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#3 - Thomas Jefferson Estimate: $15,000+

President Jefferson's invitation to dine with Jerome Bonaparte

Third-person ALS, signed within the text, “Th: Jefferson” and "Th: J.," one page, 5 x 8, January 5, 1804. Letter to "Mons'r Pichon," the French diplomat Louis Andre Pichon, inviting him to a dinner with Jerome Bonaparte, in full: "Th: Jefferson presents his salutations to M. Pichon, who will receive herewith a note asking the favor of Made. Pichon & himself to dine with him on Monday next. Th: J. has written an invitation to the same effect to M. & Made. Bonaparte, & their friends who are with them, he has used this phrase, as while it includes the Baron de Maupertuis & M. Sotin, it might also include Mr. Patterson & Miss Spear who he understands are with Made. Bonaparte, or any other persons of whom he is uninformed and whose company would be agreeable to M. Bonaparte. He takes the liberty of mentioning this to M. Pichon in hopes he will have the goodness to give the explanation if necessary." In very good to fine condition, with a repaired tear to the upper right corner, and circular seal-related toning to the lower right corner.

The newlyweds Jerome Bonaparte (Napoleon's youngest brother) and Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (an American socialite) arrived in Washington from Baltimore on January 4th, and quickly garnered attention in Washington social circles. In this letter, Jefferson mentions several individuals associated with them: the Baron de Maupertuis was an acquaintance of Jerome Bonaparte from the West Indies who had been nominated as French consul at Rotterdam and was awaiting instructions; Pierre Jean Marie Sotin de la Coindiere, the former minister of police in France in 1797, who had been a witness to the marriage in Baltimore; Mr. Patterson may refer to Elizabeth Bonaparte's father, William, who did not accompany the couple to Washington, or one of her several brothers; and Miss Spear was Elizabeth's maternal aunt. According to Pichon’s report to Talleyrand about the dinner, President Jefferson also invited the brothers Robert and Samuel Smith and their wives; Samuel Smith’s wife, Margaret Spear Smith, was the sister of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte’s mother.

The marriage of Jerome Bonaparte and Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte met a sad fate—Napoleon Bonaparte strongly disapproved of the union, and banned Elizabeth from continental Europe. When they attempted to travel to France for Napoleon's coronation in the fall of 1804, Elizabeth was denied permission to enter, and Jerome ventured on to Italy, hoping to reason with his brother. Elizabeth returned to Baltimore by way of London, and Jerome returned to the French Navy at his brother's behest—the two would never see each other again, except for brief eye-to-eye contact in 1817.

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