Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Short to Thomas Jefferson, 5 October 1817

From William Short

Philadelphia Oct: 5. 1817

Dear sir

On my return from my summer excursion I have found here Grouchy who is preparing to set out on his long intended visit to Monticello—He begs me to mention this to you, & to say with certainty that he will be there from the 18th to the 20th of this month. I mentioned to him the uncertainty of finding you as you might be in one of your Bedford excursions—but he says he reproaches himself with having been so long without going to pay his respects to you, & has received reproaches from his friends in France already on this head, & therefore is determined to risk this journey at present, & the more so as he is anxious to present his son to you. This is the son who so well defended his father before the Council of war at Paris—He is still in the King’s service, being among those officers who are placed on half pay—He obtained a congé, as well as a younger brother, to come & visit his father, for a year—They are both to return in April next. In the mean time the younger has gone with Genl Clausel to the Tombigbee, & intends I beleive, if his father should not be allowed to return to France, to come back & naturalize himself in these United States. These are all Bonapartists of course—but Bonapartistes moderés. Grouchy was unlucky in the card he drew—for it is very evident that he would otherwise have been contented to have been a good Bourbonist—His son seems to have more solidity, & less of that levity of the ancien regime, which was so often objected to the French character. He had bright prospects under Bonap. & it is not astonishing that a young soldier should regret that order of things. The best that such men can now do however, is to accomodate themselves to the present order.

The success with which most of the transfuges from the federal ranks have met, beginning with Adams & ending with Rush will I dare say make many others pass over, & make more regret having not done it sooner—They now say that they do not change sides, but that the Government has become ultra-federalist in their measures. Monroe’s tour seems to have produced for the present a kind of amalgamation. It remains to be seen if he will not lose as much in the west as he has gained in the East—It is said Clay means to have this tried at the next Congress. If he should preach up ultra democratic principles so as to make it a trial of strength between ultra democracy & ultra-federalism, it would seem that the issue now would probably be similar to that between democracy & federalism formerly. Time will shew this better than any present speculation on the subject, and I shall not therefore trouble you with any—On the contrary I will end my letter here; and as I have been accustomed to trouble you with such long epistles heretofore I do not doubt you will find this a relief—I cannot however avoid adding assurances of all those sentiments with which I have ever been

Your friend & servant

W: Short

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 12 Oct. 1817 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Jared Sparks, 27 Dec. 1817, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Monticello Mail to Milton Virginia”; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 5 Oct.

Emmanuel, marquis de Grouchy, and other high-ranking officers in Napoleon’s army were charged with treason and summoned to military justice by Louis XVIII’s ordinance of 24 July 1815. Grouchy fled to the United States, and in his absence Alphonse de Grouchy defended his father before the war council on 19 Oct. 1816 and 8 Apr. 1817 with such success that the council declared that it lacked authority to try the elder Grouchy. Grouchy’s friend Bertrand clausel had been similarly accused (Journal des Débats politiques et litéraires, 26 July 1815, 20 Oct., 17 Nov. 1816, 9 Apr. 1817; Georges de Grouchy, Mémoires du Maréchal de Grouchy [1874], 5:1–40).

moderés: “moderate.” transfuges: “deserters.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John Quincy; mentioned search
  • Alabama Territory; French settlement in search
  • Clausel, Bertrand, comte; and French settlement in Ala. search
  • Clay, Henry; as U.S. representative from Ky. search
  • Federalist party; defections from search
  • France; Bourbon dynasty restored search
  • Grouchy, Alphonse Frédéric Emmanuel; defends E. Grouchy search
  • Grouchy, Alphonse Frédéric Emmanuel; plans visit to Monticello search
  • Grouchy, Emmanuel, marquis de; family and friends of search
  • Grouchy, Emmanuel, marquis de; plans visit to Monticello search
  • Grouchy, Victor de; travels of in U.S. search
  • Louis XVIII, king of France; restoration of search
  • Monroe, James; presidential tour search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; armies of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visits to search
  • Rush, Richard; mentioned search
  • Short, William; and E. Grouchy search
  • Short, William; letters from search
  • Short, William; on France search
  • Short, William; on J. Monroe search