Jefferson thanks Mme de Staël-Holstein for the gift of her latest novel, Corinne, ou l'Italie, which was being forwarded by the first ship leaving Nantes. "I shall read with great pleasure whatever comes from your pen, having known it's powers when I was in a situation to judge, nearer at hand, the talents which directed it." When Jefferson arrived in Paris, he was introduced to the world of the salons, presided over by highly influential and intelligent women. He frequented the salons of the Duchesse d'Anville (mother of his friend the Duc de la Rochefoucauld), the Comtesse d'Houdetot (the Julie of Rousseau's La Nouvelle Héloïse, and of Madame Necker and her daughter, Madame de Staël.
"Since then, Madam wonderful are the scenes which have past!" Jefferson reminisces. "whether for the happiness of posterity must be left to their judgment. even of their effect on those now living, we, at this distance, undertake not to decide. unmeddling with the affairs of other nations, we presume not to prescribe or censure their course. happy, could we be permitted to pursue our own in peace, and to employ all our means in improving the condition of our citizens. whether this will be permitted, is more doubtful now than at any preceding time. we have borne patiently a great deal of wrong, on the consideration that if nations go to war for every degree of injury, there would never be peace on earth." Jefferson no doubt is referring to the Chesapeake-Leopard affair in which the HMS, Leopard fired upon and boarded the USS Chesapeake in search of British deserters. The affair outraged the nation, and President Jefferson closed U.S. territorial waters to British warships, demanded payment for damages, and requested an end to British efforts to search United States ships for deserters. The incident raised tensions between the two nations and can be seen as one of the events leading to the War of 1812.
On a lighter subject, Jefferson mentions the voyage to America that Mme de Staël's son (probably her oldest, Auguste Louis) would be taking. "The grandson of Mr Necker cannot fail of a hearty welcome in a country which so much respected him. to myself, who loved the virtues, & honoured the great talents of the grandfather, the attentions I recieved in his natal house, and particular esteem for yourself, are additional titles to whatever service I can render him." Mme de Staël's father, Jacques Necker, was Director of Finance under Louis XVI. He advocated loans to finance French involvement in the American Revolution but was later blamed for the rather high debt accrued. Louis XVI dismissed him in 1781.
Jefferson advises that her son should not seek to know the nation, its occupations, manners and principles in the cities, but to travel through the country and invites him to stay at Monticello. Jefferson was looking forward to retirement from his second term (3 March 1809), and from politics at large, with eager anticipation. He advised that the young Necker "accept the hospitalities of the country gentlemen, and visit with them the school of the people. one year after the present will compleat for the quadragena stipendia, & will place me among those to whose hospitality I recommend the attentions of your son. he will find a sincere welcome at Monticello, where I shall then be in the bosom of my family, occupied with my books and my farms, and enjoying the government of a successor the freedom & tranquility I have endeavored to secure for others."
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