Thomas Jefferson Papers

Pascal Etienne Meinadier to Thomas Jefferson, 24 October 1820

From Pascal Etienne Meinadier

Salem, Massachusetts, oct. 24. 1820


In the year 1819 I had the honour to address a letter to you requesting your friendly aid in enabling me to pursue with effect my just demands against Isaac Cushing, my former partner, who carried off a large amount of property; and I had the honour of an answer from you on the 31st August of that year. I have lately heard of the death of Cushing by the enclosed advertisement dated at Huntsville, Alabama Aug. 16th 1820; & I have in consequence published in various newspapers the Notice which is in the enclosed paper, to which I take the liberty of calling your attention, in the hope that it may lead to something that may be advantageous to me. May I now take the liberty, Sir, as a friendless stranger in this country, and ignorant upon whom I can rely, to beg the favour of your good offices (or by means of some of your friends) in furnishing me with a letter of introduction to some professional or other confidential person in Huntsville or its vicinity to whom I could apply for assistance in my affairs. I am fully sensible of the justness of your remark to me, that the state of your health & other circumstances do not permit you to lend me the aid of personal services; & be assured, Sir, that nothing but my peculiar situation in a foreign country would induce me to make the request which I now do: I will also add, that it is not my intention to occasion you any further trouble than the present in a case in which you can take no other interest than that which one of your benevolence will always entertain.

I have the honour to be Sir, with the highest respect your most obedt & humble servt

Meinadier L’ainé

RC (DLC); in an unidentified hand, signed by Meinadier; dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Nov. 1820 and so recorded in SJL.

Several newspapers printed a letter of aug. 16th 1820 received from Huntsville, Alabama, announcing the death four days earlier of a mysterious man who arrived in Huntsville in November 1819 and went by the name of James Cochran, but who was discovered to be Isaac Cushing when his papers were posthumously examined (New-York Evening Post, 11 Sept. 1820, and elsewhere). The Salem Essex Register, likely enclosed here, reprinted the letter on 16 Sept. 1820 and added an explanation, also reprinted elsewhere, that Cushing had partnered with Meinadier in Marseille but had then stolen a ship and property belonging to him, and that Meinadier, who came to the United States in search of Cushing, “received by the above notice, the first information of the hiding place and fate of his partner, and will proceed immediately to Alabama to secure the property left by Cushing at Huntsville.” In a published notice, also enclosed here, after noting that Cushing had sailed from Marseille on 30 May 1817 as supercargo on the ship Braque, Meinadier requested “all persons who have knowledge of any property in the possession of said Cushing, or of any other person for his use, at this time or at any other time since the said 30th May, 1817, or of any papers or documents relative thereto, to which the subscriber is thus entitled, to give him information thereof accordingly” (Essex Register, 11 Oct. 1820, and elsewhere).

Index Entries

  • boats; stolen search
  • Cushing, Isaac; death of search
  • Cushing, Isaac; theft by search
  • Le Braque (ship) search
  • Meinadier, Pascal Etienne; and theft by I. Cushing search
  • Meinadier, Pascal Etienne; letters from search
  • Meinadier, Pascal Etienne; seeks TJ’s assistance search