Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Jacques Le Maire, 12 May 1781

From Jacques Le Maire

Boston. may the 12th. 1781.

May it please to your Excellency

Having received one of the most violent stroke of Fortune, my affairs have again brought me over here a second time since my departure from Virginia. I flatter myself that after having remembered myself, and presented my respects to your Excellency; you will not think it presumption, should I trouble you with a request to favour the petition I send the honourable Council. The State of Virginia has been pleased to grant me by resolve for that purpose, two thousand acres of land: I could wish that an act might be passed confirming my title, that at my arrival in France, I may forward it to the french Ministry, as an Invincible proof, that I have bore arms, with honour, Satisfaction, and Gallantry, in the American cause: how far it will advantage me will appear from this alone, that the King of France, In testimony of his regard to the American Cause has resolved and promised, that the Services rendered by each French officer, to the American States, shall meet with equal approbation as though they were rendered and done within his own Realms.

I doubt not but the Kindnesses of your Excellency, will favour my wishes, and Soon furnish me with this act. I have no other inducement to Stay in this place, but to have the honour of an answer from your Excellency: when I shall immediately embark for France.

I am With the greatest respect Of your Excellency The most humble Most obedient, and Devoted Servant,

Le Maire

RC (Vi); endorsed.

For Le Maire’s claims see TJ to Benjamin Harrison, 29 Oct. 1779, and references there. Le Maire prepared three documents to the same effect, all dated at Boston on 12 May 1781: (1) the present letter to TJ, which included a copy of the resolution of Council of 9 Nov. 1779 granting Le Maire 2,000 acres of land; (2) another letter to TJ stating the same facts but including the following not in the present letter: “The so many Kindnesses you have often shewn to me, and to every friend of this country, Give me hopes that you are still willing to do the same favours to me, as you did hitherto, in so generous a manner. I have but one request, and this is, to obtain for me, from the honourable Council an act that confirms my title, to the two thousand acres of land they have granted to me, as a Public acknowledgment, of the Services I have rendered to the State … but what is very Grievous to me, is that I have already wrote to his Excellency and to their honours without being answered. I send a new petition again, and a copy of the resolve”; (3) the “new petition,” addressed “To Their honours the honorable Council of Virginia” and repeating in substance the facts set forth in the letters. All three of these documents are in Vi, though why Le Maire should have sent such a repetitive appeal is difficult to explain. Perhaps he intended to substitute the second and third documents for the first, and then through error dispatched all.

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