Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Lee to Thomas Jefferson, 20 December 1814

From William Lee

Bordeaux Decr 20 1814

Respected & very dear Sir

I take the liberty to send you a copy of a work which I have published here with a view to enlighten the people of France on the motives of our War and to help our good cause. I beg you will read it with indulgence particularly that part relating to the Bourbons which the authorities here insisted on my inserting before they would permit me to print it. It is very imperfect for want of documents but I trust you will pardon its faults and consider it as a mite in support of an administration which has contributed so much to the honor & Glory of our dear Country

It would give me great pleasure to be useful to you here—I have not forgotten how much I owe to the confidence you honord me with and regret I have never had it in my power to prove to you my sincere gratitude—I have named a darling son after you who is now seven years old and promises well

With high respect & venerration I am my very dear Sir Your obliged & obedient Servant

Wm Lee

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 July 1815 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Lee, Les États-Unis et L’Angleterre (Bordeaux, 1814; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 11 [no. 684]).

In pp. 343–4 of the enclosed book, Lee portrays the bourbons as a noble family; speaks of America’s affection for Louis XVI and its happiness that his successor, Louis XVIII, has reascended the throne of his ancestors; describes the current king of France as generous and wise; and comments that, unlike the autocratic Napoleon, he prefers to rule through kindness.

Index Entries

  • books; on history search
  • France; Bourbon dynasty restored search
  • Great Britain; and U.S. search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); family of search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); Les États-Unis et L’Angleterre search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); letters from search
  • Les États-Unis et L’Angleterre (W. Lee) search
  • Louis XVI, king of France; America’s affection for search
  • Louis XVIII, king of France; W. Lee on search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; criticized search
  • United States; and Great Britain search