Thomas Jefferson Papers

Levett Harris to Thomas Jefferson, 2 July 1818

From Levett Harris

Philadelphia 2d July 1818.

Dear Sir,

I received a few days Since from Professor Fischer of Moscow, two Copies of his Essai Sur la Turquoise et Sur la Calaite, with a request that I would Seek to make one of them acceptable to Mr Jefferson.

In hastening to meet the request of Mr Fischer I beg leave to profit of the occasion to bring myself anew to your kind remembrance.

Among the lively recollections I Shall long retain of my visit to Monticello, that of the friendly wishes you were pleased to express on the Subject of my further diplomatic Service, is not the least impressive, and I confess I was not without Sanguine expectations that the design of the President was in unison with those wishes—I may also add, and without vanity, that Such was the calculations of the leading characters in this City and in a neighboring State—Such too was the impression of many Senators & representatives, testified to me at Washington.—   My Claims to Consideration were alike recognized in almost every official letter I received during my diplomatic Service, and afforded a pledge as to the dispositions of the Government on my return.

I repaired last Winter to the Seat of Government, and was received with kindness by the Chief-Magistrate.—I Soon perceived however, that what I was So anxious for, and which I flattered myself the President would pronounce favorably upon, was not to be obtained.

A Gentleman from Tennessee has been appointed to Russia.—I Shall not presume to go much further into detail at the moment, but I need not add that I expected a different treatment.

You know Sir, that the first relations with Russia were opened by me—that I paved the road to the Diplomatic Establishment, and I may add1 that my reports in the Department of State also Shew, that what has been done advantageous to my Country is Some what the result of my labors.

The Emperor Alexander besides, & his Ministers, had testified a wish for my return—This wish was often pronounced to me as to a Continuance at the seat of Empire—it was emphatically uttered at the day of my taking leave by both the Empresses, and I believe has been officially announced to this Government.

If we value the dispositions of Russia—dispositions which at this moment above all others are, I think, to be cherished, it is manifest that they could not be cultivated with more effect than by deputing a person to that Court, who had had the good fortune to make himself agreeable to its Sovereign.

I Shall Say nothing of the last events that took place at St Petersburg, on which the President has been pleased to heap Eulogy on my Conduct—tho I might indulge in some important reflections which would bring me very near an interesting opinion I remember having exchanged with You Sir, the morning I took my leave of Monticello, and which, without disguise, I may Say relates to the Gentleman now in the Occupation of the principal place in the Cabinet. But it is proper perhaps that I defer to a more apposite period addressing you further2 on this Subject.

I pray You to allow my very respectful Compliments to be made acceptable to Mr & Mrs Randolph and Miss Randolph, and to accept the renewed Sentiments of the most profound respect & veneration with which

I am, Dear Sir, Your most obedient and devoted Servant

Levett Harris.

RC (DLC); at foot of first page: “Thomas Jefferson late President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 18 July 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Gotthelf Fischer, Essai sur la Turquoise et sur la Calaite (Moscow, 1816; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 5 [no. 173]; TJ’s copy in MiU-C).

George W. Campbell (the gentleman from tennessee) had been appointed the United States envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Russia. both the empresses: the mother and wife of Alexander I of Russia, Maria Feodorovna and Elizabeth Alexeievna. The last events that took place at st petersburg probably refers to the Kosloff affair (see James Monroe to TJ, 22 Oct. 1816, and note). As secretary of state, John Quincy Adams occupied the principal place in the cabinet.

1Manuscript: “aad.”

2Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Adams, John Quincy; as secretary of state search
  • Alexander I, emperor of Russia; diplomatic appointments search
  • Alexeievna, Elizabeth, empress of Russia; and L. Harris search
  • Campbell, George Washington; as minister plenipotentiary to Russia search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); greetings sent to search
  • Essai sur la Turquoise et sur la Calaite (G. Fischer) search
  • Feodorovna, Maria, empress consort of Russia; and L. Harris search
  • Fischer, Gotthelf; Essai sur la Turquoise et sur la Calaite search
  • Harris, Levett; and N. Kosloff affair search
  • Harris, Levett; as consul at Saint Petersburg search
  • Harris, Levett; letters from search
  • Harris, Levett; sends book to TJ search
  • Harris, Levett; visits Monticello search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Kosloff, Nicholas; accused of rape search
  • Monroe, James; and appointments search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Harris, Levett search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings sent to search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); greetings sent to search
  • Russia; and N. Kosloff affair search
  • Russia; and U.S. search
  • Russia; U.S. minister to search
  • Saint Petersburg; U.S. consul at search
  • State Department, U.S.; papers of search