Thomas Jefferson Papers

Joseph St. Leger d’Happart to Thomas Jefferson, 5 March 1812

From Joseph St. Leger d’Happart

march 5th 1812, near Green’sburgh, westmd County


In Jany 1809. I attended an Indian of the Tawa-nation, left very ill, in Somerset. on their return from the Seat of Govnt & way home, him & friends, call’d at my home, & their interpreter (mr armstrong) ask’d me, whether I had made out my bill & on my telling him, I had Sent it on, he replied, you had authoris’d him, to discharge it but as I had forward it, it undoubtedly would be paid. Since that Sir! however, my bill ($189.69.) has been Several times inclos’d, detain’d in the war office & return’d, without any acceptance. The first time, not knowing the custom of the country, I had address’d it to mr Gallatin, who direct’d me, to the Secrety at war, mr Dearborn, but at that period, mr Eustis, preceded him & told maj: Craig, Pittsburgh, “its first bearer,” it would be honor’d, provided I Should annex to it, a certificat from the justice of the peace, Somerset, attesting I was the physician; which I did, besides the Signature of the prothonotary or recorder & a few lines from a gentleman of the profession: Still, I am So far depriv’d of that Sum, the last answer of mr Eustis, being, there was no funds. How then to proceed? I do not know, but as the Sum would, at this present time, be exceedingly usefull, I beg leave to inclose the whole transaction to you Sir! (in the last form, I drew & got it return again, with the Same former answer, “There was no funds.”) and in hope, as you had desired mr armstrong, to Settle it,1 you will do me the favor, to enable my receiving its amount.— As in these back-woods, we always are in want of our pecuniary faculties, if you Should be So kind, as to render me that Service, it Surely would be gratefully acknowledg’d, as your former civilities, at francis’s-hotel, Philadelphia, 1800. remain engrav’d in my mind. I have the honor to be,—Sir! your’s most respectfully

st Leger d’Happart

FC (PPiU: d’Happart Papers); entirely in d’Happart’s hand; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson, esqre”; dateline beneath signature, with “Copy” adjacent to it. Recorded in SJL as received 1 Apr. 1812. Enclosure not found. Enclosed in TJ to James Madison, 17 Apr. 1812.

Joseph St. Leger d’Happart spent eighteen months in a French prison before immigrating to the United States, arriving in Boston early in 1796. He became a clerk and in 1797 obtained United States citizenship, but he soon quarreled with his employers. The British seized a ship owned by d’Happart in 1805. Two years later he was confined to debtors’ prison in Philadelphia. D’Happart won his release in 1808 and lived thereafter in southwestern Pennsylvania (PPiU: d’Happart Papers; Appeal of J. L. D’Happart to the Public, in consequence of his business with Messrs. William, James & Nathaniel Fellows Cunningham, Boston [Boston, 1797]; New-York Commercial Advertiser, 10 Oct. 1805; d’Happart to TJ, 11 June 1808 [DLC], 20 June 1812).

D’Happart used the verso of the FC of this letter for his retained copy of a letter to William Findley, written from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, 22 May 1812, enclosing TJ to d’Happart, 17 Apr. 1812, asking Findley to call on President James Madison and “collect the amount of my claim, which is $189.69,” and specifying that the payment should be forwarded “in a check on Pittsburgh-Bank or in any other manner you may consider perfectly safe” (FC in PPiU: d’Happart Papers; entirely in d’Happart’s hand; at foot of text: “To the Honorable Wm Findley, Member of Congress City of Washington”; endorsed by d’Happart).

tawa-nation: the Ottawa nation. In March 1809 William Eustis succeeded rather than preceded Henry Dearborn as secretary of war.

1Preceding two words interlined in place of “Sollicit.”

Index Entries

  • Craig, Isaac; and J. S. L. d’Happart search
  • Dearborn, Henry; as secretary of war search
  • Eustis, William; as secretary of war search
  • Findley, William; and J. S. L. d’Happart’s claim search
  • Gallatin, Albert; as secretary of the treasury search
  • Happart, Joseph St. Leger d’; identified search
  • Happart, Joseph St. Leger d’; letters from search
  • Happart, Joseph St. Leger d’; seeks compensation from U.S. search
  • Indians; Ottawa search
  • Madison, James; and J. S. L. d’Happart’s claim search
  • Ottawa Indians search
  • Philadelphia; Francis’s Hotel search