Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Cambray, 29 May 1788

To Cambray

Paris May 29. 1788.


The laws of the United states give no credit to the legalisation of an instrument of writing by their foreign ministers. They require that they should be legalised by affixing to them the seal of the city where the instrument is executed or acknoleged. On receiving your letter therefore, I sent the instrument it contained to your house with directions to the person having charge of your affairs there to apply to the Prevot des Marchands de Paris to legalise it and to affix the seal of his office. If I have not done exactly the thing you desired, it was to avoid you the disappointment of having your letters of procuration sent back from America for want of a due legalisation. I have the honor to be with sentiments of the most perfect esteem & attachment Sir Your most obedient & most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of page: “M. le Comte de Cambrai.”

The nature of the document that Cambray desired to have legalised is indicated in his letter to TJ of 9 June 1788. The present letter indicates that Cambray had written TJ at least one and perhaps two letters, and that TJ had written one to Cambray returning the instrument; none of these letters has been found and none of them is recorded in SJL Index.

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