Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Bache, 11 October 1802

To William Bache

Washington Oct. 11. 1802.

Dear Doctor

I am to pay you £10. for Polly Carr, making, with the balance due yourself 143.33 D  you will of course drop me a line as soon as you shall have fixed a day for your departure, and the money shall be lodged in mr Jefferson’s hands before you will be there.  we wish you to be at your destination before the French take possession. if they have sent troops from France on that destination as is said in the newspapers, they will perhaps find employment in St. Domingo which has risen again in general insurrection. present my respectful salutations to mrs Bache and accept yourself assurances of my friendship & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (Mrs. W. F. Magie, Princeton, New Jersey, 1945); addressed: “Dr. William Bache near Charlottesville”; franked and postmarked.

In his financial memoranda, TJ recorded the amount of the payment to his niece, Mary (POLLY) Carr, as $33.33. In December, he made her a second payment of the same amount, that time through Gabriel Lilly. Together the two payments were “towards hire of her negro” for the year (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 , 2:1085, 1088).

American NEWSPAPERS mentioned that troops had embarked from France during the summer, bound for Louisiana. The news, which originated in Rotterdam and London, was incorrect. The French government did not receive Carlos IV’s royal order ceding the territory until 25 Oct. (New York Commercial Advertiser, 2, 5 Oct.; E. Wilson Lyon, Louisiana in French Diplomacy, 1759–1804 [Norman, Okla., 1974], 134).

RISEN AGAIN: a resurgence of resistance by blacks that began in the summer had developed into what General Victoire Emmanuel Leclerc bluntly labeled “a war of colors” in Saint-Domingue. The rebels controlled large portions of the island. With the army units he had brought from Europe almost destroyed by yellow fever, Leclerc had been forced to rely on black soldiers to fight the insurgents. By October, he became so fearful of defections that he ordered the execution of a number of soldiers of color who were still part of his army. In June, he had warned his government that if there were to be an army on the island in the fall, it would have to consist of fresh troops sent from France (Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution [Cambridge, Mass., 2004], 281–92).

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