Thomas Jefferson Papers

Eleuthère I. du Pont de Nemours to Thomas Jefferson, 1 March 1811

From Eleuthère I. du Pont de Nemours

Eleutherian Mills March 1st 1811.


you have probably Seen in some of the federal papers an article pretended to be the extract of one of my father’s speech in the council of Elders; I will loose no time in contradicting this infamous, wicked and Slanderous publication, but in the mean time I think I owe to the frienship with which you have always honored my father to cancel your doubts, if you could have any about it, in sending you an extract of the said Speech as published in the Journal l’historien. I will have a translation made by a Sworn interpreter and will send it to Baltimore for the perusal of those who may wish to convince themselves of the wickedness of the autor of the publication.

with great respect I remain Sir Your most obedt Servt

E. I. duPont de Nemours.

RC (DLC); at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqre”; endorsed by TJ as received 6 Mar. 1811 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

Eleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours (1771–1834), gunpowder manufacturer, was born in Paris. He apprenticed at the Régie des Poudres et Salpêtres, 1787, before taking a position at the national powder works at Essones. In 1791 du Pont helped his father, Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, run a printing house in Paris. The press was ransacked in 1797, and two years later the family sold it and moved to New York. Soon du Pont became convinced that he could turn a profit manufacturing gunpowder. After a trip to France and Spain to acquire equipment and investors, he established a factory near Wilmington, Delaware. TJ corresponded sporadically with du Pont beginning in 1803, and the following year he ordered his powder on behalf of the American government. By the War of 1812 du Pont had become the government’s principal supplier. He also diversified by investing in a woolen mill, a natural outgrowth of his pioneering efforts to breed merino sheep in America. Later du Pont served as a director of the Second Bank of the United States, 1823–25 and 1827–29, and became active in the American Colonization Society (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; DBF description begins Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933– , 19 vols. description ends ; Bessie G. Du Pont, Life of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont from Contemporary Correspondence, 12 vols. [1923–27]; du Pont to TJ, 20 July 1803 [DeGH: E. I. du Pont de Nemours Papers, Longwood Manuscripts]; TJ to du Pont, 23 Nov. 1804 [DLC]).

On 1 Mar. 1811 the New-York Evening Post copied an article from the Baltimore Federal Republican that extracted a speech allegedly given by Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours to the French Conseil d’Anciens “more than a dozen years ago.” In it he reputedly argued against implementing tobacco taxes, noting that Americans “are divided into French and British. The French is rising, the British declining. Let us then not corrupt the favourable progress of things by a paltry tax on tobacco—they are avaricious and foolish and will be vexed at it. Wait til the election is done, and then you may do as you please, for we shall have a president chosen from among our partisans—we shall have Mr. Jefferson and then the [council] of America will be ours.

Index Entries

  • Baltimore, Md.; newspapers search
  • du Pont de Nemours, Eleuthère Irénée; and father’s speech search
  • du Pont de Nemours, Eleuthère Irénée; identified search
  • du Pont de Nemours, Eleuthère Irénée; letters from search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; and speech in L’Historien search
  • Federal Republican & Commercial Gazette (Baltimore newspaper) search
  • gunpowder; manufacture of search
  • newspapers; Baltimore Federal Republican & Commercial Gazette search
  • newspapers; New-York Evening Post search
  • New York (city); New-York Evening Post search
  • New-York Evening Post (newspaper) search
  • taxes; tobacco search