Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Chartier de Lotbinière, 5 January 1787

From Chartier de Lotbinière

Paris, rue de Bourgogne No. 78, au Coin de la rue de Varenne, 5 Jan. 1787. Asks TJ for an appointment during the next week to confer about a letter he had received from John Jay, dated 15 Aug. preceding.

RC (DLC); 2 p.; in French; endorsed. Not recorded in SJL.

Jay’s letter was in response to one from Lotbinière of 11 Mch. 1786 concerning his claim to the seigniories of Alainville and Hocquart on Lake Champlain, a subject, he reminded Jay, that Vergennes took a great interest in and had more than once recommended to the attention of the United States. Lotbinière had also urged Jay to give the benefit of his protection to his son who was coming to America to claim lands in Massachusetts. Jay replied that all titles and claims to lands lying within any of the states had to be determined by its laws and that Congress could not with propriety interfere in such matters; he promised to give his “friendly attentions” to Lotbinière’s son, but added: “In this Country protection and personal Influence, whether more or less, are no avail in our judicial proceedings and decisions, which are entirely directed and governed by the Laws of the Land” (copies of this exchange were sent by Lotbinière to Vergennes, and are to be found in Arch. Aff. Etr., Corr. Pol., E.-U., xxxi; Tr in DLC).

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