Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Richard C. Derby to Thomas Jefferson, 23 February 1817

From Richard C. Derby

Washington 23d Februy 1817

Respected Sir

The enclos’d letters were given me by my friends knowing that it was my intention (before Mrs Derbys and my departure for Europe) to visit you at your seat in Virginia. but circumstances preventing I take the liberty to enclose them to you at the same time observing that Mrs Derby and myself should feel doubly delighted should you be inclind to forward us Letters to Boston. Our friends Ticknor and Everett are making great progress in Germany and the President of Cambridge College looks forward with great hopes for their aid and assistance at that seminary. Mrs Peter Cruger informd me that you had given letters occasionally to a Madame Corny, she has given us one, but one from so high a source as yourself will be of more consequence to us.

Should it be your wish I shall feel proud and honourd to execute any orders that you may have for Europe, and united with the taste of Madame Derby, and some of our friends in Paris there is no doubt but that they will be executed as you wish.

Mrs D and myself about 12 years ago spent 3 years in Europe having visited England France Germany Holland Switzerland, & Italy at present it is our intention to visit Scotland Ireland Sweden Denmark, Russia Prussia, Germany (vienna) Switzerland & France

After my return from Europe should God spare my life, I shall then pay you a visit and if I should learn any thing from the Literary or Scientific men in that Country, I shall respected Sir be pleasd to communicate it

I am with profound respect Your obedt Humble St

Richard C Derby

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 27 Feb. 1817 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Samuel L. Mitchill to TJ, 10 Feb. 1817. (2) Richard Rush to TJ, 19 Feb. 1817. (3) José Corrêa da Serra to TJ, 22 Feb. 1817.

Richard Crowninshield Derby (1777–1854) descended from a line of wealthy merchants and shipmasters in Salem, Massachusetts. Following his father’s death the family began to experience a reversal of fortune. In 1817 Derby unsuccessfully sought a diplomatic appointment from James Monroe. At his death he left at least $12,500 to charities in the Boston area (Robert Safford Hale, Genealogy of Descendants of Thomas Hale of Watton, England, and of Newbury, Mass. [1889], 246; MaSaPEM: Derby Family Papers; David L. Ferguson, Cleopatra’s Barge: The Crowninshield Story [1976], 46, 48–9; ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends , 6:465–7 [Elias Hasket Derby]; Derby to Monroe, partially dated 1817 [NN: Monroe Papers, filed at 9 Nov. 1817]; Boston Daily Atlas, 13 Apr. 1854).

John Thornton Kirkland was the president of Harvard University (cambridge college) (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ).

Index Entries

  • Corny, Marguérite Victoire de Palerne de; TJ introduces R. C. Derby and M. C. Derby to search
  • Cruger, Catherine “Kitty” Church search
  • Derby, Martha Coffin (Richard C. Derby’s wife); travels of search
  • Derby, Richard Crowninshield; identified search
  • Derby, Richard Crowninshield; letter from search
  • Derby, Richard Crowninshield; proposed visit to Monticello of search
  • Derby, Richard Crowninshield; travels of search
  • Everett, Edward; travels to Europe search
  • Harvard University; J. T. Kirkland as president of search
  • Kirkland, John Thornton; as president of Harvard University search
  • Ticknor, George; travels of search