James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Mark Lynch, 15 February 1783

From Mark Lynch

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Addressed to “Honble. James Maddison Esqr Virginia.”

Nantes 15. february 1783


I had the honor to write you the 20. January 1781 under the Sanction of our mutual friend Philip Mazzei Esqr.1 and to make you a tender of my best Service here. I have not Since been favord with any of yours. As we are now thank God Blessed with the return of a happy & general peace, and that by it we Shall have in future an open & free trade between America & this Country,2 it is in Consequence that I take the liberty of reiterating to you my offers of Service, for the Execution of whatever commands you may happen to have this way. if a Sincere resolution to fulfill them with equal punctuality & integrity, be a Sufficient title to deserve the prefference of your Business, I beg leave to assure you that no one has a better right to put in for it. I Sincerely wish for frequent occasions to Convince you thereof.

Tobacco, which before the peace, sold here to good advantage, is at present without any Current price. this article must now nec[e]ssarily look down a good deal in Europe.3 But you may depend it will at all times Sell at least as well here, as at any other Market of this Kingdome, or perhaps of Europe, and the order that prevails in the Commerce of this place, makes it known to be one of the Safest in Europe for the Solidity of the Buyers.4 Besides, every article necessary in America, can be procured & Shipped here on reasonable terms, which I dare Say you will Experience here after. In Expectation of being favord with your Commands, I have the honor to remain very Respectfully

Sir, Your most Obt. humble Servt.

M: Lynch


Mr. Mazzei is now at Paris, and intends coming here in the next or following month to Embark for America.5

1Mark Lynch, a merchant of Nantes, had forwarded letters and loaned money to Philip Mazzei, commercial agent of Virginia in Tuscany from 8 January 1778 until 30 November 1782. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 216, and n. 11; IV, 100, n. 21. Lynch’s earlier letter to JM has not been found.

2Lynch reflected in this statement his knowledge of the signing of preliminary articles of peace on 20 January 1783 by Great Britain, France, and Spain, of an armistice concluded between Great Britain and the United States on that day, and of the “open & free trade” provisions of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between France and the United States (Wharton, Revol. Dipl. Corr description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends ., VII, 226–27; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XI, 419–44).

3Lynch professed to foresee that tobacco, piled high in Virginia warehouses, would glut the postwar market in Europe and hence sell at a low price. His prediction was to prove erroneous.

4Lynch perhaps liked to believe that the mercantile firms of Nantes had gained “Solidity” by the recent elimination through bankruptcy of their competitor, Penet, d’Acosta Frères et Cie (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 195, n. 1; 344, n. 10; Livingston to Delegates, 15 Mar. 1783, and n. 1). He would be disappointed in his expectation of French ports becoming important markets for Virginia’s exports (Alan Schaffer, “Virginia’s ‘Critical Period,’” in Darrett B. Rutman, ed., The Old Dominion: Essays for Thomas Perkins Abernethy [Charlottesville, 1964], pp. 152–70, and esp. pp. 158–61, 164–68).

5Mazzei disembarked at Hampton, Va., on 23 November 1783 (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (18 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , VI, 318 n.).

Index Entries