Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Mease, 15 October 1815

To James Mease

Monticello Oct. 15. 15

Dear Sir

I am sorry it is not in my power to give you descriptions of the medals mentioned in your letter of the 1st instant. those to Colo Washington, Fleury, & Paul Jones were made under the direction of Colo Humphreys, and according to devices which he obtained. he can probably give you the descriptions you desire. duplicates of all these medals were struck for Genl Washington in silver, and delivered to him by myself, & they must now be in the possession of his representatives. there was a medal struck under the direction of Dr Franklin on the alliance with France. those you suppose to have been struck on the declaration of Independance and the capture of André, I never saw nor heard of, and unless your information be certain, I would express my belief that none such were ever struck by public authority. the journals of the old Congress however would settle this, as every medal voted by them is there entered. Accept the assurance of my great respect & esteem.

Th: Jefferson

RC (PPAmP: Thomas Jefferson Papers); addressed: “Doctr James Maese Philadelphia”; franked; postmarked Milton, 18 Oct.; endorsed by Mease. PoC (DLC); on verso of a reused address cover from John George Baxter to TJ; endorsed by TJ.

George W. Erving presented TJ with restrikes of the medals honoring Colonel William washington, John paul jones, and others in 1823 (TJ to Erving, [12] Apr. 1823; Stein, Worlds description begins Susan R. Stein, The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, 1993 description ends , 245–7). While in France, TJ oversaw the production of some commemorative medals, and on arriving in New York in 1790 he delivered a set to George Washington (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 , 16:53–79). Benjamin franklin began designing the Libertas Americana medal in 1782 and commissioned it the following year to celebrate the American alliance with France (Franklin, Papers description begins Leonard W. Labaree and others, eds., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, 1959– , 40 vols. description ends , 36:lviii–lix, 644; Mease, “Description of some of the Medals, Struck in relation to Important Events in North America, before and since the Declaration of Independence by the United States,” in Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 3d ser., 4 [1834]: 307). On 3 Nov. 1780 the Continental Congress resolved that New York militiamen John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Van Wart should receive silver medals for their role in the capture of Major John andré, a British spy (Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 [1904–37], 18:1009–10; Mease, “Description of some of the Medals,” 303–5).

Index Entries

  • André, John; medal commemorating capture of search
  • Declaration of Independence; medal commemorating search
  • Erving, George William; gives medals to TJ search
  • Fleury, François Louis Teissèdre de; medal commemorating Revolutionary War service of search
  • France; medal commemorating U.S. alliance with search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; and medal commemorating Franco-American alliance search
  • Humphreys, David; and medals commemorating Revolutionary War search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; and medals commemorating Revolutionary War search
  • Jones, John Paul; medal commemorating Revolutionary War service of search
  • Mease, James; and medals search
  • Mease, James; letters to search
  • medals; commemorating Declaration of Independence search
  • medals; commemorating Franco-American alliance search
  • medals; commemorating Revolutionary War service search
  • Paulding, John; medal commemorating Revolutionary War service of search
  • Revolutionary War; medals for service in search
  • Van Wart, Isaac; medal commemorating Revolutionary War service of search
  • Washington, George; and medals commemorating Revolutionary War search
  • Washington, William; medal commemorating Revolutionary War service of search
  • Williams, David (of New York); medal commemorating Revolutionary War service of search