Thomas Jefferson Papers

Lafayette to Thomas Jefferson, 22 April 1812

From Lafayette

Paris 22d April 1812

My dear friend

I find the dispatches By the Hornet are Just Going and altho’ I mean to write more fully By the Return of the wasp I Hastily Seize the Opportunity to let you know that my family and myself, mde de tessé, who Has Been ill, mr de tessé, m. de mun and mr de tracy1 are now all well—your Correspondance with washington will inform you of the European news.—Great Continental preparations are moving on and Seem to threaten Russia— our friend mr Barlow Has not Been able to Send a Result of His Negociation for which He keeps the wasp and is promised He will not waït Long—we Hear a British messenger is Gone to America—may He Announce Better dispositions than are Expressed By the ministers of the Regent! no Body More fervently than me wishes the U.S. may Avoid a war.

I Have Been very much Gratified with your Approbation of my Arrangement with Mm Baring and parish. mr du plantier’s Letters and other informations Being well weighed it Has Appeared to us Here that it was impossible to make a Sale or loan in America which Has Been Confirmed By mr madison’s opinion—the price to Be got in Small portions, upon long Credits, and with Every difficulty of distance and disadvantage of change Seemed to Be from ten to twelve dollars, as opportunities did offer. I Have Been Several years making in Europe fruitless attempts, which the Appearances of a war Had lately Been thought to Reduce to impossibility—your last favor made me think you Believed2 I was in time to Reap the advantages of delay By a Sale at pointe Coupee.

under those Circumstances, and the pressure of my affairs, the Ruinous Encrease of interest upon interest making it Necessary, Even in probity, to attend to a liberation, I was advised by mr Barlow and other American friends not to miss the opportunity of two English purchasers of my Lands. they Agreed, Considering their loss on the Exchange, to pay twelve dollars, Sixty francs in paris—See, my dear Jefferson, what immense inexpressible obligation I Have to that unexpected American Grant—But the Approbation of the whole world for the use I make of it would Not avail me untill I know I am approved By the friend to whom principaly I owe the provident delivery. Let me add that if my Situation did permit me to Have a plantation at3 pointe Coupee mr Baring would Readily Restore me to the possession and Even the choice of one or two of His patents.

I Have not yet Received the patent and plan of the precious tract Near the City which Has Ever Been By you Considered as the most important part of the munificent Gift. adieu, my dear Excellent friend I am most affectionately



RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 27 May 1812 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in John Graham to TJ, 23 May 1812, or James Madison to TJ, 25 May 1812.

Joel barlow advised President James Madison on 22 Apr. 1812 of the sale of Lafayette’s lands and of Barlow’s detention of the USS Hornet in hope of reporting the completion of negotiations in Paris. Unable to secure a treaty by that date, Barlow released the Hornet and detained the USS Wasp for the same purpose. Madison gave his opinion on the land negotiations in a 15 July 1811 letter to Lafayette (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 29 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 7 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 3:380–1, 4:337–9).

1Preceding four words interlined.

2Word interlined in place of “thought.”

3Reworked from “Near.”

Index Entries

  • Baring, Francis; and Lafayette search
  • Barlow, Joel; and treaty negotiations in Paris search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; health of search
  • Duplantier, Gabriel Armand Allard; and Lafayette’s La. land search
  • France; and U.S. search
  • George, Prince Regent (later George IV, king of Great Britain); as Prince of Wales search
  • Hornet, USS (sloop) search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; land of, in La. search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; letters from search
  • Madison, James; and Lafayette search
  • Mun, Alexandre François, comte de; health of search
  • Parish, John; and Lafayette search
  • Pointe Coupee, La.; Lafayette’s land at search
  • Tessé, Adrienne Catherine de Noailles de; health of search
  • Tessé, René Mans Froulay, comte de; health of search
  • United States; and France search
  • Wasp (brig); transports letters search