Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Philip Mazzei, 6 December 1784

From Philip Mazzei

Williamsburgo 6mo: Xbre 1784

Stimmo: e Carmo: Sigr: mio

Il Sigre: Short Le aveva detto che a quest’ora dovevo esser probabilmente partito per venire in Francia. Varie circostanze, e fra le altre un Bill in Chancery di Madama Petronilla mi ànno trattenuto, e mi tratterranno ancora. Perciò risolvo di mandarle l’inclusa che mi fù confidata sulla speranza che io avrei potuto recapitarla presto a VS. in proprie mani. Le altre 2 le indirizzo a Lei, perchè sono di somma premura, e mi preme che non solo vadano sicure, ma ancora di averne riscontro. E molto tempo che Mr. Blancan e Mr. Texier aspettavano qualche rimessa da me, ed io non sono ancora in stato da poterla fare, onde il recapito sicuro di ambidue impegna la mia delicatezza. La difficoltà per altro è di qui fino in Francia. Arrivate costà, basta che VS. si prenda l’incomodo di metterle alla posta. Presto Le scriverò a lungo, e forse non indugerò più d’una 7mana. Per ora bisogna ch’io faccia punto, pregandola di scusarmi per l’incomodo che Le arreco, e di credermi con tutta la stima, e con i più vivi sentimenti dell’animo, Suo Umilmo: Servo, e Costantissimo Amico,

Filippo Mazzei

RC (DLC); addressed: “Honble: Ths. Jefferson Esqr.” Noted in SJL as received 26 Jan. 1785, where the date is erroneously given as 1 Dec. 1784. The enclosed letter to TJ which had been entrusted to Mazzei for delivery was probably the (missing) letter from Francis Eppes, 16 Sep. 1784, since it is recorded in SJL as received the same day (see TJ to Francis Eppes, 5 Feb. 1785). The editors are indebted to Prof. A. T. MacAllister, Jr., Princeton University, for a transcription of this letter, as well as for a translation on which the summary below is based.

Mr. Short has probably informed TJ that by this time Mazzei expected to have started for France, but various circumstances, including a bill in chancery of Mme. Petronilla (Mazzei’s wife), continue to detain him. In addition to the letter entrusted to him for TJ, Mazzei encloses two of his own to be forwarded; they are urgent and it is important to have a reply, since Mr. Blancan and Mr. Texier have been awaiting remittances from Mazzei for some time which he is not in a position to pay. The difficulty in the delivery of the letters lies between Virginia and France; once received by TJ they can be put in the mail; will write soon. On the matter of the BILL IN CHANCERY Mazzei wrote Short on 8 Dec. 1784: “If, from what you and Mr. Jefferson can learn respecting my manner of living in Europe, and considering the expences during the time of my captivity, the various voyages and many long jorneys, the terms of raising money now and then very disadvantagious, bisides paying interest for several years, and other expences mentioned in my Representation: if, I say, you can from the whole form a conjecture that I may really be out of pocket at the rate of one thousand pounds st. per annum, you and Mr. Jefferson would oblige me much by writing it in a letter to Mr. Edmond Randolph, who has undertaken to defend me against my wife who, among other falsities, has said in her Bill in Chancery, that she brought me a fortune of about £2000. in jouels and other things. I shall probably be in my way to Europe before you can send an answer, but all that is required is that Mr. Randolph may receive it as soon as possible. You would oblige me still more by desiring in my name, the same favor of Mr. John Adam’s, who could form an opinion from what he has seen himself. Present my most affectionate and respectfull compliments to Mr. Jefferson, and please to tell him that the things I have to communicate to him are too many to attempt to do it in writing. I wish that he would send over orders, expressed in clear terms, to prevent poor George being killed by hard labour in his old age. I would think myself guilty of cruel indiscretion, if, considering his noble and most humane feelings, I was silent on that subject” (Mazzei to Short, Williamsburg, 8 Dec. 1784, DLC: Short Papers).

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