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John Barnes to Thomas Jefferson, 25 May 1815

From John Barnes

George Town. 25th May 1815.

Dear Sir—

Since my last respects of the 25th Ulto I am Honor’d by your two favrs of the 7th and 12th Inst. Anxiously—wishing to furnish the good Genl K. with a Remittance,—and finding the market advancing in the ex for Bills on London and France, I determined instantly—without waiting the Return of your post and concluded the purchase of £400. Sterg ex a 2½ Ct above par is $1822.22, of Messr Bowie & Kurtz—on Mr Wm Murdock London—very fortunately—there were of theirs, at Alexandria two Vessels loaded & ready for sea. I therefore lost no time in inclosing a Sett by each to Messrs Baring and Brothers—with particular request to do the Needfull, for the Use and Accot of Genl Kosciusko at Paris, and Messrs B & K. took charge of them—and doubt not,1 they are ere this in the hands of Messr Barings—

I also advised the Genl—and herewith inclose you Copy.—as well my 3 several statemts of his Accot now depending with me—which at your leisure I pray you to examine, and if incorrect, to advise for my Govermt

I do not wonder at the Genls impatience for the want of resourses, but—when the very & most extra Occurances that has of late transpired—on a Cool dispassionate Review—Will I doubt not suffer his funds to remain with you—

Exclusive of these impediments (and presuming the Genl possessed of the whole of them in France)—I should be Apprehensive—Thro the Various Unforeseen Events that may possibly—happen—and is yet to be dreaded.—they would be less—productive—and probably broke in Upon;— This Counter Revolution—so unlooked for—has placed the Contest on the very same ground of the first:—but with many weighty Circumstances in Bona’s favor—As the Acknowledged Sovereign2 by each of the Contending Powers—And who can pretend to say—that Bona. is not deserving of a Crown?—in Preferance to most of his Mercenary and Rapacious Enemies.—Neither is it possible to conceive, from what has happened that France can ever be Governed by any Other so long as Bona. is in existance—or by some Other of like—Qualifications—for the very Opposition which has hitherto been made has been the Principle cause of his Advancemt to his present greatness—to Continue the Contest; After what has resently transpired—would be National Suicide Brutal, and inhuman,—to Compromise and Spare The Blood of Millions of Innocent individuals, who has no Other Interest to contend for, but to defend themselves & helpless families—would be the height of Beneficence and Godlike Attribute!—

but such are not likely to be the effects—to be produced from the Overbearing Powers,—The Pride—Ambition and dire revange of Emperors Kings, and Sovereign3 Princes—alike subject to the Control of each Other as Occasion Offers—Miserable indeed must be the people—under—whose Control they are Subject,—the Contrast,4 with this Goverment, how instructive—and Happy.—yet not Content,—such is the Unhappy depravity of Mankind generally—he is not [to]5 be Altogether happy—on this Terestrial Globe6 of his Existance—but enough,—We are lost in Conjecture—as to what may be the Event without Star or Compass may not, One or Other of these Adventrous—Sovereigns Prince Regents &c be drifted—by the ebb & flow—of these Political tides, and adverse Winds—to some unknown & desolate Island, Other then Elba!

Excuse this Unavoidable degression—

and Beleive me to be Dear Sir—Your very Obedt servant

John Barnes,

PS. be pleased to transmit one set of the within Statemts to G K—in your next Communication to him

RC (ViU: TJP-ER); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello—Virga”; endorsed by TJ as received 4 June 1815 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Barnes to Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Georgetown, 28 Apr. 1815, acknowledging that he has seen Kosciuszko to TJ, 24 Jan. 1814; noting that on “the 22d June 1814—I inclosed to you thro the hands, of Messr Baring Brothers and Compy—a sett of Exchange, Bowie & Kurtz on Wm Murdock in London for £400. Sterg” to be paid to Kosciuszko in Paris; explaining that he has made a similar “remittance of £400. Sterling exchange at 2½ per Cent above par, the 24th Instant, equal to $1822.22, now risen to 4 Ct and expected still to 7½ per Ct.”; asking for his likeness, which he will keep with others “of my most Valued friends”; and promising to send his accounts, with duplicates to TJ, “at my better leisure” (Tr in ViU: TJP-ER; in Barnes’s hand; at head of text: “Copy”). Other enclosures printed below.

1Word added in margin.

2Manuscript: “Sowereign.”

3Manuscript: “Soverergn.”

4Manuscript: “Contras.”

5Omitted word editorially supplied.

6Manuscript: “Glope.”

Index Entries

  • Baring Brothers & Company (London firm); and remittances to T. Kosciuszko search
  • Barnes, John; and T. Kosciuszko’s American investments search
  • Barnes, John; letters from search
  • Barnes, John; letters from, to T. Kosciuszko search
  • Barnes, John; on Napoleon’s return to power search
  • Bowie & Kurtz (Georgetown firm) search
  • currency; exchange of search
  • France; J. Barnes on search
  • Great Britain; exchange rate in search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and T. Kosciuszko’s American investments search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; and J. Barnes search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; remittances to search
  • London; exchange rate at search
  • Murdock, William; and bills of exchange search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; returns to power search
  • Paris; exchange rate at search