Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Tadeusz Kosciuszko, 3 July 1815

To Tadeusz Kosciuszko

Monticello July 3. 15.

My dear General & friend

I have recently recieved your letter (without date) requesting me to have the remittance of your annual interest promptly made, adding to it the principal also, as soon as our peace with England should be ratified, and ‘provided you should not lose much by that.’ your distresses from the difficulty and irregularity of remittance, have been anxiously felt here, and I am confident mr Barnes spared no pains to make the remittances duly, but so totally were commercial dealings with the states of Europe suspended by the war that it was very rarely possible to procure a bill thro’ any channel. it was for this reason I endeavored to establish for you a credit with mr Morton of Bordeaux, who might furnish your interest regularly, and recieve his reimbursement by payments which could be regularly made to a partner or correspondent here. but on the entire interruption of commerce mr Morton’s correspondent here declined giving bills on him. Now that intercourse with Europe is restored, it is hoped that these irregularities will cease. accordingly on the first revival of intercourse mr Barnes remitted to messrs Barings of London for your use the draught of messrs Bowie & Kurtz on William Murdoch of London for 1822 D–22 C which sum he does not doubt messrs Barings have conveyed to your hands ere this. my preceding letters will have informed you of the fortunate withdrawal of your 8000.D. from the bank of Pensylvania a little before that, with all the other banks, stopped payment; that we had reinvested the 8000. in a loan to the US. with a bonus which raised your capital to 10,000.D. @ 6. per cent, besides a reserve of a part as interest to be remitted to you; and that the distresses of the treasury having obliged them to allow subsequent lenders to the same loan an additional bonus of 25. per cent, they had in justice extended the same addition to their earlier lenders, in requital of their promptness to aid the government; and this raised your capital again from 10,000. to 12,500.D. @ 6. per cent. my letter of Mar 1. informed you I should deposit the 4500.D. in my hands in the Treasury of the US. in exchange for their notes bearing an interest of 5 per cent. this was accordingly done. these notes, after remaining at par for some time, are now rising; so also is the stock generally of the US. which has been under par during the war; and could not even now be sold but at a sensible loss. on this consideration and the prospect of their rise to their natural advance above par, I have availed you of the discretionary proviso of your letter, ‘pourvu que je ne perd pas beaucoup,’ and declined directing a sale of your funds till further orders. their present state is therefore this. instead of your antient1 capital of 12,500.D. yielding about 8. per cent, & consequently 1000.D. you have now a capital of 17,000 D. yielding 5 and 6. per cent to the amount of 985.D. annually, as you will see by mr Barnes’s accounts now inclosed, with the prospect that on the revival of other monied institutions of higher profits, your enlarged capital, may be invested in them, and produce an enlarged interest of 7. or 8. per cent as before. I have been more confirmed in my doubts as to the remittance of your capital by the clouds which at present overspread the horison of Europe, and threaten it with a general war. I thought it better, on this change of prospect from that under which you wrote, to give you time to consider whether you could place your funds in a situation as safe, and as profitable as their present one. and in the moment you shall communicate to me a confirmation of your wish to change their deposit to Europe, they shall instantly be sold to the best advantage the market may offer, and remitted either to London or Amsterdam, on which places, in time of peace bills are always to be had. perhaps also they may be had on Bordeaux.

It is a matter of great comfort to us that our late war with England was waged single handed. that nation just issuing triumphantly from a general war, freed from all fears of an enemy nearer home, full armed & equipped, suddenly bore down on us, just buckling on our armour, and deserted by the world, with all this mighty force, devoting us to entire destruction. they figured to themselves that they were to take for their own use the province of Maine, to give to their Indian allies the states & territories North of the Ohio, to enable the Yankee states to separate and become their allies, and reduce the poor residuum to be powerless enemies if not humble subjects. this enemy, the first year, gained some advantages, by bribing the treacherous, & beating the ignorant of our officers. the brave however and the able among these soon becoming prominent, he was defeated at every point on the land and water, leaving it doubtful on which he was most disgraced, and, by a timely peace was glad to save his possessions on our continent, which two campaigns more, if not one, would have certainly made ours. In the Revolutionary war, we had on our side France, Spain and Holland, and all our successes were ascribed to them. we have now had the battle to ourselves. England has seen that we can do her more injury than any enemy on earth; because no other can get at her; and I trust she will abate in her insults and injuries to us. and the other nations of Europe will, I hope, percieve that we are pacific from principle, but warlike on provocation. we have added about 60. millions to our debt, but shall raise 40. millions by our taxes of this year, without a murmur, so thoroughly had our people begun to devote all their means to the war. Colo Monroe’s plan for the army and militia, which would have given full command of every man able to bear arms, was lost by a small majority in one house of Congress, but would have been passed by a great one at their next meeting, every one seeing that that alone would place us above the injuries of the world. I hope, amidst the metamorphoses projected in Europe that something will be done for your country, and that you will live in health and vigor to see it replaced on the map of Europe, and to aid in giving it good laws and a practicable government. this is the sincere prayer of

ever & affectionately yours

Th: Jefferson

RC (Uk: Additional Manuscript 39672). PoC (MHi); at foot of first page: “General Kosciusko”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosures: enclosures 1, 2, and 3 to Barnes to TJ, 25 May 1815. Enclosed in TJ to James Monroe, 15 July 1815.

Kosciuszko’s letter (without date) is printed above at 14 Mar. 1815.

Secretary of War James monroe’s plan to increase the size of the United States Army and of state militias was contained in a report of 17 Oct. 1814. The Senate approved two bills in response to Monroe’s suggestions, but the only one to become law was “An Act making further provision for filling the ranks of the army of the United States,” 10 Dec. 1814. The House of Representatives rejected the Senate’s militia bill, which called for 80,430 troops from the states and territories. The compromise bill approved 27 Jan. 1815, “An Act to authorize the President of the United States to accept the services of state troops and of volunteers,” sanctioned the use of no more than 40,000 militiamen, exclusive of officers (ASP, Military Affairs, 1:514–7; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. (All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. Citations given below are to the edition mounted on the American Memory website of the Library of Congress and give the date of the debate as well as page numbers) description ends , 13th Cong., 3d sess., 109, 992 [22 Nov., 27 Dec. 1814]; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, 1845–67, 8 vols. description ends , 3:146–7, 193–5; Stagg, Madison’s War description begins John C. A. Stagg, Mr. Madison’s War: Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early American Republic, 1783–1830, 1983 description ends , 457–68).

your country: Poland.

1Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • American Revolution; TJ on search
  • An Act making further provision for filling the ranks of the army of the United States (1814) search
  • An Act to authorize the President of the United States to accept the services of state troops and of volunteers (1815) search
  • Army, U.S.; and militia search
  • Army, U.S.; expansion of search
  • Bank of Pennsylvania; stock owned by T. Kosciuszko search
  • Baring Brothers & Company (London firm); and remittances to T. Kosciuszko search
  • Barnes, John; and T. Kosciuszko’s American investments search
  • Barnes, John; handles financial transactions search
  • Bowie & Kurtz (Georgetown firm) search
  • Canada; TJ anticipates American conquest of search
  • debt, public; TJ on search
  • Florida; TJ on U.S. acquisition of search
  • Great Britain; TJ on war with search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and T. Kosciuszko’s American investments search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; debt to T. Kosciuszko search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; American Revolution search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Great Britain search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; the acquisition of Canada search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; the acquisition of Florida search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; war with Great Britain search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; and investment in U.S. government loan search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; Bank of Pennsylvania stock of search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; letters to search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; remittances to search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; TJ’s debt to search
  • military; expansion of search
  • militia; and War of1812 search
  • Monroe, James; memorandum of on U.S. military search
  • Monroe, James; on expansion of U.S. military search
  • Morton, John Archer; and TJ’s payments to T. Kosciuszko search
  • Murdock, William; and bills of exchange search
  • Poland; partitions of search
  • Revolutionary War; TJ on search
  • Treasury Department, U.S.; treasury notes search
  • United States; and government stock search
  • United States; national debt search
  • War of1812; militia activity search
  • War of1812; TJ on search