Thomas Jefferson Papers

From —— to Madame d’Enville, 8 September 1786

From—to Madame d’Enville

paris ce 8 7bre 1786

Ma belle soeur, madame la Duchesse, vient de me mander que son jardinier attendroit le moment où vous seriez à Chaillot pour vous montrer en detail tout ce qui est dans son jardin. La maîtresse de la maison croit vous faire sa cour en ne paroissant pas. Elle m’assure que toutes les personnes que vous voudrez envoyer chez elle seront reçeues à toutes les heures. Recevez avec bonté les assurances de mon respect.

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ: “lettre à Madame la duchesse Danville.” The identity of the author has not been established; the handwriting seems to be feminine, but the author could have been a man. All that is certainly known is that the correspondent had a sister-in-law who had a house and garden in the neighborhood of Chaillot; it is evident, too, that the writer was an acquaintance of the Duchesse d’Enville and was on terms reflecting approximate equality of station. It is possible that the writer may have been the Comtesse de Marbeuf, who at this time owned a distinguished garden near Chaillot that was landscaped in the English manner (Thiéry, Guide des Amateurs, i, 42–3). The letter may have been handed to TJ when he called at Madame d’Enville’s residence, the Hôtel de La Rochefoucauld. The fact that it was written at the time that TJ and Maria Cosway were making their tours of the environs of Paris suggests that he may have sought permission to see some gardens that interested them. On the 7th, for example, he and Maria Cosway had been to see the gardens at Marly, and on the 16th they went to the Désert de Retz, a garden some four miles from St. Germain (Marie Kimball, Jefferson: The Scene of Europe, p. 164–8).

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