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To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 23 July 1779

From Thomas Jefferson

Williamsburg [Va.] July 23. 1779

Sir,

I take the liberty of begging leave of your Excellency to forward the enclosed by the first flag which may happen to be going into New york.1 They are addressed to [a] good man in distress which I am sure will apologize with you for my asking your intervention. I am with the greatest respect your Excellencys mos. obdt & most hbl. servt

Th: Jefferson

Copy, DLC: Jefferson Papers.

GW replied to Jefferson from West Point on 16 Aug.: “I have received Your Excellency’s obliging Letter of the 23d of July, inclosing one for Mr Battora, which shall be forwarded by the earliest flag. and I shall be happy if it procures him the indulgence which you wish” (Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

A letter from the mercantile firm of Antonio Francesco Salucci & fils to Benjamin Franklin, written at Leghorn, Italy, on 2 July 1779, reported the capture of their ship captain, Joseph Bettoia, who was taken “near the Baye of Cheaspeak on the 20. April Last by two Sloops of War of New York, Where they pretend to have the Ship, and the Cargo confiscated.” To assist his release, Salucci & fils asked Franklin “to have him recomanded expecially in Virginia by Some Person of Authority, Who may help and Secour him” (Franklin Papers, description begins William B. Willcox et al., eds. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. 40 vols. to date. New Haven, 1959–. description ends 30:15). Joseph Bettoia probably was related to Stefano Bettoia, who owned a mercantile firm in Leghorn and was a friend and business associate of Jefferson’s neighbor Philip Mazzei (see Marchione, Mazzei Writings, description begins Margherita Marchione et al., eds. Philip Mazzei: Selected Writings and Correspondence. 3 vols. Prato, Italy, 1983. description ends 3:57). Mazzei reported to Jefferson in a letter written at Paris on 2 March 1780 “that Mr. Bettoia is a bankrupt” (Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 3:305–7).

1At least one enclosure likely was a letter from Jefferson to Joseph Bettoia, which Jefferson described to Mazzei when he wrote from Williamsburg, Va., on 4 April 1780: “Hearing of Mr. Bettoia’s captivity and distress in New York, I wrote to him making a tender of any services I could render him. But I have since heard he had left that place before my letter could have got there” (Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 3:341–43).

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