Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Louis Osmont, 10 July 1791

To Louis Osmont

July 10. 1791.

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to Mr. Osmont, and informs him that having found that Colo. Pickering would probably leave the Oneida country before a letter could reach him, he has inclosed Mr. Osmont’s paper to Mr. Renslaer member of Congress from Albany, with a request to make enquiry into the case at Albany and in the Oneida country, between which two places there is considerable intercourse.

PrC (DLC).

Louis Osmont was a young Frenchman whom Madame D’Houdetot had asked William Short to recommend to TJ for counsel about his plans to settle in America and to engage in commerce. Short was embarrassed, but could not refuse such a request from TJ’s good friend (Short to TJ, 7 Nov. 1790, where Osmont is incorrectly named in the text as Ormont). The young man was in straitened circumstances, and TJ took some pains to assist him, especially because he had been so “particularly recommended.” Timothy Pickering was at the moment negotiating a treaty with the Six Nations, and TJ knew that a letter to him concerning Osmont’s claim to Oneida lands would not arrive in time. He therefore appealed to Jeremiah Van Rensselaer to transmit a statement of the claim to appropriate persons in Albany (TJ to Van Rensselaer, 10 July 1791). TJ was favorably impressed by young Osmont (TJ to Short, 28 July 1791).

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