Thomas Jefferson Papers

Giovanni Carmignani to Thomas Jefferson, 7 April 1816

From Giovanni Carmignani

Pisa 7. Aple 1816

Chiarissimo Signore

Filippo Mazzei che si onorava dell’amicizia Sua ha cessato di vivere nel 19. del decorso mese di marzo. Egli ha lasciata una figlia ed una moglie superstiti. Ha conferita a quest’ultima la tutela dla figlia attualmente costituita in età minore, ed a me la curatela dla tutrica

Uno degli assegnamenti di qualche rilievo di questa famiglia è il credito di resto di prezzo di una tenuta che Ella, chiarissimo Signore, vendè costì per conto ed interesse del defonto Mazzei. Questa famiglia raccomanda all’ottimo suo cuore, ed all’amicizia che Ella nutriva per il defonto, il Sollecito incasso di questo prezzo, e la trasmissione di esso per sicuro canale a Livorno.

Debto ad una circostanza dolorosa1 ed infausta la occasione e l’onore di rivolgermi ad un’uomo il di cui nome è citato con venerazione per tutto ove la dignità della natura umana è Sentita.

Raccomandando alla pietà Sua uno dè più forti interessi d’una desolata famiglia io ho l’onore di essere con alta, e invariabile Stima

Di Lei chiariss. Sige

Umiliss. Divotiss. Obb. Servitore

Giovanni Carmignani

Editors’ Translation

Pisa 7. April 1816

Dear Sir

Philip Mazzei, who was honored by your friendship, died on the nineteenth of this past month of March. He is survived by his daughter and wife. He has conferred on the latter the guardianship of the daughter, currently a minor, and to me the care of the guardian.

One of the sizable assets of this family is the net income from the sale of a holding that you, dear Sir, sold on behalf and in the interest of the deceased Mazzei. Relying on your benevolence and the friendship that you nourished for the deceased, this family requests a quick collection of this sum and its transmission via a secure channel to Leghorn.

I owe to a painful and unfortunate circumstance the occasion and honor of turning to a man whose name is cited with veneration wherever human dignity is appreciated.

Recommending to your mercy one of the most important assets of a desolated family, I have the honor to be with high and unwavering esteem

Dear Sir

Your very humble devoted obliging servant

Giovanni Carmignani

RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); dateline beneath closing, with “Thomas Jefferson esquire” below that; with attestation on verso, dated 16 Apr. 1816, in an unidentified hand, signed by Giuseppe Maria Pazienza, auditor for the governor of Pisa, and Francesco Furiosi, chancellor; followed by Governor Niccolo Viviani’s 16 Apr. 1816 attestation of Pazienza’s and Furiosi’s signatures; with attestation of Viviani’s signature by Thomas Appleton, dated 15 Apr. 1816, on a separate sheet; with additional notes by TJ on verso of Appleton’s attestation: “Professor of Law in the Imperial University of Pisa, and Advocate in the courts of Florence”; endorsed by TJ as received 20 June 1816 and so recorded in SJL. Dupl (DLC); at foot of text: “Sig: Tommaso Jefferson”; with attestations identical to those on RC, except that Appleton’s is dated 20 Apr. 1816; endorsed by TJ as received 29 Aug. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. Translation by Dr. Jonathan T. Hine. Enclosed in Appleton to TJ, 15 Apr., 15 May 1816.

Giovanni Carmignani (1768–1847), attorney, educator, and writer, was born near Pisa, graduated with a law degree from the University of Pisa in 1790 and established a practice in Florence. Although he published an essay defending the death penalty in 1795, he later retracted that position, even refusing a judgeship in 1808 because of his opposition to capital punishment. Carmignani became a professor of public law at the University of Pisa, taught criminal law for much of his career, and in 1840 assumed a new professorship in legal philosophy at Pisa. He published journal essays and works on criminal law, legal history, and literature. Carmignani wrote Philip Mazzei’s epitaph (Cause Celebri Discusse dal Cav. Commendatoré Giovanni Carmignani Professore dell’ I. e R. Università di Pisa Socio di Più Accademie Italiane e Straniere [1843]; Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani [1960– ], 20:415–21; Mazzei, Writings description begins Margherita Marchione and others, eds., Philip Mazzei: Selected Writings and Correspondence, 1983, 3 vols. description ends , 3:471–2).

1RC: “circostanza e dolorosa.” Dupl: “circostanza dolorosa.”

Index Entries

  • Appleton, Thomas; and P. Mazzei’s estate search
  • Appleton, Thomas; consul at Leghorn search
  • Carmignani, Giovanni; and P. Mazzei’s estate search
  • Carmignani, Giovanni; identified search
  • Carmignani, Giovanni; letter from search
  • Furiosi, Francesco; chancellor at Pisa search
  • Italian language; letters in, from; G. Carmignani search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and P. Mazzei’s property search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; debt to P. Mazzei search
  • Mazzei, Antonia Antoni (Philip Mazzei’s second wife); and P. Mazzei’s estate search
  • Mazzei, Philip; death of search
  • Mazzei, Philip; Richmond property of search
  • Mazzei, Philip; TJ’s debt to search
  • Pazienza, Giuseppe Maria; auditor in Pisa search
  • Pini, Elisabetta Mazzei (Philip Mazzei’s daughter; Andrea Pini’s wife); and P. Mazzei’s estate search
  • Richmond, Va.; P. Mazzei’s property in search
  • Viviani, Niccolo; governor of Pisa search