Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Lewis Littlepage, 12 December 1801

From Lewis Littlepage

Washington 12th. of Decbr. 1801.


An affair of a very singular nature having once taken place between the Austrian Ministry and myself, I send for your perusal the enclosed printed letter, which I beg may be returned to me. You will please to observe that the question is one of Public Right, as Austria had nothing to do with my military conduct in Poland. Suwarow had settled my affairs with the Empress, and the battles of Warsaw, Villna, Povonski, and Prague, did not regard Austria. With the highest respect I have the honor to be,

Sir, your most obedient humble Servant—

Lewis Littlepage.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “T. Jefferson President of the United States.” Enclosure: Littlepage’s printed letter to Baron Thugut (see below).

In 1795, Littlepage went to Vienna but was soon ordered to leave the Austrian Empire. The Austrians mistakenly thought, according to Littlepage, that he was an enemy of Russia. He suspected also that the Austrians distrusted him because he was on friendly terms with Lafayette. Earlier, Littlepage had served under the Russian general Alexander Suvorov (Suwarow) in a military campaign against the Ottoman Empire. Littlepage attempted to persuade the empress Catherine of Russia that his service to King Stanislas of Poland had not constituted support of Polish nationalism or opposition to Russia. He answered his eviction from Austria—to no avail—in a letter addressed to Baron Thugut, who directed the Austrian chancellery’s foreign affairs. Littlepage had the letter printed, but did not give it wide circulation (Curtis Carroll Davis, The King’s Chevalier: A Biography of Lewis Littlepage [Indianapolis, 1961], 194–6, 330–2, 336–42; Nell Holladay Boand, Lewis Littlepage [Richmond, 1970], 214, 222–7, 285; Karl A. Roider, Jr., Baron Thugut and Austria’s Response to the French Revolution [Princeton, 1987], 113).

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