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Levett Harris to Thomas Jefferson, 13 June 1810

From Levett Harris

St Petersburg 1/13 June: 1810

Dear Sir!

I received from the hands of Mr John Smith the letter of recommendation You wrote me in his favor, and I have made it a particular duty to shew this amiable Young Gentleman all the attentions & procure for him all the satisfaction to which he has such distinguished claims. he is now upon the moment of his departure for Moscow where he contemplates spending a part of the Summer. Mr Smith will carry letters from the Chancellor Count Romanzoff, and your old friend & acquaintance Prince Adam Czartoryski, to both of which great men I have particularly introduced him.

The present moment is not the most fortunate perhaps, that might have been chosen for Mr Smith’s tour through Europe. this is now almost the only Country in which we are respected, & here, I trust, all shall meet with no diminution of that regard with which the Emperor Alexander constantly distinguishes us. I told his Majesty in person that I had received a letter from Mr Jefferson recommending Mr Smith, and ’twas with great pleasure that I saw at a ball given the other evening at the French Ambassador’s, in honor of the nuptials of his Sovereign, at which the whole Imperiall family attended, the Emperor engage Mr smith in a conversation of some minutes. his Majesty has since stopped & conversed with him twice on the Court Promenade.

I regret that instead of being attached to the Legation Mr Smith did not personate simply the Son of General Smith & that he was not recommended in a military character; Such would have enabled him to receive Similar attentions to those shewn to Mr Poinsett from So Carolina recommended to me by Mr Madison, & whom I thus introduced at Court. Gentlemen of subordinate grades in diplomatic life, You know Sir, must respect a distinction made between them and their chiefs in the attentions shewn at and near Courts, but when independent, in the form I allude, and recommended as is Mr Smith their Situation is even more eligible than that of a Minister Plenipotentiary, at least Such is the case here. I transmit You herewith a work, with some other remarks & a copy of a letter which accompanied them, sent me by Mr Adelung whom I had Occasion to mention to you in a former letter, and I beg leave to recommend this very enlightened man to your notice. I likewise add a packet from Count John Potocky containing the commencement of a new & very interesting work he is now occupied with. This Gentleman I have also had the honor to name to You, of his rank & celebrity You are well known. I informed Count Potocky that the former copies of his Works which I sent you could not fail to have given to You great satisfaction. and I should feel much obliged by your Confirming this in the next letter You honor me with. Count P. will receive Such communication from me, I can assure You with great pleasure.

I continue to receive at the hands of many of the most distinguished men here great notice & attention and with giving the Head of the Empire his proper place tis with delight I add that You Sir, are often the Subject of our interesting conversations.

I remain with the highest Consideration and respect

Dear Sir, Your most obedient & humble servant

Levett Harris.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Esquire Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Sept. 1810 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Johann Severin Vater to TJ, 4 Nov. 1809, and enclosure. (2) Friedrich Adelung to Harris, Gatchina, Russia, 18 Nov. 1809, observing that “Mr le Professeur Vater a Königsberg, un des savans les plus distingués de l’Allemagne, qui s’occupe particulièrement de recherches sur les langues et l’origine des nations, vient de publier un ouvrage très interessant sur celles des peuples de l’Amerique. Desirant de sousmettre le resultat de ses travaux au jugement de Mr l’Ex Président Jefferson, il m’en a remis un exemplaire en me priant de le faire parvenir en Amerique. Permettez donc, Monsieur, que j’aie recours à votre bonté et vous recommande le paquet ci-joint pour être expedié par la première occasion. J’y ajoute encore la critique très curieuse que le même savant a fait de l’ouvrage de votre Mr Barton en vous priant de la faire également parvenir a Mr Jefferson” (“Professor Vater from Königsberg, one of Germany’s most distinguished scholars, whose particular research concerns languages and the origin of nations, has just published a very interesting book on the languages and peoples of America. Wishing to submit his findings to the good judgment of ex-president Jefferson, he gave me a copy of his work with the fervent request that I have it sent to America. So please allow me, Sir, to have recourse to your kindness and to recommend the enclosed package to your attention for shipment at the first opportunity. I also enclose a very inquisitive critique that the same scholar wrote of your Mr. Barton’s book, asking you to please have it delivered to Mr. Jefferson”); regretting that his duties to the grand dukes keep him in Gatchina and thus unable to present this request in person; and offering to assist the American Philosophical Society in literary relations or as a correspondent charged with executing any of its orders concerning Russia and Germany (Tr in DLC; at foot of first page: “Mr Levett Harris Consul General des Etats Unis d’Amérique”; translation by Dr. Roland H. Simon). (3) Possibly the opening pages of Jean Potocki, Principes de Chronologie, pour les Temps Antérieurs aux Olympiades (Saint Petersburg, 1810; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4). Enclosed in William Lee to TJ, 8 Aug. 1810, and George Jefferson to TJ, 14 Sept. 1810.

Index Entries

  • Adelung, Friedrich; introduced to TJ search
  • Adelung, Friedrich; offers to assist American Philosophical Society search
  • Alexander I, emperor of Russia; and J. S. Smith search
  • Alexander I, emperor of Russia; TJ’s relationship with search
  • American Philosophical Society; Adelung offers to assist search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; J. S. Vater criticizes work of search
  • books; sent by L. Harris search
  • Caulaincourt, Armand search
  • Czartoryski, Adam search
  • Harris, Levett; and F. Adelung search
  • Harris, Levett; attentions to J. S. Smith search
  • Harris, Levett; letters from search
  • Madison, James; recommendations by search
  • marriage; of Napoleon search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; marriage of search
  • Poinsett, Joel Roberts search
  • Potocki, Jean; Principes de Chronologie, pour les Temps Antérieurs aux Olympiades search
  • Potocki, Jean; writings of search
  • Principes de Chronologie, pour les Temps Antérieurs aux Olympiades (J. Potocki) search
  • Romanzoff, Nicolas de; Russian foreign minister search
  • Smith, John Spear; as secretary of legation to Russia search
  • Smith, Samuel (of Maryland); mentioned search
  • Untersuchungen über Amerika’s Bevölkerung aus dem alten Kontinente (Vater) search
  • Vater, Johann Severin; Untersuchungen über Amerika’s Bevölkerung aus dem alten Kontinente search