Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Alexandre Charles Louis d’Ambrugeac, 26 December 1800

From Alexandre Charles Louis d’Ambrugeac

Washington.—26 Xb 1800


Depuis deux jours je me suis presenté trois fois chez vous, pour avoir lhonneur de vous voir, et de vous demander, Vos ordres et Commissions pour Paris.

Je pars demain matin. et je Vous assure que cest avec un regret bien sincere, et bien senti, que je quitte le pays, sans avoir pu satisfaire Mon intensif Desir, dirai je ma Curiosité, de Causer, avec Monsieur Jefferson;

Si je pouvois etre assez heureux pour pouvoir vous étre bon a quelque chose, en france, Ordonnez. je me croirai fort honoré, de cette Circonstance fortuite,—je resterai Deux jours a Baltimore, où je Compte voir le general Samuel Smith.

Je n’ai pas besoin sans doute Monsieur, de vous avouer le plaisir que je vais avoir a Mon arrivée a Paris, d’avoir a leur annoncer les Esperances que les republicains Americains, ont relativement a Vôtre Election.

Jai lhonneur d’etre avec profond respect Monsieur Vôtre tres H. et t. O. S.


editors’ translation

Washington, 26 Dec. 1800


Over the last two days I have presented myself three times at your residence in order to have the honor of seeing you and of asking for your orders and errands in Paris.

I am leaving tomorrow morning, and I assure you that it is with a very sincere and deeply felt regret, that I am leaving the country without having satisfied my intense desire, may I say my curiosity, to converse with Mister Jefferson.

If I could be fortunate enough to be useful to you in any way in France, give the order. I should consider myself very honored in that fortuitous circumstance—I shall stay two days in Baltimore, where I expect to see General Samuel Smith.

I certainly have no need, Sir, to confess to you the pleasure I shall have upon my arrival in Paris to be able to announce to them the hopes held by American republicans concerning your election.

I have the honor to be with deep respect, Sir, your very humble and very obedient servant


RC (MHi); at head of text: “Chr. dambrugeac—a Monsieur Jefferson Vice President des E.U.”; endorsed by TJ as received on 27 Dec. and so recorded in SJL.

Alexandre Charles Louis d’Ambrugeac (1770–1834), the Comte de Valon du Boucheron, was en route to France from Saint-Domingue with communications from Toussaint-Louverture, but had no means of reaching Europe. Two days before writing the letter above, d’Ambrugeac had asked the United States government, in a request that John Marshall passed along to John Adams, for passage across the Atlantic. Despite the comte’s expectations of a prompt departure, he had to wait to embark with his secretary and a servant until March 1801, when the U.S. government dispatched the sloop Maryland to France with the recently ratified Convention of 1800. Of an aristocratic family, the son of a career military officer, d’Ambrugeac had entered the French army as a youth, was an officer of royalist émigrés during the revolutionary wars, and for his service to the Bourbon princes in exile was made a chevalier of the Order of Saint Louis. Those antirevolutionary credentials notwithstanding, he returned to France by 1799, when he evidently initiated his journey to the West Indies. He married a daughter of the Vicomte de Rochambeau, the Comte de Rochambeau’s son. In 1813 d’Ambrugeac resumed his career with the French army (Marshall, Papers description begins Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, Charles F. Hobson, and others, eds., The Papers of John Marshall, Chapel Hill, 1974–2006, 12 vols. description ends , 6:43; NDQW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War between the United States and France, Washington, D.C., 1935–38, 7 vols. description ends , Dec. 1800–Dec. 1801, 141, 147–8, 368; Dictionnaire description begins Dictionnaire de biographie française, Paris, 1933–, 18 vols. description ends , 2:543–4; Biographie des hommes vivants, ou Histoire par ordre alphabétique, 5 vols. [Paris, 1816–19], 1:61–2; Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne, new ed., 45 vols. [Paris, 1843–65], 36:203–5; U.S. House of Representatives Report No. 1071, 27th Cong., 2d sess.).

The only other communication between TJ and d’Ambrugeac recorded in SJL was a “Memoire” from d’Ambrugeac of 9 Mch. 1801 that was received the same day but has not been found.

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