Thomas Jefferson Papers

Reuben G. Beasley to Thomas Jefferson, 29 September 1817

From Reuben G. Beasley

American Consulate Havre, Sep. 29, 1817.


By the ship Atlas Cap. Jennison bound to Alexandria I have this day shipped to the care of Robt Patton Jr. a Case of Books received from De Bure freres of Paris for you—value fr. 700.

I avail myself of this occasion to make you a tender of my Services here, and am with great respect—   , Sir,

Your Obedient Servant

R G Beasley

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as a letter from “Beasley B.” received 23 Dec. 1817 and so recorded, with the last name rendered as “Beaseley,” in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to David Gelston, 28 Jan. 1818, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked.

Reuben Gaunt Beasley (ca. 1778–1847), merchant and public official, was a native of Fredericksburg. By 1809 he lived in Bordeaux as a partner in the mercantile firm of Beasley, Bell & Company, and the next year he spent time in Hamburg as a partner in the London and Petersburg firm of William and John Bell & Company. In 1811 Beasley was appointed interim consul at London. During the ensuing conflict he served as the United States agent for prisoners of war, 1812–15, receiving much criticism from Americans confined at Dartmoor. President James Madison appointed Beasley consul at Gibraltar in 1815, but he declined the post. The next year Madison appointed him consul at Le Havre, a position he held from 1817 until his death, despite an abortive attempt by President John Tyler to remove him early in 1845. During his long tenure in Le Havre, Beasley helped introduce steam navigation to that city (Beasley, Bell & Company to John Bell, 14 June 1809, William Porter to John Dawson, 1 Oct. 1811, and Beasley to James Monroe, 2 May 1815 [all in DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17]; Beasley to Monroe, 27 Sept. 1811 [DNA: RG 59, CD, London]; Boston Weekly Messenger, 22 Nov. 1811; Madison, Papers, Pres. Ser., 4:47–8, and Retirement Ser., 1:11–2; ASP, Foreign Relations, 3:590; Boston Gazette, 25 May 1815; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:627, 3:61, 62, 6:397, 7:249 [2, 3 Mar. 1815, 16, 19 Dec. 1816, 26 Feb. 1845, 22 Dec. 1847]; Beasley to Madison, [July 1816] [DLC: Madison Papers]; Baltimore American & Commercial Daily Advertiser, 2 May 1845; Michel Mollat, comp., Les Origines de la Navigation a Vapeur [1970], 31; Beasley’s death certificate, no. 307 in FrRoADSM: Ingouville parish register of births, marriages, and deaths; New York Anglo American, 19 June 1847).

Index Entries

  • Atlas (ship) search
  • Beasley, Reuben Gaunt; and books for TJ search
  • Beasley, Reuben Gaunt; identified search
  • Beasley, Reuben Gaunt; letter from search
  • de Bure Frères (Paris firm); TJ purchases books from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; purchases from de Bure Frères (Paris firm) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jennison, Charles (ship captain) search
  • Patton, Robert (d.1826); and books for TJ search