Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Deborah Stewart, 22 May 1806

Philadelphia May 22d. 1806


In the werck of Gen: Stewarts estate I relied for myself and my children, upon a claim against the French Government, clearly established, in point of proof, and embraced as a fair object of payment, under the Louisiana Treaty. The vouchers and agency to recover the claim, have hitherto been confided to others, who, unfortunately, had either too little time to attend to my business, or too great an interest for themselves in the same fund, to bestow that attention to my claim which it required—Be that as it may, the result is that only a small part has been allowed.

I am informed, however, that there is still an unappropriated surplus of the Lousiana fund, and my friends flatter me with the hope, that a share of the surplus may be secured for my claim (which is not finally rejected) on a proper application to the Government of France I have therefore determined to go myself to France. The expence the trouble, and the many other inconveniences of such a Voyage, I am willing to hazard for the sake of my family; but for my own sake, I am solicitous that it should appear, at least to our countrymen, that I am not without countenance and protection. Will you then sir permit me to ask the honor of a letter from you to Gen. Armstrong, not in a Diplomatic form; but, simply, to say, that you wish me to be recognized by him as an American Lady, who has a claim to enforce, depending, upon its own merits, and which as far, as it has merits, you recommend to his patronage.

I know I take a liberty in addressing you on this subject; but I shall be greatly mistaken indeed if the motive which influences me, and your retrospection of other times, are not sufficient to ensure a pardon. I will not trespass farther on your time than to say that I shall sail in a fortnight, and that if you do not deem it proper to give me a letter to the above mentioned gentleman, that you will honor me with an introduction to any friend of yours in Paris, which will ever be considered as the highest obligation that can be confered on your most obedient servt.

D Stewart.

MHi: Coolidge Collection.

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