Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Lafayette, [before 8 February 1786]

From Lafayette

Otchikeita is Gone to the abbé, and Kayenlaha will wait for You to Morrow. It is probable Mr. du Crest will be there, Ambassador from the Court of the Palais Royal. Duke d’Harcourt writes me that Eleven Suits him Better than ten. Adieu.

Here is an Application from Horace’s to our Good General

te Belluosus qui Remotis

Obstrepit oceanus Britannis

te non paventis funera galliæ

Compositis venerantur armis.

(Carm. L. IV. od. 14th.)

Here are three Verses made By M. de Marmontel

Arma Capit Vindex, patria incolumi, exuit arma

Nilque ducis retinet, comitum nisi, liber, Amorem

At decus invitum sequitur celebratque latentem.

RC (DLC); unsigned; without indication of addressee or date. Chinard, Lafayette-Jefferson Letters, p. 104, ascribes this letter to Mme. Lafayette and supplies a conjectural date of Aug. 1786; Gottschalk, Lafayette, 1783–89, p. 433–4, correctly ascribes the authorship to Lafayette but retains the date. It is clear, however, that the communication antedates 8 Feb. 1786, for the verses from Horace (Carminum, iv, 14) suggested as appropriate for the pedestal of Houdon’s statue of our good general were quoted in TJ’s letter to Madison of that date (see notes to that letter). This letter is the only one known giving a clue to the name of “the younger Indian in Lafayette’s household” (Gottschalk, Lafayette, 1783–89, p. 433). Otchikeita was Peter Otsiquette, an Oneida youth who came to France in late 1785 or early 1786 and remained about three years; Kayenlaha, an Onondaga boy thirteen years of age at this time, had come over with Lafayette. Gottschalk’s discussion of these two Indians removes much of the confusion concerning their names, ages, and identity (same, p. 433–4)

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