Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to George P. Stevenson, 9 May 1815

To George P. Stevenson

Monticello May 9. 15.

Dear Sir

I thank you for the information contained in your lette[r] of Apr. 28. and in the paper accompanying it. that the whole army would join Bonaparte whenever he [c]ould1 safely enter France, I never doubted; but I had not expected the people would have done so. the cause of this however is to be found in the return of the antient nobility to their former possessions, and reclamation of them and their antient rights. the people saw in Bonaparte their only protection against their former Seigneurs, and hailed him as their guardian angel. like most other worldly dispensations this is mixed of good and evil. I participate in the general satisfaction on two grounds. 1. the restoration of the Bourbons, after that of the Stuarts, would have produced a general belief and despair of the possibility of changing their antient dynasties. 2. I rejoice at seeing the cowhide once more brandished over the back of great Britain, and a barrier at length presented to her power. but these views of the subject have their counterpoise. if war arises in Europe, we shall certainly feel it’s harrasments on the ocean, & possibly be involved in it. if peace continues, our commercial intercourse with France will be subject to the unfriendly and ignorant caprices of Bonaparte, instead of the antient regulations of the Bourbons which were tolerably favorable. add to this the doubt whether the people of France will gain by the exchange of their former government which had known limits to it’s power, for a military despotism. but hope is always more comfortable than fear. let us therefore hope. your mother and friends in this quarter are well. accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jeffer[so]n

PoC (DLC); edge trimmed; signature faint; at foot of text: “George Stevenson esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

1Word partially illegible.

Index Entries

  • Carr, Hetty Smith Stevenson (Peter Carr’s wife); health of search
  • France; and Great Britain search
  • France; and U.S. search
  • France; Bourbon dynasty restored search
  • France; TJ on search
  • Great Britain; and France search
  • Great Britain; Stuart dynasty of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; European affairs search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; France search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Napoleon search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; tyranny abroad search
  • Louis XVIII, king of France; restoration of search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; returns to power search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; TJ on search
  • Stevenson, George Pitt; family of search
  • Stevenson, George Pitt; letters to search
  • United States; and France search