Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Borgnis Desbordes, Frères, 5 March 1786

To Borgnis Desbordes, Frères

Paris, March 5, 1786

I have endeavored to obtain a final order for the American prisoners at Roscoff. I was promised one for the discharge of their persons… . Having waited two days without receiving it, I am obliged to set out on my journey tomorrow morning. … I therefore leave instructions with Mr. Short, my Secretary here, as soon as the order for the discharge comes here, to forward it to the prisoners under the cover of your address. When they are discharged I will still beg the favor of you to furnish them some little matter of cash to subsist them until they can find some opportunity of departure. I suppose a guinea a piece or some such matter will suffice… . I return you many thanks for your kind services to these distressed people.

MS not available. The text presented here is a composite of two entries in sale catalogues: (1) Swann Auction Galleries, 3 Nov 1949, item no. 64; (2) Ben Bloomfield, List DI-3 [ca. Apr. 1950], item no. 77. There is the following entry in SJL under this date: “Desbordes. To furnish Asquith and companions with about a guinea a peice on their discharge, and take his bill on Grand for it.”

I was promised one for the discharge of their persons: On 24 Feb. Vergennes requested Calonne to intercede for the release of the prisoners; Rayneval also conversed with Calonne on the subject and subsequently informed Vergennes of the agreement to effect the release subject to the conditions named in Rayneval’s letter to TJ, 5 Mch. 1786 (Rayneval’s aide-mémoire, 5 Mch. 1786; Calonne to Vergennes, 15 Mch. 1786; Arch. Aff. Etr., Corr. Pol., E.-U., xxxi; Tr in DLC).

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