Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Ferdinand Grand, 23 August [1786]

From Ferdinand Grand

Wednesday 23d Augt. [1786]

M. Grand presents his Respects to M. Jefferson and has the honour to acquaint him that his Letters for Madrid reached him only when the post for Spain was already gone. The friend at Madrid to whom he used to forward Mr. Jefferson’s Letters desired himself to be excused from lending his Cover to any more Such letters and warned at Same time, M. Grand that this caution availed nothing to prevent letters being opened; which Mr. Grand very well knows to be the Case, both here and in Spain. He begs therefore that Mr. Jefferson would be so good as to send him word how he is to send his parcels. If there is any thing which absolutely requires Secrecy, they are not to be trusted to the Post.

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 51: 8651); misfiled under 1789: the year-date is established by the fact that during the years TJ was in France 23 Aug. fell on Wednesday only in 1786. Not recorded in SJL. The letters for Madrid were those to Carmichael, and the particular one that prompted the present response was evidently TJ’s letter to Carmichael of 22 Aug. 1786.

TJ cannot have been unaware that letters going by post, even under the cover of Grand or of the unidentified friend at Madrid, would have been inspected by postal authorities either in France or in Spain or in both countries. The present letter would seem to lend support to a conjecture previously made that TJ’s communications to Carmichael were deliberately intended for the Spanish ministry, either through Carmichael’s agency or through some such ruse as that of employing a cover that, tending to create the impression that TJ felt secure in its use, would be likely to give further credence to his statements (see notes to TJ to Carmichael, 26 Dec. 1786 and 25 Sep. 1787).

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