Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas, 15 July 1815

To Wilson Cary Nicholas

Monticello July 15. 15.

Dear Sir

Your favor of yesterday is this moment recieved and furnishes me matter of real regret: because there is nothing just & honorable which I would not cheerfully do for yourself or any member of your family. but the case in question stands thus. while I lived in Paris, I became acquainted with Thomas Appleton of Boston, then a young man, and recommended him to the old Congress as Consul for Leghorn, & he was appointed. on the commencement of the new government he was confirmed by Genl W. at my request.1 he has been now about 30. years in possession of the office, has conducted himself with integrity & diligence and never done an act to incur blame from the government. under these circumstances it would be immoral in me to sollicit his removal.—I recieved a letter from him some months ago asking my aid to get him removed from Leghorn to Paris. I did nothing in it upon my general principle of declining these sollicitations. I know that Fulwar Skipwith was appointed to Paris, & was preparing to go when the return of Bonaparte suspended it; some former transactions having made it doubtful whether Bonaparte would recieve him &2 whether our government could with propriety propose him. how this has been settled I know not. but in the event of Appleton’s removal to Paris there would be an opening at Leghorn. Appleton is not a man who could be put into comparison with your son on any original competition: but 30. years possession & approbation cannot fail to be a weight in his scale.3 I will chearfully communicate your wishes to the President by our next mail, on the hypothesis that Leghorn may be now vacant; yet I know at the same time that the president’s own dispositions to do any thing in his power which would be agreeable to yourself or your family will render my application merely an evidence of my wishes to be useful to you.4 While you were living in Albemarle you once proposed that a few of us should join in an enterprize to import our own plaister from Halifax, for the very just reason that we might recieve it clear of the exorbitant profits levied on it by the merchant. I should be glad [to]5 be one in such an adventure to the amount of 15. tons. probably yourself, mr Patterson & Genl Cocke might want what would make up a load for a vessel of 60. or 80. tons: and your present situation might enable you to engage some vessel from Halifax to return here with such a cargo on our account. there is living there as a merchant, a brother of Thos E. Randolph. perhaps we might engage his agency in it. or perhaps you could get some merchant in Richmond to transact the business for us on commission for a reasonable per cent. if any arrangement for this object be practicable I shall be glad to be concerned to the extent I have mentioned, and will concur in any advances requisite for it’s execution. Accept the assurance of my constant esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

RC (MHi); endorsed by Nicholas. PoC (DLC); on reused address cover of Thomas Law to TJ, 8 May 1815; torn at seal; at foot of first page: “Governor Nicholas”; endorsed by TJ. Tr (DLC: James Madison Papers); entirely in TJ’s hand; extract in TJ to Madison, 16 July 1815. PoC (DLC).

In a 14 Nov. 1788 letter to John Jay, TJ recommended Thomas Appleton for a United States consulship at Rouen, France, not Leghorn (Livorno), Italy. Appleton was confirmed as consul at Leghorn during the administration of John Adams, not George Washington. He remained in this post until his death in 1840 (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 37 vols. description ends , 14:60; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:260, 5:290 [7, 8 Feb. 1798, 15 June 1840]). fulwar skipwith was nominated as consul at Paris on 2 Mar. 1815 and confirmed the following day (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:626, 627). President Madison advised Wilson Cary Nicholas on 2 Aug. 1815 that Appleton would not be removed from the Leghorn consulship in favor of Robert Carter Nicholas (RC in MHi; endorsed by Wilson Cary Nicholas).

1Sentence interlined. Tr: “on the commencement of the new government he was confirmed by Genl Washington on my recommendation also.”

2Tr here adds “perhaps.”

3In Tr this sentence is positioned above, immediately after “sollicit his removal.”

4Tr begins after dateline and ends here.

5Omitted word editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; presidency of search
  • Appleton, Thomas; consul at Leghorn search
  • Appleton, Thomas; TJ on search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell; and gypsum search
  • gypsum (plaster of paris); TJ orders search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; T. Appleton search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; writing letters of recommendation search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and appointments search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letter from, to W. C. Nicholas search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters of recommendation to search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; returns to power search
  • Nicholas, Robert Carter (ca.1788–1856); seeks consular appointment search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); and gypsum for TJ search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); letters to search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); letter to from J. Madison search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); requests letter of recommendation for R. C. Nicholas search
  • Paris; U.S. consul at search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • Patterson, Mr.; and gypsum search
  • Randolph, Thomas Eston (TJ’s cousin); family of search
  • Skipwith, Fulwar; as consul general at Paris search
  • Washington, George; and appointments search