Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Anna Kuhn, 2 October 1807

Genoa October 2nd 1807

With great Pain I intrude on your Excellency’s time and Patience, to inform that my Husband Peter Kuhn Junr. Consul of the U States of America for Genoa is closely confined in the Tower of this City, for reasons which as yet, we are in intire Ignorance, & but, from reports in Circulation we are led to Immagine his late Journey to England, for the Arrangement of his affairs may have given cause near three weeks since, a band of Constables, or Police Officers, accompanyed by their Secretary Genl. entered our House and exposed to Mr. Kuhn a folded Paper; which he said was an Order from his Chief “to seize all the Papers of the American Ex. Consul to the Republic of Liguria” which Consequently Mr. Kuhn refused saying his Protection was Over his Door (meaning the Arms of the U. States) and it was not in the Power of the French Government to deprive him of a Commission given him from his Own; and to which alone, he would Surrender. The Secretary replyed, such is Our Orders, and if force is requisite we have come prepared, which he Proved, by calling in several others. Mr Kuhn finding it useless to reason, replyed it was Impossible for him to resist against all France, and permitted them to enter the Consulate that they threatened to force, if farther Opposition was made. Before Mr. Kuhn would allow them to take a Paper, he persisted in seeing the signature of the Order, which not only proved for the seizing of his papers but “every thing they found in the Consulate” and then to conduct him to the secret Prison preparred for him in the Tower of Genoa “signed “[Joliclerc]” Such is the Insult been offered to an Officer of our Nuteral and Republican Nation, without any reason assigned—nor can I a poor distressed Wife (tho’ an Intimate in the family of the Commissary of Police) Obtain the cause of this Violation against all usages, and Customs of Civilized Nations It is an unprotected American Woman that Claims your Excellency’s influence for this Outrage; and Clear to the World the Character of an Unfortunate (but One who disdains to tarnish the name of an American) [. . .]ly Meritorious Member of Society. Already five days have elapsed since the answer was due from Our Minister at Paris to the Communication I made him after the arrest of Mr. Kuhn and he is still silent, while my Husband is condemned to Continual Confinement—My Situation is truly distressing at this moment, finding myself quite alone in Europe, without a single Relative, doubly so, as the only person I had a right to look to does not give that Attention I should have expected from him—Begging your Excellency’s Secrecy in the Confidence I have made, knowing the displeasure it would give Mr. Kuhn my having tresspassed on your Excellency’s valuable time—I remain with the highest respect and esteem your Excellency’s most devoted

Anna Kuhn

DNA: RG 59—ML—Miscellaneous Letters.

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