Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, [10] August 1786

To William Stephens Smith

Paris Aug: 9. [i.e., 10] 1786.

Dear Sir

An opportunity will offer by Mr. Bullfinch of acknowleging the receipt of your favours of July 5. and 18. and as I mean by the same hand to write my American letters, the number of these obliges me to abridge with you. I therefore make this previous declaration that there shall be neither prayer nor compliment in this letter, nothing but a simple tho’ sincere proffer of respect to Madame, which I desire to place here that I may not have to repeat it at the end of my letter. The things she desired will be ready to go by Mr. Bullfinch. Petit tells me he has transgressed her orders as to the cambrick by buying at a smaller price a better cambric than he could get at the place she named or any where else at the price desired. I wish he may be right, and that the execution of this commission may encourage her to continue her custom to us. I say, to us, being like other commanders in chief, willing to gobble up the credit due to the actions of my inferior officers.—But I forget myself and am writing about other people’s business, when I had previously determined to write about my own only: to be absolutely selfish.—Imprimis. I have desired Mr. Grand to send me a letter of credit on his correspondent in London for 100. or 120. guineas, which I shall receive to-day and will inclose herein. This will cover your advances for me heretofore, and extend to other objects which I will explain.

Mr. Paradise and Dr. Burney are having a harpsichord made for me at Kirkman’s. I must impose on you the trouble of taking the charge of paying for it and of ordering it’s transportation from Kirkman’s shop to Havre or Rouen to the care of Mr. Limozin at the former place, or Messrs. Garvey at the latter. I could wish the copying press from Woodmason to come at the same time, because I can have them covered by the same Passport, whereas if they come separate, I shall be obliged to sollicit two, and of course to feel disagreeably twice instead of once.

I will beg the favor of you to procure me a pair of Chariot harness, plated, of about 15. guineas price, which you say will get them handsome without being tawdry: also a harness for what is called here a Cabriolet, and we call a chaise or chair. It is for a single horse; and the traces of this must be fixed with spring swivels. I believe that is the name of the irons fixed at the end of the trace in this form like those to a watch-chain. These harness I would have with breast plates, not collars. I have seen here some, the pads and other ornaments of which were somewhat octagonal, as thus and thus and thus &c. What think you of them? They appeared to me handsome, but it is you and not me who are to judge on this occasion. I would be obliged to you to send these by the diligence which comes weekly from London to Paris. They must be directed to me, which will facilitate their entrance at Calais; but I am not sure that it will ensure their coming on to Paris. Perhaps the owner of the diligence can take measures for their coming on to the Douan of Paris from whence I can easily obtain them; or, at the worst, I think that Monsr. Dessin at Calais will have them plumbed and give his acquit à Caution for me, as he did once before. I am not able to tell you from what part of London this Diligence comes; but there is but one there where seats can be taken weekly for Paris.

I send herewith a map, to be engraved by Samuel Neele engraver No. 352. near Exeter change, strand, with whom I spoke on the subject when in London. I shewed him the map, not then quite finished. He told me he would engrave it, in the best manner possible for from 20. to 25. pounds sterling. I must beg the favour of you to engage him to do it. Should he ask a few guineas more, I shall not stand about it. But nothing must be wanting in the execution, as to precision, distinctness, exactness, the form of his letters, and whatever else constitutes the perfection of a map. He told me it would take him six weeks. In fact the plate must be here by the middle of October, at which time the work will appear for which it has been constructed.

Still another commission about maps. Don Lopez, after a long residence in S. America, and infinite pains and expence on it’s topography, made a map of that country, on 12. sheets, with a precision which qualifies it even to direct military operations in that country. The government of Spain at first permitted the map, but the moment they saw one of them come out, they destroyed the plates, seized all of the few copies which had got out and on which they could lay their hands, and issued the severest injunctions to call in the rest and to prevent their going abroad. Some few copies escaped their search. A friend has by good management procured me one, and it is arrived safe through all the searches that travellers are submitted to. Does Mr. Faden know anything of this map? Would he wish to publish it? If he will undertake to publish an accurate copy of it, I will send it to him, asking in return half a dozen copies for Congress, for it’s bureaus, and for myself. I expect the copy I have has cost me from ten to twenty guineas. I have not yet received the account. This is more than half a dozen will be worth when they come to be in possession of the public.

One more request, that you will be so good as to send me copies of the joint letters written by Mr. Adams and myself to Congress while I was in London.

Have I been as good as my word? After the small deviation into which Mrs. Smith led me (for beauty is ever leading us astray) have I written one syllable which has any thing but self in view? That I may not break my promise at last I will conclude here with assurances of the perfect esteem with which I have the honour to be Dear Sir your friend & servt.,

Th: Jefferson

P.S. The engraver must absolutely have always before his eyes Hutchin’s map of the Western country, Schull’s map of Pennsylvania, Fry and Jefferson’s map of Virginia, and Mouzon’s map of N. Carolina. The two former I send herewith for him. The two latter I will be obliged to you to desire Faden to furnish him, which he will place against some of the new maps to be furnished him. The reason why there is an absolute necessity for the engraver to have these maps before him is that in many instances he will not be able to make out the letters of the manuscript map; he must in those cases have recourse to the maps abovementioned which are the basis of the M.S. map.—Send me if you please from Woodmason three reams of copying paper and proportionable supply of ink powder. Let it come with the harpsichord.

PrC (DLC); despite its date, this letter was written on 10 Aug., for the draft sent by Grand and the manuscript map returned by Morellet were both transmitted to TJ on that date. Enclosures: (1) TJ’s manuscript map of the country between Albemarle Sound and Lake Erie (missing). (2) Thomas Hutchins’ Map of the Western Parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina; it is not possible to tell which of several editions of this map TJ sent. (3) Fry and Jefferson’s A Map of the most inhabited part of Virginia; TJ may have sent the 1775 edition by Jefferys, but the edition cannot be identified with certainty.

My inferior officers: There is no mention here of the fact that Col. and Mrs. Smith had evidently desired to obtain the services of one of TJ’s domestics. Three days earlier William Short, writing with TJ’s knowledge and perhaps even at his dictation, had reported to Smith: “Espagnol has entered into Mr. Jefferson’s service as a Valet de chambre; Petit is promoted to the Rank of maitre d’hotel. These changes took place about a month ago in consequence of embezzlements and depredations committed by Monsr. Mark the late Controller of Finances in his Department. Petit’s honesty has long been well known and his abilities which alone were questionable at present stand acknowledged. He would have suited you à merveille; but I do not think that Espagnol, notwithstanding his honesty and his good dispositions are I am sure equal to Petits, would answer your purposes even if the service in which he is at present engaged permitted the subject to be mentioned to him. Mr. Jefferson is of the same opinion or I am sure he would relinquish any right he may have in your favor. I take it however that Espagnol though an excellent Valet de chambre is entirely without experience in the Line in which you would wish him to move. Would you not do better to get a Cook from Paris than a Maitre d’hotel? Determine this matter for yourself; i.e. in concert with her who makes with you but one and the same person, and give me your orders thereon. I will make every exertion Sir to produce for you such a Servant as you should wish—you have only to mark out the qualities that you would chuse in him” (Short to Smith, 6 Aug. 1786; DLC: Short Papers). Marc’s “embezzlements and depredations” seem to have become apparent shortly after TJ’s return from London, for in the Account Book under 2 May 1786 there appeared TJ’s “Analysis of Marc’s Accounts from Mar. 6 to April 23.” which tabulated each item of account week by week for the period during which TJ had been absent; these showed a decline from normal expenditures, but not such as could have been expected under the circumstances (see Accounts, Second Series). TJ had employed Marc on 20 Aug. 1784 as “Valet de Chambre @ 40 Louis a year and he feeds himself”; on 1 Dec. 1784 he increased Marc’s salary from 80 to 100 livres per month, at which figure it remained until 26 June 1786 when Marc was dismissed. Marc evidently had acted as maitre d’hotel almost from the beginning. Espagnol was employed as valet de chambre on 27 June 1786 (same).

Don Lopez, after a long residence in s. america … made a map of that country, on 12. Sheets: The friend who procured a copy for TJ was Carmichael, who had reported on 16 June 1786 that he had sent by Randall “a Map of Mexico which is not to be bought here” because the minister had stopped the sale of it some years earlier. Carmichael’s reference to suppression by the minister seems to fit the circumstances of the map described by TJ in the present letter, as does the timing: Randall had arrived in Paris on 2 July. TJ’s remark about the safe arrival of the map through all the searches that travellers are submitted to would also seem to fit the requirements, for Randall, of course, travelled under a diplomatic passport and, though not exempt from search, would probably not have been subject to the scrutiny given by customs officials to ordinary travellers. If this assumption is correct—that the map of “Mexico” conveyed by Randall was in fact the map of South America here described by TJ—then it is possible that Randall himself may have been the source of some of the misinformation contained in the description. For there was some error in TJ’s comment: (1) There is no evidence that Lopez was ever in South America; (2) no edition of a map of South America with which Lopez was associated can be found that was issued in twelve sheets; (3) the map that actually fits the other circumstances described by TJ seems to be one by Cruz Cano, published in 1775 on eight sheets (see TJ’s observations on the republication of this map, following). Faden agreed to bring out the publication as suggested here by TJ, and on 22 Oct. 1786 TJ wrote Smith that he would send the “twelve sheet map … by the first good opportunity.” The map was later carried to London by Franks who also conveyed another letter to Smith, in which TJ remarked: “For his gain he [Faden] will wish to make the map large, for that of the public and for their convenience I wish to debarrass it of all useless margin”—a remark that reflects the view set forth in TJ’s observations on the republication of the Cruz Cano map in eight sheets. See Smith to TJ, 18 and 22 Sep. 1786; and 29 Jan. 1787; TJ to Smith, 22 Oct., 20 Dec. 1786. On 2 Feb. 1788 TJ wrote Smith: “Be so good also as to let me know who undertook the map of S. America, and even to get from him some acknolegement in writing of what he is to do.” Smith did not mention the map in his reply to this inquiry. Soon thereafter, TJ, Adams, and Smith met in Holland, and the question of the map may have been discussed then. There seems to have been no further correspondence on the subject between Smith and TJ, and none between TJ and Faden.

The Mapa Geográfico de America Meridional by Don Juan de la Cruz Cano y Olmedilla was engraved and printed in Madrid in 1775; each of the eight sheets of the copy in the Map Division of the Library of Congress measures 22 × 34 ¾ inches. The Don Lopez to whom TJ referred does not appear in the title of the map nor is there in the lengthy “Advertencias para la inteligencia de esta mapa” across the lower margin any indication that he played a part in preparing it. But Don Tomas Lopez de Vargas Machucha (b. Madrid 21 Dec. 1731—d. same city, July 1802) and Don Juan de la Cruz Cano y Olmedilla (b. Madrid 6 May 1734-d. 13 Feb. 1790) were nevertheless associated briefly in the preparation of this rare and valuable map. In 1752 Lopez, Cruz Cano, and two other young students were sent by the Spanish government to Paris to study map engraving, ornamentation, and architecture. In 1755 Lopez and Cruz Cano jointly published a two-sheet chart of the Gulf of Mexico and in 1757 they collaborated in preparing a map of North America in two parts showing English and French claims respectively. In 1760 Lopez returned to Madrid and during the next forty years published more than 220 maps. A comprehensive but “probably still incomplete” list of maps published by Lopez was included by Gabriel Marcel in his “Le geographe Thomas Lopez et son oeuvre,” Revue Hispanique (Hispanic Society of America), xvi (1907), 137–243. This list includes no such edition in twelve sheets as that described by TJ. After 1757 there is no further evidence of collaboration between Lopez and Cruz Cano until they became temporarily associated in the preparation of the 1775 Cruz Cano map of South America. That map and its preparation were described in detail in 1797 by Lopez himself. According to this account, Lopez and Cruz Cano had been asked (presumably about 1765) by the Marquis de Grimaldi, then Minister of State, to prepare a map of South America. Each was assigned a portion of the map to execute and they began their collaboration. But very soon Lopez discovered that there were wide differences in their conceptions of the task and he thereupon permitted Cruz Cano to assume full responsibility, turning over to the latter all of the data that he had in his possession. The task required ten years. When completed, the map was printed by the government and some copies distributed to ambassadors, ministers, and “influential persons.” However, according to Lopez’ statement in 1797, “the war with Portugal having been declared, it was observed that the map of Cruz Cano did not favor the Spanish claims in America. The government was thereupon moved to disclaim a work with which they had been wholly satisfied, and of which they had started distribution; and they even sought to recover the copies distributed and let it be known that it was very inaccurate, when the real trouble which they found with it concerned the boundaries, which were delimited by the map-maker with impartiality and with the sole objective of accuracy” (from Marcel’s summary of Lopez’ report of 1797, Revue Hispanique, xvi [1907], 179–80; Lopez’ report is published in full in D. Cesareo Fernandez, Armada española, vii, 399–415; the Editors are indebted to Messrs. Burton W. Adkinson, Director, Reference Department, and Walter W. Ristow, Assistant Chief, Map Division, Library of Congress, for communications concerning the Cruz Cano map on which the foregoing account is based, including their translation of Marcel’s summary of the Lopez report, and for their opinion—in which the Editors fully concur—that the map discussed by TJ in the present and subsequent letters was in fact the Cruz Cano map of 1775).

From these facts it appears obvious that TJ could only have transmitted to Smith for Faden’s use a copy of the rare Cruz Cano map of 1775. Faden was evidently so eager to do the map that Smith was able—three months before he or Faden saw the map itself—to report a firm agreement with Faden according to the terms suggested by TJ and to urge that “the sooner you forward [the map] the better” ( Smith to TJ, 22 Sep. 1786). The cause of Faden’s failure to execute this understanding is not known, but these facts may be noted: (1) TJ had transmitted a rare and valuable map which had cost him personally from ten to twenty guineas; (2) he asked on 2 Feb. 1788 for further word on the map and for a commitment in writing from the publisher; (3) this request evidently was not pressed further and there is no proof that the map belonging to TJ was ever returned; (4) Faden did in 1799 bring out an edition of the Cruz Cano map of 1775 with the statement that it was “una copia literal y exacta de un Mapa español mui raro; dispuesto y gravado en Madrid, año 1775”; and (5) he issued it in three sheets as TJ had suggested in the document following. In view of the fact that the suppression and subsequent rarity of the map was owing to political considerations, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Faden’s failure to do the map and TJ’s silence may also have been due to political factors. Faden was Geographer to the King, and, while TJ was undoubtedly motivated by a characteristic desire to advance knowledge, he was also an American minister. Unauthorized publication of a map in 1786 that responsible Spanish officials believed would affect Spanish boundary claims might very well have affected also the fate of the recently negotiated treaty with Portugal and might have had an influence on relations between England and Spain. What may not have been possible or expedient in 1786–1787 when the European balance of power was precariously adjusted and when Spain and England were reluctantly on the brink of war could have been quite feasible a decade later when the political climate of Europe had been vastly altered. It is to be hoped that further study by cartographers will clarify some of the factors involved in TJ’s relationship with the Cruz Cano map and may establish as fact what now can only be stated as a possibility—that the “mui raro” copy of the map that Faden utilized in 1799 was indeed the identical copy which had been procured for TJ with some difficulty and which, with a restraint rare in any collector and phenomenal in the most assiduous gatherer of Americana then living, he evidently allowed to go quietly and permanently out of his possession when he alone had title to ownership. There are three copies of the Cruz Cano map of 1775 in London in the following collections: (1) the Topographical Collection of George III, British Museum; (2) the Colonial Office series in the Public Record Office; and (3) the Library of the Colonial Office itself (communication from R. A. Skelton, The Map Room, British Museum, to the Editors, 28 May 1954). None of these maps has any MS notations on it, and all three are uncolored; Faden, as indicated in the list of symbols, must have utilized a copy in which the political boundaries were indicated by different colors.

Carmichael’s reference to a map of “Mexico” and TJ’s puzzling—and repeated—references to a map of South America in twelve sheets require a final comment that can be advanced at this time only as pure hypothesis. From the foregoing account it will be seen that Cruz Cano and Lopez also collaborated in producing two other maps, one of the Gulf of Mexico in two sheets and one of North America in two sheets. These, too, are quite rare maps. Carmichael evidently acquired the Cruz Cano map in Cadiz through an agent ( Carmichael to TJ, 16 June 1786), and it is reasonable to suppose that any “influential person” having obtained custody of that map might also have had an interest in possessing these others by Cruz Cano and Lopez. If this supposition is correct and if Carmichael did in fact send to TJ all three maps, then this might help to explain his reference to a map of “Mexico” and TJ’s reference to twelve sheets. Admittedly this is an inadequate explanation, for it seems unlikely that Carmichael would refer to maps of the Americas by the name of the least important area covered by the three, and it also seems unlikely that TJ would refer to a map of that country, on 12. sheets in a context that could only mean South America if he had in fact meant to include the total number of sheets of maps covering all of the Americas. The problem is further complicated by the fact that TJ correctly designated the number of sheets in the Cruz Cano map in his suggestions about its republication (document following). But, at present, this seems to be not only the best but the only hypothesis that offers a plausible explanation for the discrepancy.

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