Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Dessin, 17 May 1786

To Pierre Dessin

Paris. May 17. 1786.


I am now to return you many thanks for your attention to the several cases I left with you to be expedited to this place. They all came safe to hand. The Acquit à caution for the parcel which I brought myself, is herein inclosed. I should sooner have sent this, but that I awaited the arrival of the second parcel, meaning to return to you both acquits à caution together. But on asking for the second acquit, my servant was told that the company of the Roulage were obliged to see that returned themselves. As it is possible I may at times have packages from England recommended to your care, I will pray your attention to them, assuring you that every thing necessary for your reimbursements or security shall be performed on my part with the greatest punctuality. I am Sir your most obedient humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Monsr. Dessein à Calais.” Enclosure not found, but see Dessin to TJ, 29 Apr. 1786.

In passing through Calais TJ may have felt as did another traveller: “I was full of Sterne, and this was Sterne’s Dessein” (The Life and Times of Frederick Reynolds; Written by Himself [London, 1826], i, 180). There on 28 Apr. TJ had given “the successor of Sterne’s monk at Calais If4”; he had stopped at Dessin’s hostelry made famous by the passages in A Sentimental Journey; and, though the payment may not have been made to Dessin, he had completed the chain of coincidence by paying for “Storage and repairs of Carriage 27f” (Account Book, 28 Apr. 1786; Wilbur L. Cross, ed., A Sentimental Journey Through France & Italy, with Selections from the Journals, Sermons & Correspondence of Laurence Sterne [New York, 1942], p. 36–56).

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