Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Appleton to Thomas Jefferson, 26 December 1814

From Thomas Appleton

Paris 26 December 1814.

I believe, Sir, that the last time I had the honor of addressing you, it was on the Subject of the bust of General Washington modell’d by Cerracchi. I had, in vain, long sought this bust at your Request, when finally I discover’d that mr Lee, Consul at Bordeaux was the owner of it; at which place Cerracchi disembark’d from America, previous to his fatal journey to Paris.—In compliance with my advice mr Lee has forwarded it to me in Italy, and I have Confided it with a friend at Carrara.—All those Americans who have Seen it, and among the number is our friend mr mazzei, universally pronounce it an incomparable likeness; and I have had already copied various busts in marble by a Sculptor in that City and who in this branch of the art, is perhaps little inferior to Canova of Rome.—Should the government, as I have been inform’d, be desirous of a Statue or a bust, it Can be executed at Carrara on very moderate terms, & Superior in Stile to any other spot in Europe.—As our Commerce became totally anihilated in the mediterranean, I Came to this City a few months since to terminate Some Small unadjusted Concerns, when the Consulate of this place became vacant by the dismissal of mr Warden.—Mr Barnet now officiates, but only provisionally, as he is Consul for Havre, and will very shortly repair to his consulate on the Re-opening of trade, a period, it seems, from the Conclusion of peace, very near approaching.—I am, Sir, for various Reasons after having fill’d the Consulate of Leghorn for Seventeen years, now desirous to obtain an exchange in that of the Consulate, and agency of Paris, and to which end I have written to the government, as likewise, has mr Crawford interested himself to obtain for me this nomination.—I have particularisd “and agency,” for you are Sensible, Sir, that the Consulate of this City, tho’ it is attended with considerable occupation, it is unaccompanied with any pecuniary emoluments, unless the form of agency is annex’d to it; it is for this reason, the government has Connected them together, and Affix’d the Salary of 2000– Dollars—may I then request, Sir, your generous mediation in my behalf, should it not be inconsistent with those rules which govern you on Similar Applications.—

I beg, Sir, you will Accept, the most unfeign’d expressions of my unalterable respect—
Th: Appleton
Consul for U.S.A

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Th. Jefferson Esqr monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Mar. 1815 and so recorded in SJL.

Thomas Appleton (1763–1840), the son of a merchant in Boston, traveled to France in 1786 bearing a letter of introduction to TJ. Over the course of the next few years he was involved in supplying oil to Paris. Appleton attempted unsuccessfully to secure the United States consulship at Lisbon early in the 1790s. In 1798 President John Adams appointed him consul at Leghorn (Livorno), and he held that position until his death. During his long tenure Appleton procured wine and marble for TJ and corresponded with the former president about Philip Mazzei and his relations, the settlement of Mazzei’s estate, the execution of work in marble for the University of Virginia, and other matters (Isaac Appleton Jewett, comp., Memorial of Samuel Appleton, of Ipswich, Massachusetts [1850], 36; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 37 vols. description ends , 10:160, 14:60, 18:152, 358–9; Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser., 9:246–7; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:260, 5:290 [7, 8 Feb. 1798, 15 June 1840]; Philipp Fehl, “The Account Book of Thomas Appleton of Livorno: A Document in the History of American Art, 1802–1825,” Winterthur Portfolio 9 [1974]: 123–51; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1116, 1318, 1362, 1406–7; Appleton to TJ, 25 Oct. 1815, 18 Mar. 1820, 8 May 1825).

TJ first wrote Appleton about Giuseppe Ceracchi’s bust of general washington on 5 July 1803. The consul’s most recent letter to TJ, which also dealt with the procurement of the sculpture, was dated 26 Nov. 1808 (both DLC). The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City owns a marble version of this bust (Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser., 9:132–5). Ceracchi’s fatal journey to paris ended in January 1801 with his execution for his alleged participation in a plot to assassinate Napoleon (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 37 vols. description ends , 32:62n).

Appleton requested a transfer to the consulate in Paris in letters to Secretary of State James Monroe and President James Madison of 15 Aug. and 26 Dec. 1814, respectively (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17). Both letters claimed the support of William H. crawford, United States minister plenipotentiary to France.

Index Entries

  • Appleton, Thomas; and sculptures of G. Washington search
  • Appleton, Thomas; desires transfer to U.S. consulate in Paris search
  • Appleton, Thomas; identified search
  • Appleton, Thomas; letters from search
  • Barnet, Isaac Cox; as consul search
  • building materials; marble, Carrara search
  • Canova, Antonio; Italian sculptor search
  • Carrara marble search
  • Ceracchi, Giuseppe; bust of G. Washington by search
  • Ceracchi, Giuseppe; execution of search
  • Crawford, William Harris; and T. Appleton’s consular ambitions search
  • Italy; marble from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); and bust of G. Washington search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and appointments search
  • marble; Carrara search
  • Mazzei, Philip; and bust of G. Washington search
  • Monroe, James; and appointments search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; plot to assassinate search
  • Paris; U.S. consul at search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • sculpture; of G. Washington search
  • Warden, David Bailie; removed from consulship search
  • Washington, George; sculpture of search