Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, André Thoüin, and Bartelémy de Faujas-Saint Fond, 16 May 1809

To Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, André Thoüin, and Bartelémy Faujas de Saint-Fond

Monticello May 16.2 09.

My dear Sir & friend1

The bearer hereof, mr Robert M. Patterson, is son of mr Robert Patterson, professor of Mathematics in the college of Philadelphia, Director of the mint of the US. & a Vicepresident of the Philosophical society. having gone through his course of studies3 here he goes to Paris to advance his stock of knolege by the superior aids which that place affords. I have not the pleasure of being4 personally acquainted with him, but learn from sources worthy of all confidence, that he is correct in his morals, & conduct, & earnest5 in the worthy pursuits which carry him to Europe. a friendship of long standing with6 his father, & the desire of being useful to himself induce me to take the liberty of making him known to you, of solliciting your friendly attentions & counsel to him in the objects of his journey & of expressing my entire belief that he will prove7 himself worthy of any good offices you may be so kind as to render him. I avail myself with pleasure of this & every occasion of renewing to you the assurances of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DeGH: Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours Papers, Winterthur Manuscripts). PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “M. Dupont de Nemours Membre de l’Institut”; endorsed by TJ. RC (IaU: Presidential Letters); dated 18 May 1809; wording nearly identical to text to Du Pont de Nemours; endorsed by Thoüin as received 30 Sept. 1809. PoC (MHi); dated 16 May 1809; at foot of text: “M. Thouin Membre de l’institut et de plusieurs societés Professeur d’agriculture au Museum d’histoire naturel”; endorsed by TJ. PoC (DLC); dated 16 May 1809; at foot of text: “M. Faujas de St Fond Membre de l’institut <national de France> et de plusieurs societés, Professeur de geologie au Museum d’Histoire naturelle”; endorsed by TJ. Recorded separately in SJL under 16 May 1809 as three texts “Introductory of Robert M. Patterson.” Enclosed in a brief covering letter from TJ to Robert Patterson, Monticello, 16 May 1809, stating that his “desire of answering your request by the return of the same post which brought it, & which is now in the moment of it’s departure induces me to hurry the present inclosure” and adding only his regards (RC in possession of Major R. M. Patterson, Chicago, 1945, addressed: “Mr Robert Patterson Philadelphia,” stamped and postmarked, endorsed by Patterson; PoC in MHi, endorsed by TJ).

Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours (1739–1817), a native of Paris who became one of the chief propagandists of the Physiocratic school of thought during the 1760s, was appointed inspector of French manufactures in 1774. By the time he met TJ in the fall of 1787, he had already made a name for himself as a writer, political economist, and public servant. Du Pont was elected to the Estates General as a member of the Third Estate from Nemours in 1789, and he held a seat in the Constituent Assembly until 1791. He fled from Paris during the Reign of Terror, returned to join the Conseil d’Anciens in 1795, and relocated in 1799 to New York City, where he established an import-export business with his sons. One year later, at TJ’s request, Du Pont composed a treatise on the reform of American education. France’s refusal to honor drafts drawn on his company for provisions sent to the French troops stationed on the island of Saint Domingue caused him to return to France in 1802. During his prolonged stay in Paris, Du Pont edited a multivolume edition of the writings of Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, served as a high-ranking member of the local chamber of commerce, helped to administer the distribution of aid to needy Parisians, and continued to write on a multitude of subjects. Upon hearing of Napoleon’s escape from Elba early in 1815, he returned to the United States and there spent the remainder of his life (DBF description begins Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933– , 19 vols. description ends ; Ambrose Saricks, Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours [1965]; James McLain, The Economic Writings of Du Pont de Nemours [1977]; Dumas Malone, ed., and Linwood Lehman, trans., Correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 1798–1817 [1930]; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 15 Aug. 1817).

André Thoüin (1747–1824), botanist, served as chief gardener of the extensive Jardin des Plantes in Paris from 1764 until his death. He met TJ during the latter’s years as American minister to France and subsequently sent him seeds and corresponded with him about agricultural topics, including plant cultivation and the plow moldboard. Under Thoüin, the Jardin became the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle in 1793 and more than doubled in size. He published frequently, received seventy-two diplomas from academies and learned societies, and was active in the Société Royale d’Agriculture and Académie Royale des Sciences (DSB description begins Charles C. Gillispie, ed., Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 1970–80, 16 vols. description ends ; Yvonne Letouzey, Le Jardin des Plantes à la Croisée des chemins avec André Thouin, 1747–1824 [1989]; TJ to Thoüin, 29 Apr. 1808 [CSmH: JF-BA]).

Bartelémy Faujas de Saint-Fond (1741–1819) wrote extensively on the geology of Europe as well as on his travels to England in 1782–84. Appointed French royal commissioner for mines in 1788, he established the volcanic origin of basalt. Faujas was professor of geology at the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, 1793–1818 (DBF description begins Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933– , 19 vols. description ends ; DSB description begins Charles C. Gillispie, ed., Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 1970–80, 16 vols. description ends ; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 640).

1Preceding two words omitted in PoC to Faujas.

2RC to Thoüin: “18.”

3PoC to Faujas: “education.”

4PoC to Faujas: “I am not.”

5PoC to Faujas: “assiduous.”

6PoC to Faujas: “my friendship for.”

7PoC to Faujas: “shew.”

Index Entries

  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; and R. M. Patterson search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; identified search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; letters to search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; on education search
  • education; P. S. Du Pont de Nemours on search
  • Faujas de Saint-Fond, Barthélemy; and R. M. Patterson search
  • Faujas de Saint-Fond, Barthélemy; identified search
  • Faujas de Saint-Fond, Barthélemy; letters to search
  • gardens; Jardin des Plantes search
  • gardens; Jardin du Roi search
  • geology; scholars of search
  • Institut de France; members of search
  • Jardin des plantes et Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle; mentioned search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction from search
  • Oeuvres (A. R. J. Turgot) search
  • Patterson, Robert; friendship with TJ search
  • Patterson, Robert; letters to accounted for search
  • Patterson, Robert Maskell; letters of introduction from TJ search
  • Thoüin, André; and R. M. Patterson search
  • Thoüin, André; identified search
  • Thoüin, André; letters to search
  • Turgot, Anne Robert Jacques; Oeuvres search