Thomas Jefferson Papers

Fernagus De Gelone to Thomas Jefferson, 3 August 1821

From Fernagus De Gelone

New York 3. August 1821.


having not found any encouragement for my new institution in this place, and as I am promised to receive $30,000. in Martinico, in order to establish a School on general principles, according to the rules of Lancaster, which were those of The Military School of Paris in the time of Louis the 15th I am on the point of Starting. I like America, but I have lost 24000. dollars in it. I am Sorry to leave a country in which I have been living for 17. years.—

If I do not remain in Martinico, I Shall go to join my old friend Mr Bonpland, the Collaborator of My friend Mr Humboldt, up the Plata, on the Uraguay.

My idea is now to form a normal school on the plan of the Polytechnical School, in South America, not from any Sense of interest, Just to make my fellow-Comrades useful to Society.

If You are fond of plants, Sir, I will now and then Send you Something fine, through Richmond.—

I have a beautiful little garden.1 I am very Sorry to leave it.

I will also Send to you Some Shells and Minerals.

I expect to remain in town five or Six days more. Doctor Mitchill or Mr Gahn, the Swedish Consul, would take care of my letters.

Most respectfully. Sir. Your humble obedient Servant
fernagus De Gelone
Allié du Major-General Berthier, Prince de Neufchatel et Wagram.

RC (MHi); at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson, Esqre”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Aug. 1821 and so recorded in SJL.

In 1821 the French botanist Aimé bonpland attempted to establish a settlement for the production of maté on former Jesuit lands at Santa Ana, Argentina, but he was detained later that year and imprisoned for almost a decade in Paraguay (Stephen Bell, A Life in Shadow: Aimé Bonpland in Southern South America, 1817–1858 [2010], 60, 62, 64).

allié du: “Relation by marriage of.”

1Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Berthier, Louis Alexandre, Prince de Neuchâtel; family of search
  • Bonpland, Aimé Goujaud; and South America search
  • École Militaire (Paris); educational plan of search
  • École Polytechnique (Paris); educational plan of search
  • Fernagus De Gelone, Jean Louis; as educator search
  • Fernagus De Gelone, Jean Louis; finances of search
  • Fernagus De Gelone, Jean Louis; letters from search
  • Fernagus De Gelone, Jean Louis; plans to relocate to South America search
  • Fernagus De Gelone, Jean Louis; proposed school in Martinique search
  • Gahn, Henry; as Swedish consul at New York search
  • gardens; in New York City search
  • Humboldt, Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander, Baron von; as A. G. Bonpland’s collaborator search
  • Lancaster, Joseph; educational system of search
  • Louis XV, king of France; and École Militaire search
  • Martinique; schools in search
  • mineralogy; of South America search
  • Mitchill, Samuel Latham; forwards letters search
  • plants; South American search
  • schools and colleges; École Militaire (Paris) search
  • schools and colleges; École Polytechnique (Paris) search
  • shells search
  • South America; minerals of search
  • South America; plants of search
  • South America; schools in search