Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Delamotte, 27 October 1791

From Delamotte

Le Havre, 27 Oct. 1791. Praises behavior of American ship captains and crews in Le Havre.—Encloses copy of “d’une observation maritime” received by way of some Catholic priests in Baltimore. It will be helpful if the document’s contents can be verified.—In 1785 Le Compere Mat […] left Le Havre for Baltimore commanded by Lieutenant d’Elivet and accompanied by his son. The ship arrived safely in Baltimore, but d’Elivet’s wife has since had no word from them. He asks TJ to ascertain whether they are dead so that “la femme abandonnée” can claim her inheritance.—Virginia tobacco is selling for 34 to 40 livres per quintal and rice for 27 to 28 livres. “Ce sont de hauts prix assurement.” [P.S.] All of France is dismayed by the recent arrival of news of the “désastre de St. Domingue.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD); 4 p.; in French; endorsed by TJ as received 10 Feb. 1792 and so recorded in SJL.

The enclosure was Pierre Douville’s “Observation importante sur le Banc de Nantucket,” an attempt to clarify the size and location of the Nantucket shoal. TJ wrote on the letter “for Mr. Freneau To be published and the name and quality of the writer subjoined.” A translation of the portion of Delamotte’s letter relating to Virginia tobacco prices appeared in the 13 Feb. 1792 National Gazette with an abbreviated version of Douville’s “Observation.” A brief sketch of Douville may be found in André Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles, 2 vols. (Macon and Paris, 1935), i, 187.

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