, 1799–1815, 1985 description ends , 228–9; Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale description begins J. C. F. Hoefer, Nouvelle biographie générale depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu’a nos jours, 1852–83, 46 vols. description ends , 21:221–9; Philadelphia Weekly Aurora, 5 Sept. 1815; Ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge) to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 17 Feb. [1816] [ViU: Coolidge Correspondence]; Rafe Blaufarb, Bonapartists in the Borderlands: French Exiles and Refugees on the Gulf Coast, 1815–1835 [2005]; ASP, Public Lands, 4:149, 151; John A. Paxton, The Philadelphia Directory and Register, for 1818 [Philadelphia, 1818]; Paxton, The Philadelphia Directory and Register, for 1819 [Philadelphia, 1819]; Philadelphia Franklin Gazette, 9 Aug. 1820; gravestone inscription in Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris).

TJ met several members of Grouchy’s family in France, including his sister and brother-in-law, Sophie and Nicolas de Condorcet, and his brother-in-law Pierre Jean Georges Cabanis (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 38 vols. description ends , 22:98–9, 24:xliii, 34:441–2n, 38:524–5; George Ripley and Charles A. Dana, eds., The New American Cyclopædia [1858], 4:179).

Index Entries

  • Cabanis, Pierre Jean Georges; TJ’s acquaintance with search
  • Condorcet, Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de; TJ’s acquaintance with search
  • Condorcet, Marie Louise Sophie de Grouchy, marquise de; TJ’s acquaintance with search
  • Grouchy, Emmanuel, marquis de; identified search
  • Grouchy, Emmanuel, marquis de; introduced by Lafayette search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; introduces E. Grouchy search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; letters from search