Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Peter Derieux to Thomas Jefferson, 27 July 1813

From Peter Derieux

Richmond 27th July 1813.

Monsieur

J’ai recu la lettre que vous m’avés fait L’honneur de m’ecrire le 23. courant, mais trop tard pour y repondre par Le même courier. Je Suis très reconnaissant Monsieur de linteret que vous voulés bien temoigner au malheur qui vient d’arriver a ma famille par le Depart precipité d’une partie des habitants de Petersburg, qui en consequence de Lalarme generale apres laffaire de Hampton, nous fit perdre touttes les Ecolieres qui Composoient notre academie.

Aussitot la reception de votre lettre je fus voir Mr Gibson au Sujet de Son contenu, il me parut Satisfait de ce que je lui dit, et doit vous ecrire en consequence par ce même courier.

Quoique les informations que j’ai fait pour M’assurer de l’existance de Mr Mazzei, ne Soient que bien naturelles, j’espere, Monsieur que vous voudrés bien les lui laisser ignorer, afin de ne pas lindisposer en lui donnant lieu de croire que j’aurois pu envisager Sa mort, comme un Evenement qui pouvoit me relever et ma famille de lindigence et Lobscurité ou nous sommes reduits.

Veuillés je vous en Supplie, Monsieur nous accorder la continuation de vos bontés et etre persuadé que mes Sentiments de reconnaissance egaleront toujours ceux du plus profond Respect avec lequel j’ai L’honneur d’etre

Monsieur

Votre tres humble et très obeist Serviteur

Peter Derieux

Editors’ Translation

Richmond 27th July 1813.

Sir

I received your letter of the 23d of this month but got it too late to reply by the same post. I am very grateful, Sir, for your kind interest in the misfortune that recently struck my family due to the hasty departure of a portion of Petersburg’s inhabitants and the consequent removal of all the schoolgirls from our academy, which resulted from the panic arising out of the attack on Hampton.

As soon as I received your letter I went to see Mr. Gibson about its contents. He seemed satisfied by what I told him and is, as a result, going to write you by this same post.

Although my desire to learn whether Mr. Mazzei was still alive is quite natural, I hope, Sir, that you will not reveal my inquiries to him, so as not to upset him by letting him believe that I could have considered his death as an event that might have pulled me and my family out of the indigence and obscurity into which we have fallen.

I beseech you, Sir, to continue granting us your kindness and to believe that my feelings of gratitude will always be equal to the profound respect with which I have the honor to be

Sir

Your very humble and very obedient servant

Peter Derieux

RC (DLC); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 4 Aug. 1813 and so recorded in SJL. Translation by Dr. Genevieve Moene.

A British force 2,400 strong landed three miles from hampton on 25 June and, after a brief fight with the state militia, captured the town. It reembarked the following day after having removed all the guns, ammunition, and foodstuffs it could find (Richmond Enquirer, 29 June 1813).

Index Entries

  • Derieux, Peter (Justin Pierre Plumard); and P. Mazzei search
  • Derieux, Peter (Justin Pierre Plumard); financial situation of search
  • Derieux, Peter (Justin Pierre Plumard); letters from search
  • French language; letters in, from; P. Derieux search
  • Gibson, Patrick; and P. Mazzei’s Richmond property search
  • Hampton, Va.; British attack on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and P. Mazzei’s property search
  • Mazzei, Philip; and P. Derieux search
  • Mazzei, Philip; Richmond property of search
  • Petersburg, Va.; schools in search
  • Richmond, Va.; P. Mazzei’s property in search
  • schools and colleges; in Petersburg search
  • Virginia; British attacks on search
  • War of1812; British attack on Hampton, Va. search