Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from David Ramsay, 8 November 1786

From David Ramsay

Charleston Novr. 8th 1786

Dear Sir

Your favor of the tenth of July was a few days ago received by the way of New-York. Your friendly interposition in respect of my work lays me under great obligations. I have long since thought that the mode you have adopted was the best the nature of the case admitted of to introduce it to the people of England.

I wish that some copies might in some way or other be introduced to Ireland. The sales in America have fallen many hundred dollars short of my actual expences. I am nevertheless not discouraged but going on with a larger work on the continental system. I have now the first volume nearly ready for the press which will bring the history down to the close of 1776. When I shall print I know not as I mean to take time and to publish the volumes seperately and in different years. I wish I had an opportunity of submitting the sheets to your perusal. I have sent the first part to New-York to the care of Charles Thomson who is authorised and request’d to put it into the hands of well informed gentlemen for their remarks.

By this conveyance I send you the Magnolias and Dionea Muscipulea. Watson objects to move them before fall and as no direct conveyance to France now offered I shall send them to Mr. Otto to go by the packets.

Our State has much more Tranquillity than the eastern ones. What they have attempted to do by mobs as far as the recovery of debts was concerned we have done by law. When the courts are opened I fear there will be some difficulty in enforcing regular justice. Every crop since the peace has failed and it is calculated that nothing less than two or three good crops would pay our debts. We are at present very tranquil. The creditors grumble and the debtors are unmolested. Our enemies hope that our confusions will dispose us to reunite with Great Britain; but I never hear a word in favor of any such plan. Independence though hitherto unproductive of the blessings expected from it is yet the idol of the people. With the most exalted sentiments of respect & esteem I have the honor to be your most obedient & very humble servt.,

David Ramsay

RC (DLC); endorsed. Noted in SJL as received 26 Jan. 1787.

The Magnolias and dionea muscipulea were intended for Madame de Tessé (see TJ to Ramsay, 27 Jan. 1786; also Madame de Tessé to TJ, 30 Mch. 1787). On 7 Nov. 1786 William Short wrote to Col. Eveleigh on this same subject: “my letter of May the 9th. of May last … was to interest you in behalf of a Lady here of very great merit, and who does me the honor of an intimate friendship. Don’t suspect this friendship of any thing improper, since she is at least fifty years of age. She is very desirous to naturalise a great number of the American trees shrubs &c. at her beautiful country seat near Versailles. By the advice of Mr. McQuinn, who was here we addressed this matter to a Mr. Watson seedsman near Charleston. I wrote to beg you would press the greatest punctuality on Watson (supposing you sometimes at Charleston) and even to advance him the money if necessary. I begged you at the same time to draw for the amount of it on Mr. Thomson the Secretary of Congress to whom Mr. Jefferson had written to desire he would pay your order for that sum, or the order of Mr. Watson if he should draw for it. I sent this letter by Mr. McQuinn together with the list of the articles given me by the Countess de Tesse. Mr. McQuinn left this place for L’Orient from whence he was to embark with a General Duplessis (to whom he had sold lands in Georgia) for America. I have since learnt by accident that at Lorient he changed his project, and went to Amsterdam. As Genl. Duplessis continued his Voyage, I hope that Mr. McQuinn forwarded my letters by him, and that they may have arrived before this. Not knowing his address at Amsterdam I cannot write to him on the Subject …” (DLC: Short Papers).

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