From Thomas Pinckney
London 12th. March 1793.
Messrs. Talon and Bonnet applied to me in the Month of October last expressing their intention to settle in the United States and requesting Information in what way it would be most advantageous to vest a considerable property they purpose placing in that Country. I recommended (what indeed I found to have been their original plan) to examine and determine for themselves. To facilitate their Access to the best channels of Information and to prevent them from falling into improper hands on their arrival I have taken the liberty of introducing them to you, from whom a word of general Advice may prove infinitely advantageous; and this I thought due to Strangers in their unfortunate predicament who have been Men of consideration in their own Country and are now seeking an Asylum in ours. I have the honor to be with the utmost Respect dear Sir Your faithful and obedient Servant
RC (DLC); in the hand of William A. Deas, with signature and part of complimentary close by Pinckney; at foot of text: “The Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ as received 5 May 1793 and so recorded in SJL, which notes its delivery “by Talon & Bonnet”; also endorsed by TJ as “private.” PrC (ScHi: Pinckney Family Papers).
Antoine Omer Talon, formerly a deputy to the French National Assembly who fled to England in 1792, was a founder and agent of the Asylum Company, a land venture backed by Robert Morris and John Nicholson, which established a settlement of French immigrants, largely refugees from the Revolution, on the Susquehanna River. His companion, John Bonnet, a banished French clergyman who also invested in the company, became a citizen of the United States but returned to Europe by December 1794, when he was at Hamburg acting as Morris’s agent in the sale of American land to European investors (Scott and Rothaus, Historical Dictionary description begins Samuel F. Scott and Barry Rothaus, eds., Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution, 1789–1799, Westport, Conn., 1985, 2 vols. description ends , ii, 935; Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , xxvi, 735n; Frances S. Childs, French Refugee Life in the United States, 1790–1800 [Baltimore, 1940], 96; Windham Papers description begins The Windham Papers: The Life and Correspondence of the Rt. Hon. William Windham, 1750–1810, Boston, 1913, 2 vols. description ends , i, 121; Articles of Agreement between Morris, Nicholson, and Walter Stewart and J. C. Hottinguer, Philadelphia, 1 Oct. 1795, PHarH: John Nicholson Papers).