Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Stephen Cathalan, Jr., 20 March 1819

Marseilles the 20th March 1819—

Dear Sir!

2tre (The original by the French Brig The Trois Sœurs Bound For Philadelphia)

my Last Letter I addressed you, I Sent it on the 14th Dber Last, via Havre; a few Days after I observed, with great concern in the news Papers, that you was Dangerously Ill in the first Days of November last,! I was then waiting, with the greatest anxiety, for further Intelligency,—which I hoped Should Relieve my first apprehensions, on your Precious Existence! when on the 12th January, I Received from T. Cox. Barnet, our Consul at Paris, the agreable Information, that tho’ you had been much Indisposed, you was much better and it was trust your valuable Life would be Long Preserved to your Country!

and on the 26th dto I Received a Letter from Mr T. Vaughan of Philadelphia of the 5th December, Inclosing one for Consul Thos Appleton at Leghorn, with a Remitance for your acct for him, which I forwarded to him, on Receipt; & mentioning that-you was Recovering fast;—Such a confirmation from him, has filled my heart with Joy and Gratitude towards the Allmighty for the Preservation of your Days, so Precious to your Country, your Good, Respectable Family, your Friends, & to me!

I hope now that, I will Soon be honnored with a Letter from your Self, or from your Grand Son, Informing me of your entire & perfect Recovery and that you are in a Stronger & better State of Health than before your Sickness, and as Such as I am Experiencing myself, Since mine in October Last;—Indeed it was necessary for me to Recover So quickly and So well, as Mr Joshua Dodge having stopped his payment, as a Merchant, on the 23d January and not having hitherto Settled with all his creditors, who will Support with him a Loss of about Sixty per Cent;—I found my Self under the necessity for the honor of this Consulate of the U. States, on the 16th february ulto to with Draw from him & his house in my own, the U. States’s Chancery, with my Powers to act and Sign for in and under my own Responsibility, the acts & Documents from this Consulate.—he is unfortunate and to be Pityed in Deed, as no foolish or Proffligate Expenses are not to be Repproached to him; but he has to Repproach only to himself a too great Ambition and a proud Caracter, in Comparison of the too Small Capital he possessed for Such Losses he has supported by his own Imprudence & for his having Discontinued to Consult disinterested Persons & Friends, & to follow my Fatherly advices!—& very Fortunately for me I am not Involved as his Creditor, which Should have been the Case, had I continued to Endorse, obligingly & Friendly his promisory notes, for Large amounts, to support his own Credit (which had already beggun to Depreciate my own as a Free Holder) which I Refused in Septembr Last to do for the Future, when I was Informed of the critical Situation in which he Soon would be, &—which he was taking care to conceal to me, even, when I had a Friendly & a Candid Explanation with me (which he provocated) on that Subject;—hurted with Such Motives for my Refusal, he Discontinued his Dayly visits, even to dine with me as he used to do often before, as a Member of my own Family;—however the Duties of the Chancery did not Suffer under his Manedgmt and my own Inspection, tho’ he was neglecting to Inform me as before, of what was occuring.

it is then my Duty, to acknowledge, now, your foresight & perspicacity over me, tho’ rather too late, when from Such a Distance from Monticello to—Marseilles, you wrote to the Secretary of the Navy the Honble Bin W. Crowninshield on the 5th January 1818— Should it be the desire of Mr Cathalan to continue, it was Certainly not within the view of Mr Dodge Prematurely to Press on the heels of h Fisriend, & the Rather as the Longer he will Continue, by his Correct Conduct to merit the succession, the more Certain he will be to Receive it at full maturity—

it was only on Receipt, on the 21st april last of your kind Letter of the 18th January 1818 with that Copy of your’s to the Secretary of the Navy, which I communicated to him, that he himself, furnished me with a Proof of his Disapointment, of his not being already appointed as my Successor;—and of his Concealed Ambition, in pressing upon my heels, and on my self to Send you a Second Letter of Resignation, and that on my positive Refusal to do it, he pressed me to fix, by a writen Engagment,—signed by me, an Epòcha not Exceeding one year,—when I would Send it to you, which I Refused him,—Positively, to do, even Since when I Shewed him—my answer to you of the 25th april 1818—on that Subject;—had I sent you a Second Letter of Resignation, as he wished, this would have added to my Regrets for having wrote you so warmly in favor of one who had he been appointed, as he wished to be my Immediate Successor, should too soon after, be short to pay in full his Debts to his Creditors;

the house of Fitch Montgomery & Co of this Place has also Stopped his payments, in January Last and not yet Setled, also with its Creditors;

but very few American houses are Successfull in Commerce in Europe and here of course, as they Generaly venture in to Large Speculations and proffligate expences with very Small Capitals or nothing;—if they Succeed, so much the better for others, if not so much worst for their creditors who are to Support their deficiency,

I must Conclude this too Long and tedious Letter for you with the assurances of my—everlasting Respect & Gratitude & best wishes for your self and family; being

Dear Sir

Your most obedient & Devoted Servant

Stephen Cathalan

Na in the original, was Inclosed a Letter from—consul Sasserno, to whom I forwarded a packet from the Departnt of State Received via Leghorn, & which I Suspected to be the 2ter of his Consular Commission;—

I confirm you what I write you in my Last about my being hitherto unprovided with a new Consuler Commission, near his M. the king of France, while the others american consuls have long ere Received their own, and are provided with h. Mis Exequotur;

MHi: Coolidge Collection.

Index Entries