Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Philip Mazzei, 8 March 1782

From Philip Mazzei

Florence, 8 Mch. 1782. Five months have elapsed since the capitulation of Cornwallis and several vessels have arrived in France which sailed from America after that event; does not complain of being neglected before that time but is “greatly disappointed and mortified” by the present silence. Recapitulates the substance of his earlier dispatches; has received no financial aid; has lived too long on his own credit; his “honour is at stake.” “I only ask for an ostensible letter (conceivd in a manner as to rise no doubts in regard to the possibility of paying the annual interest of the Loan) with which I think that I could be supplied as I have often said, by this sovereign, whose friendship for us is great, and whose partial curiosity I had the mortification never to be able to satisfy with direct american news, which is the first thing he asks every time he sees me. But in case it should be resolved otherwise, I must beg the favor of an immediate remittance, to enable me to discharge with honour my engagements in Europe, and to return to my home.” Encloses “3 of the pieces I have written in Europe concerning our American affairs. They are those which have made the deeper and more general impression in our favour.”

RC (DLC: Mazzei Papers); 4 p.; at head of text: “31 [i.e., dispatch No. 31] 2d. Copy”; in a clerk’s hand, with complimentary close, signature, and “His Eccelly. Ths. Jefferson Govr. of Virginia” in Mazzei’s hand; printed in Marraro, Mazzei description begins Howard R. Marraro, Philip Mazzei: Virginia’s Agent in Europe, New York, 1935 description ends , p. 96–100; Garlick, Mazzei, p. 73–7. The enclosed “pieces” have not been precisely identified but they are probably the same as those mentioned in Mazzei’s letter to Madison, 15 Mch. 1782 (Garlick, Mazzei, p. 79).

On 31 Jan. 1782 Gov. Benjamin Harrison wrote Mazzei: “The Assembly have passed a Resolution directing the Executive to discharge from Office such of their Servants as are not absolutely necessary and to adopt the most rigid Econemy in the disposal of public Monies … in obedience to which order many valuable Officers have been reduced. … You will not therefore I presume take it amiss that you should share in this general regulation, particularly when you reflect that no advantage has hitherto arisen to the State from your appointment nor none likely to arise in future. You will therefore consider yourself as henceforth discharged from the service of the State. I cannot however be the instrument of that recall without returning you the thanks of the Executive for your good intentions towards us.” On 26 Apr. 1782 Mazzei wrote Harrison that he was greatly humiliated by not being informed that a change in the governorship had taken place, and on 6 Sep. 1782 acknowledged Harrison’s letter of 31 Jan. 1782 (Official Letters description begins Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia, ed. H. R. McIlwaine description ends , iii, 142; Marraro, Mazzei description begins Howard R. Marraro, Philip Mazzei: Virginia’s Agent in Europe, New York, 1935 description ends , p. 100, 101).

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