Thomas Jefferson Papers

Stephen Cathalan to Thomas Jefferson, 27 June 1809

From Stephen Cathalan

Marseilles the 27th June 1809


I hope my Letter of the 14th october 1807 with the Provisions by the Ship Fabius,1 reached you Safe, and in good order; & that Mr Wam hazard bearer of my Bill on you per D. 87–10 ct for their amount, whom I took the Liberty of Introducing you, had the honor of Paying you his Personal Respects, with those of my Family & my Self with our best wishes!

after the Long & Emminent Services you rendered to your Country, having fullfilled the Last Eight years the Presidency of the United states, you are at Last, according to your wishes, Returned in the Bosom of your Dear Family & Retired to your Books and Farms! enjoying of the Gratitude & Blessings of the People of the United States, to whom you had Sacrifice’d the best part of your Life for their Well fair & future Prosperity! Leaving them for Successor your Collaborator & Good Friend James Madison,

but in your Letter to me of the 29th June 1807. you had in Contemplation to Visit again a Part of Europe and this Country; I hope the state of your health is so Good as not to be an obstacle to put this Project in Execution, nor the actual State of Political affairs;—I am only apprehensive that, tho’ wishing to travel as a Private Gentleman, your Modesty could not avoid to be yourself witness of the Tribute of admiration that would be paid everywhere, to your Past Public Caracter, Private virtues, Patriotism, Philanthropick Philosophy & Proffound Knowledge in Sciences & your Constant Study for the benefit of mankind;

on the Contrary, I think your Travel & short Stay in Some Capital Places of Europe,2 might be usefull and advantageous to Respective3 Countries, tho’ in a Private & not in a Public Capacity;

For my Part, you will not Doubt of the Great Pleasure it would afford me, if I should once more have the honor of Seeing you here or in Paris &c as I apprehend I will not be able to pay you a Long desired visit at Monticelo!

my old Mother Says She hopes Still of not Leaving this world before that happy Day; my Daughter & Mr J. Oliver present their Best Respects to you

I have the honor to be always at your Commands & with Great Respect Sir

Your admirer & most Devoted Servant!

Stephen Cathalan

RC (MHi); dateline below signature; at foot of text: “Thos Jefferson Esqr Monticelo Virginia”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 20 June 1809 received 13 Aug. 1809 and so recorded in SJL. Dupl (MHi); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Cathalan; postscript in Cathalan’s hand: “I am to the 21st october this Goes with 13 aman Seamen in Distress, whom I am directed to Send to Bord F. by Genl J. armstrong to be Shipped there, for the U.S. Your’s &c St. Can”; on stationery with seal of “Comal & Navy Agency of the United States of America at Marseilles”; at head of text: “Copy”; endorsed by TJ as received 15 Mar. 1810 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in a brief covering letter from State Department clerk Richard Forrest to TJ, 8 Aug. 1809 (RC in DLC; endorsed by TJ as received 13 Aug. 1809 and so recorded in SJL).

The French merchant Stephen (Etienne) Cathalan (1757–1819), the namesake son of an American commercial agent, had corresponded with TJ since the summer of 1786. George Washington appointed him United States vice-consul at Marseille in June 1790, and he remained in the American consular service (as commercial agent from 1801) until his death. For decades Cathalan regularly shipped TJ food and wine, as well as olive trees and other items (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 10:173–4; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , esp. 1:675, 2:1361; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:47–8, 51–2, 403, 405 [4, 17 June 1790, 6, 26 June 1802]; Cathalan to James Madison, 25 Sept. 1814, enclosed in Cathalan to TJ, 19 Mar. 1816; TJ to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 28 July 1819).

Cathalan sent French wine and olives in october 1807. Julius oliver was a close family friend of Cathalan’s and owner of the brig Jefferson (Cathalan to TJ, 2 Nov. 1805 [MHi] and 14 Oct. 1807 [DLC]).

1Dupl here adds “Captn Cole.”

2Preceding two words omitted in Dupl.

3Dupl substitutes “both” for this word.

Index Entries

  • Cathalan, Eulalie (Stephen Cathalan’s daughter) search
  • Cathalan, Mme (Stephen Cathalan’s mother) search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); identified search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); letters from search
  • Fabius (ship) search
  • food; olives search
  • Forrest, Richard; letters from accounted for search
  • France; wines from search
  • Hazard, William search
  • Oliver, Julius search
  • olives; sent to TJ search
  • trees; olive search
  • wine; French search