Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Berenger de Beaufain, 7 December 1787

From Berenger de Beaufain

Erlangen, 7 Dec. 1787. Is a descendant of a French family exiled to Germany because of religion. His uncle, Hector de Berenger de Beaufain, went to America with General Oglethorpe in 1733, settled in South Carolina, became British collector of customs in 1747, received two grants of land from George II, and died in 1766, leaving all his property to the writer, his nephew, by will dated 1762. The will was probated in London soon after his uncle’s death and permission was given to sell the lands. The executor, David Rhind, was unable to collect the debts due the estate. During the late war the estate was confiscated on the ground that the owner was British, although he is a German. Wrote on several occasions to John Rutledge, Henry Laurens, and J. Boomer Graves, British consul for the Carolinas and Georgia, but has had no answers to his letters. Asks TJ’s protection in collecting the money due him for the sake of his family which is destitute. Visited his uncle in Charleston in 1763.

RC (DLC); 5 p.; in French. Recorded in SJL as received 18 Dec. 1787. Enclosure (DLC): Copy of inscription reading: “In the Cœmetary of this Church | lie the Remains | of | Hector Berenger de Beaufaïn, Esqr. | born in France in the Year of our Lord 1697: he came | from London to South Carolina in 1733 where he resided | the Remainder of his Life; in 1742 he was appointed | Collector of his Majesty’s Customs, and in 1747 Member of | his Majesty’s Council, for this Province. | He died Octob: 13. 1766 | deservedly regretted | A Man | of unshaken Integrity in the Discharge of his publick Trust | never relaxed to the Prejudice of the Crown Revenue | never rigorously enforced to the Oppression of the Innocent | of most benevolent Humanity | always ready to relieve the distressed | without Ostentation | of humblest Manners, tho possessed of eminent Talents | Master of the learned Languages | And [th]o a foreigner a profound Critic in the english Tongue | tho humble, inflexibly adhering to the Rules | of Justice, Honor and Politeness | complaisant in his Behaviour to all | thus meriting, He acquired | universal Esteem. | his fellow Citizens of this Province | so many Years the Witnesses and Admirers | of his virtue uniformly practised thro Life | have erected this Monument | sacred to the Memory | of his Merit and their Love | MDCCLXVII.”

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