Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Lewis A. Pauly, 1 June 1812

To Lewis A. Pauly

Monticello June 1. 12


Having recieved, the last summer a letter from M. de Beauvois, requesting me to befriend a claim he has to an estate in New Kent under his brother in law Piernet, held by a mr Lacy under an unexecuted will, the prosecution of which claim he informed me was under your care, I wrote to mr Oster the Consul of France (not knowing your residence) to offer my service in behalf of mr Beauvois, and to make enquiry concerning yourself. he was so kind as to inform me of your address. a letter just now recieved from mr Beauvois, brings this matter again to my attention from which it had by some means escaped, and I take the liberty of asking you what is the present state of the prosecution on behalf of mr Beauvois, and to offer any good offices which I can render towards the obtaining his right. as the claim is in right of his wife the first thing to be enquired is whether M Ruelle her former husband made himself a citizen? she would of course be such if he were. if a citizen, the claim is one of right, to be prosecuted in the ordinary courts of law: if she were not a citizen, her claim becomes one of grace, for which the legislature will be to be1 petitioned, and the issue will be more doubtful. mr de Beauvois has given me a state of his claim, & Mr Oster sent me a copy of the pretended will of Piernet and of Radcliffe’s deposition. Accept the assurance of any service I can render in this case, and of my respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “M. Lis Abraham Pauly”; endorsed by TJ.

Lewis Abraham Pauly (d. 1828) was a merchant in Paris, France, before coming to Richmond in the 1780s as a creditor of Virginia. Late in that decade he was a slaveowner in New Kent County. Pauly succeeded in recovering his claims against the state in 1805. By 1811 he had moved near Staunton in Augusta County, where he presided over a celebratory Fourth of July dinner for 150 residents of the Calf Pasture area the following year. By 1820 Pauly owned eight slaves and resided in Waynesboro township, Augusta County (Vi: P. Penet account with Pauly, 20 May 1782; Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser., 7:466; Richmond Virginia Independent Chronicle, 7 May 1788, 18 Aug. 1790; Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends , 1804–05 sess., 5; Palisot de Beauvois to TJ, 19 Mar. 1811; Richmond Enquirer, 24 July 1812; DNA: RG 29, CS, Augusta Co., 1820; Augusta Co. Will Book, 16:368–70, 17:498–500).

1Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Lacy, Stephen H.; and P. Piernet’s estate search
  • New Kent County, Va.; and P. Piernet’s will search
  • Oster, Martin; and P. Piernet’s will search
  • Palisot de Beauvois, Ambroise Marie François Joseph; and P. Piernet’s will search
  • Palisot de Beauvois, Mary Ann Rouelle (Jean Rouelle’s widow; A. Palisot de Beauvois’s wife); and P. Piernet’s will search
  • Pauly, Lewis Abraham; and P. Piernet’s will search
  • Pauly, Lewis Abraham; identified search
  • Pauly, Lewis Abraham; letters to search
  • Piernet, Pierre (Peter); estate of search
  • Ratcliffe, Thomas; and P. Piernet’s will search
  • Rouelle, Jean (John); citizenship of search