Thomas Jefferson Papers

Anthony Gerna to Thomas Jefferson, 10 June 1811

From Anthony Gerna

Civitavecchia the 10th of June 1811.


I beg you will accept of another Letter of Your old & humble servant (Anthony Gerna formerly a Bookseller in Dublin) who is sincerely attached to you, and would fain to be Helpful to Your Sacred Land.—I took the liberty about two Years since to write a few lines and handed them to Mr Appleton, Consul at Leghorn, promising to forward them to you—I therein mention’d that I had left Dublin & retir’d to my native Country, Italy, frequently going back & forward from Leghorn to Rome—Spending my time amongst Antiquities and in the Objects of fine Arts—Marbles &c. &c—Offering my humble services for any acquisition that might1 be required from your Friends for the Embellishment of the New City of Washington—Recommending myself also to your kind remembrance in case I could be of any assistance to those american Individuals that might visit this Part of the Continent—I therefore beg Leave to renew again those Contents in this Letter, which I write from Civitavecchia a Sea Port about 40 miles from Rome, where I am for a few days, and where I have remarked that there is much wanted a Proper Person to act as an american Consul—And tho’ the Nature of the Business be confin’d Yet it requires a Proper Person, that should interest himself in favour of those Subjects of the united States2 that may enter into this Port, which in general is resorted at a Certain Season of the Year, when they Chiefly3 bring in Saltfish &c— There is in Rome a Certain Signor Sartori, a jeweller that acts as an american Consul; but it is entirely out of his power to do anything with Civitavecchia.

We have here a reputable Marchant a native of Civitavecchia named Teophane Arata that speaks & writes English and to whom American Captains & Supercargos have frequently recourse in their various Occurrences—Said Sigr Teofane Arata is very willing to fill up such a Vacancy and to have the Honour of being nominated Consul for the united states,4 knowing well the Duties of such an Office—He requests the Honour of being brought to Your Notice, he having always had the greatest partiality for the united States,5 and humbly begs The Favour of yr Protection for obtaining his desir’d Object; Offering at the same time his Services on any Opportunity, that might present itself in the execution6 of Yr esteemed commands in this part of the World—

I conclude these lines in offering my Prayers to the Supreme Being for the long Preservation of Your most valuable Health—humbly beging the particular favour of Yr Commands I remain with the Highest Respect and Veneration

Sir, Your most Obedt & Attached Serv7
Anthony Gerna
to the care of Mr Teophane Arata,
Marcht Civitavecchia

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 6 Oct. 1811 and so recorded in SJL. Dupl (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17); endorsed by TJ as received 22 Dec. 1811 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in TJ to James Madison, 31 Dec. 1811.

Anthony Gerna operated a bookstore in Dublin beginning about 1773, proposed to start a reading room there in 1791, and decided to retire four years later. He met TJ during a visit to Paris in 1787 and subsequently sent him books. By 1808 Gerna was living in his native Italy (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 32 vols. description ends , 12:104–5, 13:177, 14:187, 19:627–8, 28:441–2).

Gerna’s 22 Apr. 1808 letter to TJ () was written three, not two years since.

1Dupl: “may.”

2RC: “Estates.” Dupl: “States.”

3Word omitted in Dupl.

4RC: “Estates.” Dupl: “States.”

5RC: “Estates.” Dupl: “States.”

6RC: “excution.” Dupl: “execution.”

7Dupl substitutes “Humble Devoted Servant” for preceding four words.

Index Entries

  • Appleton, Thomas; consul at Leghorn search
  • Arata, Teophane; and consulship at Civitavecchia search
  • Civitavecchia; U.S. consul at search
  • Gerna, Anthony; identified search
  • Gerna, Anthony; letters from search
  • Gerna, Anthony; recommends T. Arata search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Sartori, Charles search