Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Carlos Martínez de Irujo, 13 March 1801

From Carlos Martínez de Irujo

Philadelphia 13 March 1801

Dear Sir

I arrived the day before yesterday to this City through muddy roads, & indiferent weather; but those litle inconveniences were smooth’d by the satisfaction of finding the smile of joi on every face, on account of your election—In my way I have convers’d with Tirians, & Troyans, high & low; & all to a man considers your exaltation as the triumph of merit & vertu; your Speech, which could not easely be heard in the room of the Senate, is making great noise & many conversions without doors; in fact you have had the fortunate talent of presenting truth on an irrisistible point of vue—

I wish you was equally succesful in the domestiquet concerns I was charg’d with—Since my arrival I have taken every step to procure you the excellent Cook living with Mr. Siemen, but, tho he has shewn great sensibility for the preference which was given to him, & he thought generous the offer made to him, he is oblidg’d to decline it on account of his Wife being near laying in & his having already a numerous Family which he apprehends would not produce but trouble & inconvinience in your house—

Baffled on my expectations on this side, I directed my attention to Mr. Bingham’s Cook, & the confidential person employ’d in the mission has just brought me the answer, that he would be very happy to have the honor to be in your Service, but Mr B. owes him about eight hundred Dollars, he cannot gett as yet from him; & he is afraid to loose every farthing if he was to leave him—It would appear as if the idea of the Family going to England was given up, no doubt on account of the storm which appears to be gathering over that devoted Island—

I have had the satisfaction to find my Family in perfect health & all overjoied with your succes—they all request me to present their compliments & respects to you—

To morrow I’ll endeavour to find out my last Cook: he knows his profession very well, he is quite, sober & honest; but he is not so eminent as the one I had in view: in my opinion he could be got for 20 Dollars, & could be taken en attendant

Accept, Sir, the sentiment of the most perfect consideration with which I have the honor to be Your mos obt. Servt.

Le Chevalier d’Irujo

RC (CSmH); here and in other letters from Irujo, accents and other marks that he placed over some vowels have been omitted; addressed: “His Excellency Th. Jefferson President of the United States City of Washington”; franked; endorsed by TJ as received 18 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.


To this city: the Spanish government, at the insistence of the Adams administration, had recalled Irujo from his position as minister plenipotentiary. He had not yet returned to Europe to take up his new diplomatic assignment. Irujo had ties to Philadelphia through his wife, the former Sally McKean (Vol. 30:194n; Joseph Yznardi, Sr., to TJ, 4 Jan. 1801; Thomas McKean to TJ, 21 Mch. 1801).

Tirians, & troyans: references to Tyrians and Trojans, here as an allusion for people of different origins and interests, have their roots in Virgil’s Aeneid. Irujo’s spelling in English resembles the Spanish form of the expression, “tirios y troyanos.” Cervantes, who had considerable interest in Virgil, used the phrase to open a chapter of Don Quixote, mirroring a line from a 16th-century Spanish translation of the Aeneid (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, ed. Vicente Gaos, 3 vols. [Madrid, 1987], 2:388; Michael D. McGaha, ed., Cervantes and the Renaissance: Papers of the Pomona College Cervantes Symposium, November 16–18, 1978 [Easton, Pa., 1980], 34–6).

Étienne Lemaire, who later in the year succeeded Joseph Rapin as steward of the President’s House, was a member of William Bingham’s household staff (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1053; Philippe de Létombe to TJ, 11 July, 1 Aug. 1801; TJ to Létombe, 29 July 1801).

En attendant: in the meantime.

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