Thomas Jefferson Papers

Edward Bancroft to Thomas Jefferson, 5 September 1815

From Edward Bancroft

London Septr 5th 1815.

My Dear Sir

Though some years, & many great events have intervened, since the date of your last letter to me, you will I flatter myself, pardon the liberty which I take in addressing you, to assure you of the continuance of my highest Esteem & best wishes, and also to introduce to the honor of your favourable notice, & Kind protection, the Viscount Barziza, who will become the Bearer of this Letter—He is the Youngest of the two Sons of the late Count Antonio Barziza, & of the two Grandsons of our deceased friend the late Mr Paradise; who was honored with so much of your friendship & Kindness, formerly at Paris, that I am persuaded you will favourably recieve this child of his daughter, & afford him all convenient advice, countenance, & assistance, towards the attainment1 of his principal object, in going to Virginia; which is that of Claiming & qualifying himself to inherit, the Estates lately possessed by his deceased grandmother Mrs Paradise; which by her marriage Settlement & by subsequent acts, were Secured to the issue of her Daughter the late Lucy Countess Barziza, as you will doubtless recollect—Her eldest Son, the present Count Barziza, is now here, & intends in a few months also to proceed to Virginia to qualify himself according to the Laws of your State to partake of the inheritance in question; but being married & having left his Lady far advanced in Pregnancy at Venice, he wishes first to return to that City, which I hope he may do without putting his American rights into any Jeopardy; though in fact, we have not been able here to obtain any precise & authentic information of your Laws on that Subject: a circumstance which will I hope be allowed to have a favourable operation for the absent claimant, if there should be any precise time prescribed for his appearance in America, & if that time should prove to be shorter than is supposed.

I congratulate you sincerely on the prospect of a long continuance of Peace & high prosperity, which seems to be now opened to the United States; & beg you to be assured of the great respect & sincere devotion with which I have the honor to be My Dear Sir

Your most faithful & most Obedient Servant

Edwd Bancroft

RC (DLC); dateline at foot of text; at foot of first page: “Thomas Jefferson Esq. &c. &c &c.”; endorsed by TJ as received 15 Dec. 1815 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in Philip I. Barziza to TJ, 6 Dec. 1815.

Edward Bancroft (1744–1821), physician, chemist, and spy, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, studied medicine in Connecticut, and worked as a doctor in Dutch Guiana before moving to London in 1767 to further his education. He practiced medicine in London and worked as a journal editor and author. Bancroft befriended Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Priestley, researched and wrote on vegetable dyes, and won election in 1773 to the Royal Society of London. During the American Revolution, Bancroft spent time in Paris and London employed as a spy by both the British and the Americans. While TJ resided in Europe, he corresponded extensively with Bancroft on the financial difficulties of John Paradise and Lucy Ludwell Paradise. Bancroft was awarded a British monopoly, 1785–99, on the importation of oak-bark dyes that he developed for calico printing, and the dye remained in use for more than a century. He died in Margate, England (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ; Franklin, Papers description begins Leonard W. Labaree and others, eds., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, 1959– , 40 vols. description ends ; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 38 vols. description ends , esp. 8:522, 9:41n; Julian P. Boyd, “Death by a Kindly Teacher of Treason?,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 3d ser., 16 [1959]: 165–87, 319–42, 515–50; London Morning Chronicle, 13 Sept. 1821).

Philip Ignatius Barziza (1796–1875) was a native of Venice. After arriving in the United States in 1815 to claim the estate of his grandmother Lucy Ludwell Paradise, he settled in Williamsburg. Philip and his brother Giovanni (John L.), Count Barziza, petitioned the Virginia General Assembly in 1816 for title to their grandmother’s land, but the request was denied the following year. In 1824 the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that, because they were foreign-born, they could not inherit land in Virginia. Barziza enlisted TJ’s aid and in 1817 visited him at Monticello. After abandoning the claim to his inheritance, Barziza was equally unsuccessful in attempts to be named the American consul at Tangiers in 1825 and a bearer of dispatches from the United States to Europe in 1826. He was the keeper of Williamsburg’s Public Hospital (later the Eastern Asylum, and later still the Eastern State Hospital), 1837–41, and a steward in 1850. By 1847 Barziza was bankrupt. In 1854 he was confirmed as federal customs collector and revenue inspector for the port of Yorktown. Barziza eventually moved to Texas along with his wife and several of his children and died in Houston (Archibald Bolling Shepperson, John Paradise and Lucy Ludwell of London and Williamsburg [1942], 446–8; R. Henderson Shuffler, “Decimus et Ultimus Barziza,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 66 [1963]: 501–12; petition of Barziza brothers, read 21 Nov. 1816, rejected 1 Jan. 1817 [Vi: RG 78, Legislative Petitions, Miscellaneous]; Va. Reports description begins Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, 1798–  (title varies; originally issued in distinct editions of separately numbered volumes with Va. Reports volume numbers retroactively assigned; original volume numbers here given parenthetically) description ends , 23 [2 Randolph], 302–8; TJ to Thomas Appleton, 1 Aug. 1817; Barziza to TJ, 10 Mar. 1824; Clay, Papers description begins James F. Hopkins and others, eds., The Papers of Henry Clay, 1959–92, 11 vols. description ends , 4:105–6, 5:373; Henry M. Hurd, ed., The Institutional Care of the Insane in the United States and Canada [1916], 3:711, 718; Richmond Enquirer, 29 Jan. 1847; DNA: RG 29, CS, Williamsburg, 1850; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 9:192, 254 [11 Jan., 28 Feb. 1854]; Galveston Daily News, 26 Mar. 1875; gravestone inscription in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston).

TJ’s last letter to Bancroft was dated 25 Sept. 1789 (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 38 vols. description ends , 15:476).

1Manuscript: “attaintment.”

Index Entries

  • Bancroft, Edward; correspondence with TJ search
  • Bancroft, Edward; identified search
  • Bancroft, Edward; introduces P. I. Barziza to TJ search
  • Bancroft, Edward; letter from search
  • Barziza, Antonio, Count; family of search
  • Barziza, Giovanni (John L.), Count; and L. L. Paradise estate search
  • Barziza, Giovanni (John L.), Count; family of search
  • Barziza, Giovanni (John L.), Count; proposed visit to U.S. of search
  • Barziza, Lucy Paradise, Countess (Antonio Barziza’s wife; John and Lucy L. Paradise’s daughter); family of search
  • Barziza, Philip Ignatius; and L. L. Paradise estate search
  • Barziza, Philip Ignatius; identified search
  • Barziza, Philip Ignatius; introduced to TJ by E. Bancroft search
  • Barziza, Philip Ignatius; visits Monticello search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Barziza, Philip I. search
  • Paradise, John; family of search
  • Paradise, Lucy Ludwell (John Paradise’s wife); estate of search
  • Paradise, Lucy Ludwell (John Paradise’s wife); marriage settlement of search