Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Jean Baptiste Ternant, 20 June 1801

From Jean Baptiste Ternant

Philadelphia 20th. of June 1801


I hope you will not be displeased with an old departing friend taking a private leave of you, and requesting your kind remembrance on the occasion—I had intended going in person, to pay you my last respects before returning to Europe; But various disappointments, and above all, the bad State of my health, have really put it out of my power to undertake the journey.—Being, now going off to secure a passage for havre, I avail myself of M.M. Letombe & Dupont’s good offices to get this Short valedictory letter put into your hands, and to offer particularly my warmest wishes for your public and private happyness, Remaining very respectfully

sir your most obedient and most humble servant


RC (MHi); at foot of text: “(Private) Mr. Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 28 June and so recorded in SJL.

Returning to Europe: Ternant was France’s minister to the United States from 1791 to 1793. Following his recall, Ternant, an experienced military officer who had served as a volunteer during the American Revolution, initially sought a commission in the French Army. He decided, however—as TJ expressed it to Madison at the time—that it would be “more prudent” to stay in the United States. Philadelphia directories in the late 1790s listed him as John Ternant. When he next wrote to TJ, in 1803, he was in Paris (André Lasseray, Les Français sous les treize étoiles (17751783) [Paris, 1935], 433–6; Stafford, Philadelphia Directory, for 1798, 140; Stafford, Philadelphia Directory, for 1799, 137; Vol. 26:61–2; Ternant to TJ, 18 Aug. 1803 [MHi]).

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