Thomas Jefferson Papers

Honoré Julien to Thomas Jefferson, 1 January 1810

From Honoré Julien

Washington City Jan. 1rst 1810.


J’ai prand la liberté de vous Ecrire Cette letre que Je desire vous trouve En parfaite Santé, aincy que toutes votre aimable famille, Et En même temps pour vous Souhaiter une bonne Et heureuse année accompagnée de plusieur’s-autres, Je desire que le Repot de votre Rétraite, Soit á la Satisfaction de votre Coeur, que la Compagnie de vos petits Enfants Soit un Motiff á vous prolonger vos Jours.

J’ai L’honneur dêtre tres Respectieusement Monsieur Votre tres humble Et tres Hobeisant Serviteur

Honoré Julien

Editors’ Translation

Washington City January 1rst 1810.


I take the liberty to write this letter which I hope finds you, as well as your lovely family, in perfect health, and at the same time to wish you a good and happy new year followed by many more. I hope that the restfulness of your retirement satisfies your heart and that the company of your grandchildren is a motive to prolong your days.

I am honored to be very respectfully Sir your very humble and very obedient servant

Honoré Julien

RC (DLC); in an unidentified hand; between dateline and salutation: “Honorable Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 1 Jan. 1809 received 7 Jan. 1810 and so recorded (correctly dated) in SJL. Translation by Dr. Roland H. Simon.

Honoré Julien (1760–1830), cook, was a native of France who immigrated to the United States in 1792. On the strength of a recommendation from Philippe André Joseph de Létombe, a French diplomat in Philadelphia, TJ hired Julien as his chef in 1801 and retained him throughout his presidency. In the spring of 1809 he visited Monticello to finish training two of TJ’s slaves in French cookery. Soon thereafter Julien established a catering and confectionery business on F Street in Washington. In 1810 he announced his willingness to “serve any Private Family in the capacity of Cook by the day” and advertised the sale of cakes, fruits, nuts, sweets of all kinds, and (in season) ice cream (Létombe to TJ, 26 Mar. 1801 [DLC]; 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 , 2:1040, 1244; Lucia Stanton, Nourishing the Congress [1988], 2, 12; Nicholas P. Trist to Virginia Jefferson Randolph Trist, 23 Nov. 1828 [NcU: NPT]; Washington National Intelligencer, 8 Jan., 1 June 1810, 31 Dec. 1830).

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