Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Mayer & Brantz, 11 March 1809

To Mayer & Brantz

Washington Mar. 11. 09

The non-intercourse law prohibiting the importation of any thing from France directly, I must still rely on the indirect importation from Amsterdam. making no use therefore of the letter to mr Backer which you were so kind as to send me, I now return it with a renewal of my request that you will suffer your former orders for the books to go into execution, and the tender of assurances of my great esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

RC (Jim Reasoner, Casper, Wyo., 1993); at head of text: “Messieurs Meyer & Brantz”; endorsed as received 11 Mar. 1809 and answered 13 Mar. 1809. PoC (MHi); endorsed by TJ. Enclosure not found.

The Baltimore mercantile firm of Mayer & Brantz, founded in 1802, handled tobacco and other commercial trade between Maryland and the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, France, and India. Christian Mayer (1763–1842) arrived in Baltimore from Germany in 1784 and worked for the Netherlands firm of Valck & Company, where he met Lewis Brantz (ca. 1765–1838), a fellow German who was an explorer and surveyor before becoming supercargo of Mayer & Brantz (Brantz Mayer, Memoir and Genealogy of the Maryland and Pennsylvanian Family of Mayer [1968], 33–41, 44–6).

TJ requested some books from Mayer & Brantz early in 1808 and informed the company that government vessels sailing to Brest, Cádiz, and Lisbon would enable the firm to transact this business. The books not having arrived one year later, TJ wrote that the public vessel Mentor was going to France and could convey the books within four months, assuming that the order had not already been sent. Mayer & Brantz responded that their Amsterdam agent, T. H. backer, had been unable to send the books for want of a vessel, and they enclosed an open letter to Backer, directing TJ to forward it or not as he saw fit (TJ to Mayer & Brantz, 18 Jan. 1808, 7 Feb. 1809, and Mayer & Brantz to TJ, 8 Feb. 1809 [MHi]).

Mayer & Brantz’s reply of 13 Mar. 1809, mentioned on the endorsement to the RC above, is not recorded in SJL and has not been found.

Index Entries

  • Backer, T. H. (Amsterdam agent) search
  • Baltimore, Md.; merchants in search
  • Brantz, Lewis; identified search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; orders books search
  • Mayer, Christian; identified search
  • Mayer & Brantz (Philadelphia firm); identified search
  • Mayer & Brantz (Philadelphia firm); letters from accounted for search
  • Mayer & Brantz (Philadelphia firm); letters to search
  • Mayer & Brantz (Philadelphia firm); TJ orders books from search
  • Mentor (ship); carries packages to TJ search