Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Monroe, 12 April 1802

From James Monroe

Richmond April 12. 1802

Dear Sir

I find among the papers in the council chamber an acct. adjusted by you between Houdon and the Commonwealth. Perhaps you have a copy of it at Monticello, which may be the document to which you wish to recur before you decide on his claim. If this paper is material it shall be sent to you, tho’ to me it appears as if it cod. not be, as the sole or principal question is, what the depreciation was on the last payment made. I have no doubt that it is a wise policy to adjust the difference with Engld. relative to the 6th article on the terms proposed in the project before the Senate. It is important to settle amicably our affrs. with Europe so as to deprive any of the great powers especially of the “causa billi” or pretext for war. I wod. buy up any such latent pretention, at some sacrifice. It will give me pleasure to meet you in Albemarle the first week in May if possible. But I fear it will be impossible. I am forc’d to be there on the 20th. of this month to meet any offer that may be made for my land above charlottesville which I have advertised for sale on that day. If I attend on that day, which it is very incumbent on me to do, it will not be in my power to return to the council, which immediately ensues, and be back during yr. transient visit in Albemarle. Still it may happen as I will certainly be there if practicable.

yr. friend & servt.

Jas. Monroe

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 15 Apr. and so recorded in SJL.

ACCT. ADJUSTED BY YOU: the document that Monroe saw in the files in Richmond was a statement of account prepared by Jean Antoine Houdon on or after 20 Oct. 1788. The statement listed Houdon’s expenses of his trip to the United States in 1785 to make the bust of Washington. The expenditures, made from July through December 1785, totaled 12,568 livres and 18 sous. Five payments to Houdon from 28 Nov. 1785 to 20 Oct. 1788 totaled 11,550 livres, 17 sous, and 9 deniers, leaving a balance due to the artist of 1,018 livres and 3 deniers. At the foot of the statement, TJ wrote: “M. Houdon having accompanied Dr. Franklin to America, who was equally employed with myself by the state of Virginia, the expences herein charged were under his eye & authority till Houdon’s departure from America. the subsequent articles were examined and approved by Th: Jefferson” (MS in Vi: Executive Papers; undated and unsigned; in Houdon’s hand; at head of text: “Relevé des Mémoires Quittances et Bordereaux que Mr houdon a Conservés relativement à ses dépenses pour son voyage de Paris en Amérique et son retour en cette ville Luy et 3 Elèves pour le Servir et l’aider dans son travail, depuis le Mois de Juillet 1785 jusqu’au trente un Decembre Même Année” [statement of bills, receipts, and notes that Monsieur Houdon kept relating to his expenditures for his voyage from Paris to America and his return to this city, for himself and three apprentices to serve and assist him in his work, from the month of July 1785 until 31 Dec. of that year]; with signed declaration by TJ; endorsed by TJ: “Houdon’s acct. of expences of his voyage to & from America”; endorsed with the date 20 Oct. 1788 in an unidentified hand).

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