Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, [ca. 3 December 1801]

To James Madison

[ca. 3 Dec. 1801]

This claim is totally without foundation. M. de Rayneval wrote to me on the subject last spring and I wrote him an answer which I can communicate to mr Madison.


MS (DNA: RG 59, NL); in TJ’s hand; undated; written on a slip of paper attached to Louis André Pichon to James Madison, 3 Dec. 1801 (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 2:293).

Joseph Mathias Gérard de Rayneval had written to TJ from France in August 1799 and followed up in January 1801 to press a claim for land granted to his deceased brother, Conrad Alexandre Gérard, by the Wabash Company. In conversation with Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, who in 1799 had acted as Rayneval’s intermediary, and in a letter to Rayneval in March 1801, TJ explained that Virginia had voided the claims of the Wabash Company before the land came under Congress’s control. Pichon’s letter of 3 Dec. to Madison from Georgetown stated that Talleyrand, the French minister of foreign affairs, had instructed him to inquire if Rayneval’s claim could be presented to Congress with the president’s recommendation (same, 2:293–4; Vol. 31:175–6; Vol. 32:384–5; Vol. 33:373–4).

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