Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 28 March 1786

To William Short

London Mar. 28. 1786.

Dear Sir

I have duly received your favor (of no date, but I suppose by the company it was in that it was about the 17th.) and thank you for the intelligence it contains, and particularly that of my daughter’s health. Colo. Humphrey’s letter came to hand at the same time. Ere this I hope he has received mine inclosing one to Mr. Jay which I sent by the first post after my arrival here. We had a cold journey to Calais, but made it in less time than we expected, having lodged at Breteuil and Montreuil. We were detained at Calais a day and a half, and then had a passage of nine hours and a half; so that on the whole we were six days getting here. I have lost a great deal of time in ceremony, returning visits &c. so that I have done and seen less than I ought, and probably this will be the fate of the few remaining days. We have news from America as late as Feb. 3. The assembly of Virginia had risen. They have past a good many of the laws of the revisal as I see by their titles. Among these are that on descents, and on religion but with what alterations I have not heard. They have imposed a duty of 5/a ton on British vessels, instead of ⅓ paid by other nations. I do not recollect whether they had before imposed higher duties on British goods. I wish you could have an opportunity of informing Mr. Creve-coeur or the Abbé Morellet that I despair almost of having a map ready in time, as the engraving cannot be completed before the last of May. I do not know whether it will not be better for me on my return to sketch a slight one, which may be engraved in Paris in a very little time. I shall leave this place on the 5th. of April, I think without fail, and shall return by the direct road from Calais to Paris, so that I shall probably be there on the 9th. I am afraid Colo. Humphreys will have left it before that time. Be so good as to present my esteem to him affectionately, with my wishes for a favourable passage. To the Marquis fayette also my best respects and to yourself assurances of the sincere esteem with which I am Dear Sir Your friend…Servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViW); endorsed. Not recorded in SJL.

I have lost a great deal of time in ceremony: the following undated list (DLC: TJ Papers, 233: 41616), entirely in TJ’s hand, was doubtless prepared at this time and indicates the extent of TJ’s social and ceremonial obligations when in London:

  • “✓ M. Carmarthen*
  • ✓ Le comte d’Adhemar.
  • ✓ Le comte Woronzow. Russia.
     Harley street
  • ✓ Le comte Soderini. Venice.
  • ✓ Le Comte de Haslang. Bavaria.
  • ✓ Le Comte Lucchese. Naples.
     Portman sq. No. 5.
  • ✓ Monsr. d’Agens. Genoa.
  • ✓ Le Comte de Bruhl. Saxony.
     Dover str.
  • ✓ Baron Nolcken. Sweden.
  • ✓ Mme. la Baronne Nolcken
  • ✓ Le Comte de Kageneck. Vienna.
    Le Chevalr. de Pinto. Portugal.*
  • ✓ Mr. de Bukaty. Pologne [Poland].
  • ✓ le Baron de Kutzleben. Hesse-cassell
  • ✓ Le Comte de Lusi. Prussia.
  • ✓ Le Chevalr. de Pollon. Sardinia.
  • ✓ Tripolitan
  • ✓ Sr. John Sinclair. Whitehall.*
  • ✓ Mr. Brand Hollis. Chesterfd. str.*
  • ✓ Sr. James Riddell. Stratford place.
  • ✓ Lady Riddell.
  • ✓ M. of Lansdown.*
  • ✓ Mr. Beaufoy. Gr. George str.
  • Mr. Blake. Hereford str.*
  • ✓ Mrs. Randolph. Brompton row.
     No. 12.*
  • ✓ Mr. Penn. Q. Ann. str.
     Cavendish sq.*
  • Majr. Watson. (Johnson booksellr.
     St. P.’s C. yd. 72)*
  • Mr. Paradise. Charles street.
    Cavendish sq.*
  • Jennings.*
  • ✓ Murray. No. 1. Figtree court.
    ✓ Waddington } Chatham place
    ✓ Pierrepoint
  • ✓ Bridgen. Paternoster row.*
  • ✓ B. Vaughan. Jefferies sq.*
  • ✓ W. Vaughan. Mincing lane.*

There is a second, shorter list, also in TJ’s hand (same, p. 41614) which was probably prepared earlier. The names above marked with an asterisk are not on the shorter list. A third list written by TJ and partly illegible (MHi) also includes some of the above names, and, in addition, the following:

“… Trumbull, 8 Duke Str. York

      buildings, Strand

      14 Newman Str.

      Oxford Road

Chevr. Dolomieu street […]

Hamilton 85 Wimpole Str.

     Cavendish sq.

Lyons [James] Colchester str. 21

     Savage gardens… .

Rucker. No. 6 John Street Adelphi.

Chew. 35 Norfolk str. Strand

Bancroft. Villers str. 12

Voss. Titchfield str. Cavendish sq.

        No. 3.

Welch. 14. Finchurst buildings.

    Finchurst str.


Roberts …

Forest …

Lloyd …


Brown. No. 1 Wells street.

     Oxford road […].”

On verso of this memorandum is the following note about TJ’s MAP: “will engrave my map for about 20 or £25 in the very best manner.” Among the events which TJ must have had in mind in calculating time lost … in ceremony was certainly that of his presentation at court, which occurred on 17 Mch. His Account Book for that date shows that he “paid porters at St. James on my being presented 42/.” Nearly half a century afterward the memory of that event, certainly far less civil than that accorded Adams by George III the preceding year, still rankled: “On my presentation as usual to the King and Queen at their levees, it was impossible for anything to be more ungracious than their notice of Mr. Adams and myself. I saw at once that the ulcerations in the narrow mind of that mulish being left nothing to be expected on the subject of my attendance; and on the first conference with the Marquis of Caermarthen, his Minister of foreign affairs, the distance and disinclination which he betrayed in his conversation, the vagueness and evasions of his answers to us, confirmed me in the belief of their aversion to have anything to do with us” (Autobiography, Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, “Letterpress Edition,” N.Y., 1892–1899 description ends i, 89). News from America as late as Feb. 3.: This news was evidently contained in a letter to Adams, not to TJ, for on 5 May 1786, TJ wrote Carmichael: “I have no letters from America of later date than the new year. Mr. Adams had to the beginning of February.” The information about proceedings of the Virginia legislature, however, was doubtless obtained from newspapers.

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