Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Stephen Thorn, 27 December 1800

From Stephen Thorn

Norfolk Decem 27. 1800

Honourd Sir

The enclosed letters for you were particularly entrusted to me by the author who is my friend—I have been several Years in Europe on my travels, and returned to this port in the US. frigate Portsmouth, and had not some private concerns (which I was in hopes daily to have finished) prevented, I should err long this have deliverd them in person as requested, and as they are of Consequence I have at length put them in the post Office—I hope you will receive them safe—the two books are also from the author—I shall go from this to Richmond being invited by Gov. Monroe to pass that way, I have the pleasure of his acquaintance, and when I pass Washington, I shall hope to hear all have arived

I am with great respect your very huml: Sert.

Stepn: Thorn

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “M. Th Jefferson. V. President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 6 Jan. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: Thomas Paine to TJ, 1, 4, 6, and 16 Oct. 1800, all recorded by TJ in SJL as received 6 Jan. 1801.

Stephen Thorn (1771–1813), was a merchant-trader in Granville, Washington County, New York, during the early 1790s. An ardent republican, Thorn in 1794–96 solicited support among officials in France for a plan to retake Canada and encouraged a French attack on Quebec from Vermont. He chartered the Olive Branch to carry arms to America for the effort, but it encountered a British naval vessel and was forced to turn back. Thorn eventually abandoned his plans. In December 1796 he went to London to help Thomas Paine with a reprint of an open letter to George Washington. Upon his return to New York, Thorn was an officer in a county and then the state militia and subsequently served in the New York state senate, representing the Eastern District from 1804 to 1808 (T. S. Webster, “A New Yorker in the Era of the French Revolution: Stephen Thorn, Conspirator for a Canadian Revolution,” New-York Historical Society Quarterly, 53 [1969], 251–72; John J. Duffy and others, eds., Ethan Allen and His Kin: Correspondence, 1772–1819, 2 vols. [Hanover, N.H., 1998], 2:502n; Northern Post [Salem, N.Y.], 1 Apr. 1813).

A letter from Thorn to TJ from Granville dated 6 Apr. 1792 is recorded in SJL as received 1 May but has not been found.

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