Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Sir John Sinclair, [24 April 1786]

From Sir John Sinclair

Whitehall Monday [24 Apr. 1786]

Sir John Sinclair presents his best Compliments to Mr. Jefferson. Sends the tract he mentioned, and as it is the first that ever was published asserting the propriety of a general colonial emancipation, he also sends 3 or 4 Copies, which Mr. Jefferson may transmit to his friend’s in America. Perhaps No. 10 of the inclosed catalogue, may be worthy Mr. Jefferson’s attention. In case he has not the pleasure of meeting again with Mr. Jefferson in England, he begs to express his best wishes for his health and happiness.

RC (DLC); without date, which has been supplied from internal evidence; endorsed. This is the last letter noted in SJL as received “while in London.” Enclosures: (1) The “tract … asserting the propriety of a general colonial emancipation” has not been identified; (2) “A Catalogue of Books, Books of Prints, Drawings, &c. Upon Sale … By William Collins, Bookseller,” item 10 of which describes a collection of 150 drawings, formerly belonging to Lord Loudoun when commander-in-chief in America, consisting of surveys of provinces, lakes, and rivers, surveys of cities, &c. (DLC: TJ Papers, 27:4579).

See note to TJ to R. H. Lee, 22 Apr. 1786. In later years Sir John Sinclair remarked: “Mr. Jefferson was undoubtedly one of the ablest men that America has produced… . He was appointed ambassador from America to France, and I had first the pleasure of being introduced to him at the table of the Marquis de la Fayette, with whom I had become acquainted in consequence of an introduction from the celebrated Mirabeau. Mr. Jefferson afterwards came to England, where I endeavoured to shew him every attention in my power” (Sir John Sinclair, Correspondence, London, 1831, ii, 39). Sinclair must have been mistaken about Mirabeau’s introduction leading to his meeting with TJ at Lafayette’s. That letter was dated in Nov. 1786, whereas Sinclair had spent six weeks in Paris in Dec. 1785 and Jan. 1786, where he met Necker, Stael de Holstein, Buffon, Count de Sarsfield, and others. Through such connections it is quite possible, as Sinclair says, that he met TJ before the latter came to England (same, p. 85–95, 119–21).

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