Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Simeon Theus, 17 February 1817

To Simeon Theus

M[ont]ic[ello] [in] Virginia Feb. 17. 1[7].


By a letter of Oct. 20. from mr Appleton our Consul at Leghorn I am informed that he had shipped on board the brig Saucy-Jack, Capt Humphreys for Charleston S.C. 2. cases containing together 87. bottles of Florence wine, consigned to the1 Collector of Charleston. being in the practice of importing my wines & some other articles annually from Marseiles & Leghorn, at which places vessels to any particular port of the US. cannot always be found, I have been obliged to take the liberty of desiring mr Ca[tha]lan & mr Appleton our Consuls at those places, to put them on board any vessel bound to any port between Cape Cod & Cape Henry; and (not having correspondents at these places) to consign them to the Collector of the port, on whose kindness I would throw myself to recieve & forward them. it is from necessity I suppose that mr Appleton has sent the above cases to your port, and rendered2 it necessary for me, with this apology, to ask the favor of your information whether they are arrived, and what is the amount of duties & charges which shall be immediately remitted you thro’ Messrs Gibson & Jefferson my correspondents in Richmond by a bill, or by myself in bills of the US. bank if they shall have reached us by that time: on reciept of which I will request you to forward them by any vessel bound to Norfolk or Richmond to my sd correspondents in Richmond who will pay freight and other charges from your port. excuse, if you please, this trouble which, being extraofficial, I had no right, nor indeed intention, to have brought on you, and accept the assurance of my great respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover of otherwise unlocated letter from Archibald Thweatt to TJ, 2 Feb. 1817 (addressed: “Thomas Jefferson esq: Monticello Albemarle county Va”; franked; postmarked Richmond, 4 Feb.; recorded in SJL as received 6 Feb. 1817 from Richmond); portions faint, with date of composition confirmed by endorsement and SJL; at foot of text: “The Collector of Charleston”; endorsed by TJ as a letter to “Theus Simon” and so recorded in SJL.

Simeon Theus (d. 1821), merchant and public official, served in the Continental army, 1775–83, rising from second lieutenant to captain and enduring British captivity after the fall of Charleston in 1780. He was awarded the brevet rank of major in 1783 and later joined the Society of the Cincinnati. Following the war Theus was a partner in a Charleston factorage firm. He served as a South Carolina commissioner for settling the state’s Revolutionary War claims against the United States, and he was also a state treasurer and cashier of the state bank. In 1800 President John Adams nominated Theus as commissioner of valuations for the direct tax in South Carolina. He accepted the position but resigned less than a year later. In 1802 Theus declined TJ’s nomination as commissioner of bankruptcy for South Carolina, but he accepted appointment as collector at Charleston in 1806 and held that post until 1819. As collector, Theus helped enforce the Embargo of 1807 and was sued in this capacity in the prominent case of Gilchrist v. Collector of Charleston. A circuit court decision in the plaintiff’s favor the following year circumscribed the power of TJ’s administration to detain ships until stronger legislation was obtained (Heitman, Continental Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1783, rev. ed., 1914 description ends , 538; Charleston South-Carolina Gazette, and Public Advertiser, 11/15 Dec. 1784; Charleston City-Gazette & Daily Advertiser, 22 May, 24 Dec. 1794, 30 Aug. 1800, 24 Dec. 1802; Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton [1961–87], 14:295, 16:42; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 40 vols. description ends , 34:136n, 37:152–3, 512–3, 699, 711; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:337, 338, 350, 2:16, 17, 3:170 [5, 7 Feb., 28 Apr. 1800, 20, 21 Jan. 1806, 26 Jan. 1819]; TJ to Theus, 10 Sept. 1808 [DLC]; ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends , 12:142 [William Johnson]; The Federal Cases: Comprising Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit and District Courts of the United States [1894–97], 10:355–66; Charleston City Gazette and Commercial Daily Advertiser, 7 July 1818, 11 Apr. 1821; gravestone inscription in Circular Congregational Church Burying Ground, Charleston).

1Reworked from “you.”

2Edge chipped, with ending of this word rewritten by TJ.

Index Entries

  • Appleton, Thomas; and wine for TJ search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); and wine for TJ search
  • Florence, Italy; wine of search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); and wine acquired by TJ search
  • Humphreys, Richard; captain ofSaucy Jack search
  • Saucy Jack (brig) search
  • Theus, Simeon; and wine for TJ search
  • Theus, Simeon; as collector at Charleston search
  • Theus, Simeon; identified search
  • Theus, Simeon; letters to search
  • Thweatt, Archibald; letters from accounted for search
  • wine; of Florence search
  • wine; sent to TJ search