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Stephen Cathalan to Thomas Jefferson, 12 July 1816

From Stephen Cathalan

Marseilles the 12th July 1816

My Dear sir—

I have the honor of Remitting you herein Inclosed the 2ta of my Last Respects of the 19th ulto via Bordeaux, whereof Mr D. Strobel in the absence of Wam Lée Esqr & acting in his Stead as Consul of the U.s. =has acknowledged me Receipt= by his Letter of the 2d Inst =which he was forwarding by the Ship Tontine to Sail for new york with first fair wind;=1

This will Reach you by Capn Isaac Doane of the Brig David Moffit of Philada Ready to Sail from this Port for hyeres near Toulon to take in a Cargo of Salt for Philada;

I Intrusted Said Capn with one Small Box Containing Immortelles, or Eternal Flowers (cassidony) which I have Gathered in the 1st days of this month at my Country Seat, directed to you under Cares & Thro’ the Collector of Philada to whom Said Capn has Promised to deliver it, with my Letter of advice, to him, on his Safe arival.

when this Box will Reach you, I Beg your Leave to offer it to your Grand Daughters, as the only Flowers of my Garden worth to be Sent & offered to them in a Good State at Such a Great distance, tho’ I am as much as Possible Situated at hand, as the U/ States Frigate United states Commodore John Shaw, was anchored Twice at one half Gun Shot, distance where Gathered from the 29th april to the 5th may & from the 22d do to the 29th Last may; & in that Intervall I had the Pleasure of his Company on that mountanious Spot & we Drank together to your Good & Lasting health;—

if Such flowers are Acceptable I Engage myself to Send them Yearly a fresh & even larger Supply, I am not Certain whether Such a plant Grows in virginia, but if next Spring there is here an American vessel Bound for norfolk or alexandria or any Port in the cheasapeack I will Send you Some Plants in vases, also Some Layers or Twigs in a Terrine, hopping that Provided the Capn Takes Care of them in the Passage, they may Succeed & propagate very fast at Monticello with but Little Care, at Least into a Summer house in winter; here tho’ we have in that Season 4 to 6 Degrées of Frost they Succeed very Easily into dry & poor Earth, where they are Cultivated with Great advantage not only as an ornment in our Parterres but Even in Small fields, without being need to water them in the Summer & Dry Season, & Since Peace with England that flower being Purchased at advantageous Prices for the planters & those of my Country Seat are preffered to any others of my neighbourghs, I am Encreasing their Plantation yearly, observing it becomes an yearly Revenue, to me & my Gardner (Joint account) the English and northern Countries purchasing them at Good Prices, I am Glad to Draw a Tribute tho’ Small as it may be from the British, a very Short Compensation indeed for the Losses I have Suffered by them during the war, & for what we have Still to pay to them Since they Returned into France with their allies, to have Let Scape the Destructor of mankind from the Island of Elbe in March 1815; Regretting, no Doubt, their pretended2 Generosity by the Treaty of 1814—being moved by Self Interest & Machiavelism,!

how has Behavied their Lord Exmouth, lately, toward the Dey of algiers,! I do not pretend to plead in favour of their chief of Pirates, but why before entering into further negotiations with him, why he did not fullfill the Payment of the napolitan Captives &a he had Redeemed by a Treaty, Shamefull perhaps for his honor & of his nation, the God neptun;—it was Reserved to the united States to Shew to all Europe & christian Powers, how to treat with Success with the Powers of Barbary, but when,? when the treaties were Brocken or unexecuted by Such powers, but not by a foolish or sottish & Matchiavelick agression, as he has done;—

we will Soon See if the Result of their chalenge under Command of their Same admiral with Great forces, will be So Prompt & Successfull as the one of Commodore Ducatur ariving last year with only one Division of the u. states Frigates, without waiting for Superior forces with or by the 2d Division under Commodore Bainbridge; as I have not yet any official account from our Consl Gal &a at algiers,3 this is Confidentialy hazarded on the Reports direct or the British news Papers.

but what digression from my 1st topic, the Immortelles Flowers! which made me forget, that of the 1st ones I Gathered in the year 1804 I made a garland over the Bust in Marble of the Immortal Gen. Washington your Predecessor President, which I Possess, & this Garland is as yet as Fresh as if it was of this Season.

Pray, how has Succeeded the Plantation of olive Trées in south Carolina?

I hope now to Receive soon, & probably by our Ministers Messrs Galatin or Pinkney, a Letter from you, acknowledging the Receipt of my 1st Invoice;—

I hope also to be honored with a Letter from the Secretary of State, in answer to my claims, also the acts of Congress Respecting Consuls &a which may have been issued & not Received Since the term of your Presidency Expired.

as to the 2d Bel of wine of Roussillon I Just Receivd, at Last, a Letter from Mr Durand of Perpignan in answer to mine of the 2d June, Informing me that he is on the eve of Sending it to me, by the 1st opportunity and of the Same qty of the 1st Bel; his Letter is of the 9th Inst & I had wrote him again on that Same Day, to Recall this object to his memory;

I Received by this Same mail a Letter from henry Jackson Esqr our chargé d’affairs at Paris of the 6th Inst =Informing me of Mr Gallatin’s arival at havre on the 3d Inst in the Peacock Sloop of war, to be at Paris on the 9 or 10th Inst, he had not yet forwarded to him the Letters & packets for him, he has therefore as yet no Information to Communicate=

begging you to Excuse my Prolixity, bad Hand & Tedious Style I apprehending to have abused in this, of the Friendship you are So kind as to honor me with.

I remain with Great Respect & veneration my Dear sir your most obedt & Devoted Servant

Stephen Cathalan.

RC (MHi); at foot of first page: “Thos Jefferson Esqr Va Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Oct. 1816 and so recorded in SJL.

cassidony is Lavandula Stœchas, commonly called French lavender (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ). John Steele was the United States customs collector at Philadelphia. The escape of Napoleon (the destructor of mankind) from the island of elbe (Elba) in February 1815 overturned the 30 May 1814 peace treaty of Paris (Clive Parry, ed., The Consolidated Treaty Series [1969–81], 63:172–96).

In the spring of 1816 Edward Pellew, first Viscount exmouth, concluded treaties with the Barbary States of Tunis and Tripoli to end the enslavement there of captured Christian sailors and fishermen. He failed to reach a similar agreement with Omar bin Muhammad, dey of Algiers, and shortly after the departure of the British fleet Algerian troops killed about two hundred fishermen on the Barbary coast. Exmouth was then sent back to Algiers to retaliate, after which he obtained an agreement with the dey (ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ; Robert L. Playfair, The Scourge of Christendom: Annals of British Relations with Algiers prior to the French Conquest [1884], 251; John Murray [firm], A Handbook for Travellers in Algeria [1873], 24; C. Northcote Parkinson, Edward Pellew [1934], 424–69).

Commodore Stephen Decatur (ducatur) successfully negotiated treaties for the United States with all three Barbary powers in the summer of 1815 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and other International Acts of the United States of America, 1931–48, 8 vols. description ends , 2:585–94). William Shaler was the consul general (consl gal) of the United States at Algiers (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:20, 21 [8, 9 Jan. 1816]). Beginning in 1788 and continuing early into the 1790s, TJ helped procure olive trees for cultivation in South Carolina. In 1800 he included this activity in his “Summary of Public Service” (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 39 vols. description ends , esp. 13:180–1, 20:333, 32:122–5). James Monroe was the current secretary of state.

1Closing guillemet editorially moved from left margin.

2Word interlined.

3Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Algiers; 1815U.S. treaty with search
  • Algiers; conflict with Great Britain search
  • Algiers; dey of search
  • Algiers; U.S. consulate at search
  • Bainbridge, William search
  • Bordeaux; U.S. consul at search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); and cultivation of lavender search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); and wine for TJ search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); as commercial agent in Marseille search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); consular expenses search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); economic hardships of search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); letters from search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); sends flowers to TJ search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); visitors to search
  • David Moffit (brig) search
  • Decatur, Stephen; American naval commander search
  • Decatur, Stephen; negotiates treaties search
  • Doane, Isaac (ship captain) search
  • Durand, François; and wine for TJ search
  • Exmouth, Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount of; and dey of Algiers search
  • flowers; commercial market for search
  • flowers; sent to TJ search
  • food; salt search
  • France; and Great Britain search
  • France; commerce of search
  • France; wines from search
  • Gallatin, Albert; as minister plenipotentiary to France search
  • Great Britain; and France search
  • Great Britain; conflict with Algiers search
  • Jackson, Henry (1778–1840); as chargé d’affaires in Paris search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; orders wine from S. Cathalan search
  • lavender; alternative names for search
  • lavender; grown in France search
  • lavender; qualities of search
  • lavender; sent by S. Cathalan search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); consul at Bordeaux search
  • Marseille; visitors to search
  • Monroe, James; as secretary of state search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; criticized search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; returns to power search
  • Neptune (Roman god) search
  • olives; trees search
  • Omar bin Muhammad, dey of Algiers search
  • Peacock (sloop of war) search
  • Pinkney, William; as minister plenipotentiary to Russia and Naples search
  • plants; cultivated in France search
  • plants; sent to TJ search
  • Roussillon, France; wine from search
  • salt; imported search
  • Shaler, William; as consul general at Algiers search
  • Shaw, John (1773–1823); commands American squadron in Mediterranean search
  • South Carolina; olive trees cultivated in search
  • Steele, John; as collector at Philadelphia search
  • Strobel, Daniel; as acting consul at Bordeaux search
  • Tontine (ship) search
  • trees; olive search
  • United States, USS (frigate) search
  • United States; and Algiers search
  • Washington, George; as object of idolatry search
  • wine; French search
  • wine; of Roussillon search
  • wine; TJ orders from S. Cathalan search