Description

    The day Congress passes the act enabling him to take possession of the Louisiana territory, President Jefferson invites the French Chargé d'Affaires to dine with him in the White House

    Thomas Jefferson Third Person Autograph Letter Signed "Th: Jefferson" as President, one page, 8" x 5", with integral leaf above addressed by him to "Mr. Pichon." [Washington], October 29, 1803. In full, "Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to mr. Pichon. he meant to be understood the other evening as asking the favor of him to dine here to-day with messrs Soult & Delile he did not know till the last night that mr Pichon did not so understand him. he hopes, if he has no engagement he will do him he favor of dining here to-day at half after three." On October 20, 1803, by a vote of 24-7, the Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase treaty signed in Paris on April 30, 1803. The next day in Washington, the Americans and the French envoy exchanged ratified copies of the treaty. On October 28, 1803, the House of Representatives passed a bill sent from the Senate entitled "An act to enable the President of the United States to take possession of the territories ceded by France to the United States by the Treaty concluded at Paris on the 30th of April last, and for the temporary government thereof" with amendments. On Saturday, October 29th, the day Jefferson wrote this letter, the Senate agreed to the House amendments. Louis André Pichon was Chargé d'Affaires and Consul General to the United States from 1801-1805. The invitation was for Pichon alone. Both Pichon and his wife had dined with Jefferson in the past so this seemed to be more of a business dinner at which, undoubtedly, the Louisiana Purchase would be the topic of discussion. Two days later, on Monday, October 31, 1803, President Jefferson signed the bill into law. According to the Library of Congress, "When Jefferson met with French ambassador Louis Andre Pichon in 1803, he traced what became the Lewis and Clark trail" on a 1790 map "Exhibiting all the New Discoveries in the Interior Parts of North America." Research has not revealed if Jefferson dined with Pichon and the others on October 29, 1803, or if he dined alone. At a dinner held at the White House on April 29, 1962 honoring the 49 living Nobel Prize winners of the Western Hemisphere, President Kennedy toasted his guests noting that it was "the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at he White House with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone". There are dark folds on the integral leaf and a red wax seal remnant. Jefferson's letter bears light vertical folds with minor soiling not materially affecting its appearance. It would be a superb addition to a presidential collection with historic significance.

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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