Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Bayard de La Vingtrie, 9 October 1789

From Bayard de La Vingtrie

rue des car[me]s Rouen Le 9 8bre. 1789.


Since you favour’d me [wi]th your kind Letter, I went to London to be maried, an[d receive]d there your notes on the State of virginia, which I rea[d wi]th the utmost attention and pleasure.

I gave my dismission, sol[d m]y propriety, the price whereof will be paid from the first days of next march to the first one of April in the year 1790.

Were you pleas’d, Sir, to have money and give me bills on virginia or maryland, you will receive it in your own hands or by your banker’s intercourse, whose direction you will be [good enough] to give me.

I thank you, Sir, [with all my he]art for your first Letter as well as for [the pam]phlet you sent me. There were in both wise [ad]monitions, fit to cool a young man’s glowing head, kindled by the enchanting pictures of Mr. Crevecoeur. [But] on the other hand they had both a turn of philosophical p[hila]ntropy very attractive. Your notes, Sir, are likewise infused with it, and if it was allowed to juge a nation from one of its citizens, your country would [be] a paradise.

I am afraid this expressing of my feelings, will hurt the republican [mo]desty, but remember, Sir, though unknown, you [wrote] to me as a father to his son, and I have [also?] your notes. I am, Sir, with respe[ct a]nd gratitude, your very humble and very obedient Servant,

[Bay]ard de La Vingtrie

RC (DLC); water-stained and mutilated along center vertical fold so that some words and parts of words are lost and are here conjecturally restored; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Nov. 1790 and so recorded in SJL.

TJ’s letter to La Vingtrie of 12 Feb. 1788—evidently TJ’s first letter— is the only one recorded in SJL Index (see notes there for description of the pamphlet). La Vingtrie must have responded to that letter and presumably TJ wrote a second time, presenting a copy of Notes on Virginia, but neither document in this later exchange has been found.

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