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Alexandre Maurice Blanc de Lanautte, Comte d'Hauterive collection, 1809

14 items

This collection consists of 13 letters and copies of letters that Alexandre Maurice Blanc de Lanautte, Comte d'Hauterive, wrote in 1809 concerning the deterioration of Anglo-American relations, as well as a list of officials involved in Franco-American relations around the turn of the 19th century.

This collection consists of 13 letters and copies of letters that Alexandre Maurice Blanc de Lanautte, Comte d'Hauterive, wrote in 1809 concerning the deterioration in Anglo-American relations, as well as a list of officials involved in Franco-American relations around the turn of the 19th century.

Hauterive addressed 10 letters to Jean-Baptiste Nompère de Champagny, the French minister of foreign relations, reporting discoveries and insights from his correspondence with John Armstrong, Jr., the United States minister to France. Hauterive also discussed issues in British politics, such as the Embargo Act of 1807 and Great Britain's diplomatic relationship with the United States, which he thought was strained. He further elaborated on those issues he believed would lead the countries into armed conflict. Hauterive also commented on the Jefferson administration and its role in international affairs. The remaining 3 letters consist of Hauterive's outgoing correspondence with other diplomatic and official personnel.

A printed chart of French military personnel lists their positions, terms of service, and the amount of money paid to them. Ten officers are listed, followed by a drum major, a drum master sergeant, 8 musicians, and 4 laborers.


James McHenry papers, 1777-1832

3 linear feet

The James McHenry papers contain correspondence and documents related to the political career of James McHenry. The majority of the materials pertain to his tenure as Secretary of War from 1796 to 1800.

The James McHenry papers contain over 800 items related the life and career of James McHenry. Included in the materials are approximately 670 letters and 106 documents, primarily related to McHenry's political career, as well as financial records and miscellaneous documents, including poetry and genealogical materials. The majority of the correspondence and documents are drafts or retained manuscript copies.

The Correspondence and Documents series spans 1777-1832, with the bulk of materials concentrated around 1796 to 1803. The first box of the collection contains documents and correspondence related to McHenry's service in the Revolutionary War, including correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton, George Washington, and Alexander Hamilton. The materials include a draft of a letter to British general Henry Clinton regarding his military failures, written in McHenry's hand but signed "Z" (October 26, 1779), as well as a copy of a letter allegedly written by Clinton to Lord George Germain, which McHenry sent to Samuel Louden of the New York Packet to be published (March 24, 1780). The postwar materials in the collection pertain to McHenry's tenure as a Maryland statesman. Along with documents related to McHenry's political career during those years is a letter dated August 13, 1794, which relates news of the massacre of French colonists at Fort Dauphin in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), led by Jean-François, an important figure in the Haitian Revolution.

The bulk of the collection, representing 1796 to 1803, documents McHenry's tenure as secretary of war under presidents Washington and Adams. The correspondence and documents relate to military structures, provisions, international relations, treaties, politics, and relations with Native American tribes. The collection contains frequent correspondence with other cabinet members and politicians, including Secretary of State Timothy Pickering and Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott as well as President George Washington, John Adams, and the Marquis de Lafayette. McHenry served as secretary of war during the Quasi-War with France and, as a staunch Federalist, favored positive relations with Britain over France. A large portion of the correspondence during this period relates to the ongoing feud with that country. A letter from James Winchester to McHenry describes the suspicion with which the Federalists regarded Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans, who favored closer relations with France: "…tho' they will not openly shew at this time their predilection for France, they will discover it in the first calamitous event which may happen to our Country. Depend on it they are not to be trusted. I speak of the party here" (April 18, 1789). Several months later McHenry wrote in an unaddressed letter draft that he believed the President should recommend a declaration of war with France to Congress. He also expressed his concerns over "a faction within the country constantly on the watch and ready to seize upon every act of the Executive which may be converted into an engine to disaffect the people to the government" (November 25, 1798).

In addition to national and international politics, many of the items relate to U.S. relations with Native American tribes, including the Creek, Chickasaw, and Miami. The materials frequently concern attempts to maintain peace and create treaties with the tribes, as well as to prevent them from giving their loyalty to other countries, such as Britain, France, or Spain. Box 2 contains a copy of a "Talk of the Chickasaw Chiefs at the Bluffs represented by Wolf's Friend, Ugalayacabé" regarding the tribe's concerns about the Americans: "Tell me if I may return to my Nation to appease the tumult of their minds. Shall I tell them the talk of the Americans is falsehood? Shall I assure our warriors our children and our women that your flag will always wave over our land, or tell them to prepare to die?" [1797]. This box also contains a small series of letters from General Anthony Wayne, written from his headquarters in Detroit, where he was stationed before his death, after successfully leading U.S. troops in the Northwest Indian War (August 29 to October 3, 1796). After the war, Miami Chief Little Turtle, became a proponent of friendly relations with the Americans. McHenry wrote to him upon his resignation as secretary of war, thanking him for his friendship: "…I shall carry with me the remembrance of your fidelity, your good sense, your honest regard for your own people, your sensibility and eloquent discourse in their favour, and what is precious to me as an individual, a belief that I shall always retain your friendship" (May 30, 1800). Other documents include an extract of a letter from Major Thomas Cushing to Brigadier General James Wilkinson, writing that he had given gifts to the Native Americans in order to prevent them from siding with the Spanish at New Orleans, who were attempting to win their favor (February 15, 1800).

Boxes 6 through 8 contain correspondence and documents written after McHenry's resignation as secretary of war at the end of May 1800. Though he retired from politics, his letters document that he maintained a keen interest in domestic and international issues. Senator Uriah Tracy wrote regular letters to McHenry in February 1801, keeping him up-to-date on the daily events regarding the presidential election between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. After the election, McHenry wrote a letter to U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands William Vans Murray, in which he discussed the election and why public opinion had shifted from the Federalists to Jefferson: "I still am of opinion, that we should have gained nothing by the election of Mr. Burr, could it have been accomplished by federal means. The general sentiment is so strong and ardent for Mr. Jefferson, that experience alone can correct it" (February 23, 1801). This section of correspondence also contains a draft of a letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives containing McHenry's defense against charges brought against him regarding disbursements while secretary of war (December 22, 1802), as well as his opinions of current political happenings, including the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and the Embargo Act of 1807. Several of the letters written during this period also relate to McHenry's low opinion of John Adams, who forced him out of office. In a series of letters exchanged by McHenry and Oliver Wolcott in 1800, McHenry described his anger regarding Adams, and expressed regret that Adams remained in office after George Washington left. Over ten years later, McHenry wrote a letter to Timothy Pickering, responding to a series of memoirs Adams had printed in the Boston Patriot . He accused Adams of making significant errors and misrepresentations, and mused, "How many recollections have these puerile letters awakened. Still in his own opinion, the greatest man of the age. I see he will carry with him to the grave, his vanity, his weaknesses and follies, specimens of which we have so often witnessed and always endeavored to veil from the public" (February 23, 1811).

The Bound Items series consists of a diary, a published book of letters, a book of U.S. Army regulations, an account book, and a book of poetry. McHenry kept the diary from June 18 to July 24, 1778, beginning it at Valley Forge. It contains accounts of daily events, intelligence, orders, the Battle of Monmouth, and the march of Washington's army to White Plains, New York. The 1931 book, entitled Letters of James McHenry to Governor Thomas Sim Lee is the correspondence written by James McHenry to Maryland governor Thomas Sim Lee during the 1781 Yorktown Campaign. The book of army regulations spans ca. 1797-1798, while the account book covers 1816-1824. The book of poetry is handwritten but undated and unsigned.

In addition to this finding aid, the Clements Library has created a full list of letter-writers in the James McHenry papers: James McHenry Contributor List.


John Holker papers, 1770-1872

0.75 linear feet

This collection consists of the official and private correspondence of John Holker, merchant, speculator, and French consul general to the United States during the American Revolution. The collection also contains items related to Holker's wife, Nancy Davis Stackpole Holker, who managed his estate after his death.

This collection consists of the official and private correspondence of John Holker, merchant, speculator, and French consul general to the United States during the American Revolution. Included are 301 letters and 35 financial records. The documents from 1825 to 1872 concern Holker's third wife Nancy Davis Holker and her business with her husband's estate after his death.

The Correspondence and Documents series contains approximately 85 items relating to Holker's official consular duties and his efforts to supply the French fleet in American waters from 1778-1781. These items, which include both letters addressed to Holker in Philadelphia and copies of letters he wrote to France, offer information on the contracts and accounts of the French Royal Marines.

The bulk of the collection, however, concerns Holker's private business interests, primarily his partnership with Turnbull in supplying the Continental Army. Also notable are letters between Holker and his associate John Barclay, 1807-1816, that address national politics and foreign affairs as well as business interests such as the building of a distillery in Poughkeepsie, New York; his import business in Virginia; and land speculation in Illinois and Indiana. Other items document various lawsuits pertaining to Holker's business ventures, especially with Daniel Parker and William Duer. Many of the documents are in French, including all dated before 1779.

The papers from 1825 to 1872 concern Nancy Davis Holker and relate to the management of Holker's Virginia farm after his death and to the settlement of his estate. One "Article of Agreement" from March 1, 1832, details the renting out of the Springbury estate for agricultural use. The lease includes the farm, tools, buildings, and at least 13 slaves (all named). The document specified that at the end of a 3-year lease all of the property had to be returned, including the slaves who should be "clothed in the manner that the custom of the country requires[.] hired slaves to be returned clothed." This portion of the collection also contains 12 personal letters to Nancy from her daughter Anna Maria Adelaide which discuss family and personal matters. One particularly interesting letter from Anna Maria Adelaide contains a defense of slavery in the South (February 1, 1839). She argued that her father bought and sold slaves and suggested that her mother was only uncomfortable with the practice because she disliked Anna's husband, Hugh Nelson. "[G]et over this prejudice and not allow those around you to influence you." While she acknowledged that slavery was a regrettable practice, to her it seemed "impossible to live above the world."

The Documents and Financial Records series (35 items) consists of two Revolutionary war era receipts for flour and beef, and later receipts from farmers, merchants, and baker's (with many items from Peter Royston) for food stuffs, cloth, and other goods (1812-1822). Of note are two receipts for slaves (1818). Later items include Nancy Holker's annual food and supply receipts from 1848 and 1857.


John Marshall autobiography, 1827

2 items

The John Marshall autobiography is a 16-page autobiography written in 1827 by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall.

The John Marshall autobiography consists of a 16-page autobiographical letter, written by John Marshall to Joseph Story, at the latter's urging, in 1827. Also included is an additional letter from Marshall to Story, expressing his approval of Story's biography of him, and an undated engraved portrait of Marshall.

The autobiography begins with a description of Marshall's happy childhood and the many sources of his education, both formal and informal. Marshall then moved to the topic of the Revolutionary War, first describing his service, and then the impact it had on him: "When I recollect the wild and enthusiastic democracy with which my political opinions of that day were tinctured, I am disposed to ascribe my devotion to the union, and to a government competent to its preservation, at least as much to casual circumstances as to judgment" (p. 4). Also covered in some detail is Marshall's legal practice, which he expressed a great reluctance to leave, and his role in the XYZ Affair, including the decision "to bring the controversy before the American People and convince them of the earnestness with which the American government sought a reconciliation with France" (p. 13).

Marshall also described the process of his selection for Chief Justice, which he portrayed as surprisingly casual: "[Adams] said thoughtfully 'Who shall I nominate now'? I replied that I could not tell….After a moment's hesitation he said 'I believe I must nominate you" (p. 15). Unfortunately, Marshall ended the letter without any discussion of his work on the Supreme Court.


Roberto Goodloe Harper manuscript: Reflexoens sobre a questão entre os Estados Unides ea França, 1798

1 volume

This volume is a Portuguese manuscript version of Robert Goodloe Harper's popular anti-French treatise Observations on the Dispute Between the United States and France.

This volume is a manuscript of a Portuguese translation of Robert Goodloe Harper's treatise Observations on the Dispute Between the United States and France (1797). The 280-page translation is entitled Reflexoens sobre a questão entre os Estados Unides ea França, and was created in London in 1798. The volume, which was popular on both sides of the Atlantic and received several reprintings, is pro-British and anti-French. It warns against the dangers of French radical revolutionaries and implies that France does not consider America a sovereign nation. It also outlines America's strengths in a potential war with France.

The Clements Library has several published editions of Harper's English version of Observations on the Dispute Between the United States and France.

The Portuguese translation was published in London in 1798.


Samuel Sitgreaves papers, 1800

13 items

The Samuel Sitgreaves papers contain letters primarily from Sitgreaves to his sister-in-law concerning observations about European society and politics, as well as descriptions of daily life and travel.

The Samuel Sitgreaves papers contain 13 letters written by Sitgreaves during travels around England, France, and the Netherlands. Ten items date from March to November of 1800; Sitgreaves likely also wrote the collection's three undated items during this period, while serving as U.S. commissioner to Great Britain. Sophia Kemper, Sitgreaves' sister-in-law, was the recipient of at least nine of the letters, while two items are Sitgreaves' retained copies of letters to fellow Pennsylvania politician, Thomas FitzSimons. Timothy Pickering is the recipient of an additional letter. Most of the letters are fragmentary, but still substantial.

Letters to Kemper contain rich details of daily life and travel, as well as observations on European society and politics. Two letters describe Sitgreaves' journey from London to Calais, including topics such as the necessity of bribing French officials (May 20, 1800), the sick and dying French expatriates on his ship, and his observations of the scantily-clad peasant women of Calais, which he found "at once distressing and disgusting beyond measure" (May 27, 1800). In many of the letters, he expressed surprise at the poverty of the French and English populations, and particularly the "universal suffering" of the inhabitants of London (November 8, 1800). In other letters, Sitgreave reflected on particular topics, including the English theater, which he attended four nights per week (October 17, 1800) and the State Opening of Parliament by King George III (November 16, 1800).

Sitgreaves' correspondence to FitzSimons relates to foreign relations with France and Great Britain and the ongoing issues arising from the Jay Treaty. In a letter of August 7, 1800, Sitgreaves translated for FitzSimons his letter to the Doctrina et Amicitia, a Dutch patriot society, in which he described the "three Points constitut[ing] the Subject of the Negotiations" with France. In another letter, dated August 12, 1800, he further discussed the group, as well as negotiations with the French regarding ports and asylum, and his suspicions about their motives and desire to influence American politics.


Thomas Jefferson collection, 1780-1881

54 items

The Thomas Jefferson collection contains 54 miscellaneous letters written by or to Jefferson, 1780-1826, and an 1881 letter from Jefferson's granddaughter, Septimia Meikelham, concerning him.

The Thomas Jefferson collection contains 53 miscellaneous letters to or from Jefferson, dated 1780-1826, as well as an 1881 letter concerning him, written by his granddaughter, Septimia Meikleham. The letters address numerous topics, including fundraising in Europe for the American Revolution, various scientific subjects, the Louisiana Purchase, trade, and political appointments. For more information, see the inventory located under the "Detailed Box and Folder Listing" heading.


Watkins and Livingston family scrapbook, 1773-1882 (majority within 1773-1839)

94 items (1 volume)

The Watkins and Livingston family scrapbook contains letters between members of the Watkins, Livingston, and Jay families; genealogical data recorded by Lucretia Elizabeth Hamersley Rylance; and miscellaneous drawings and newspaper clippings related to the families.

The Watkins and Livingston family scrapbook includes 94 items relating to the Watkins and Livingston families. Lucretia E. Hamersely Rylance created the scrapbook in 1882 and included family correspondence retrieved from her Aunt Beebee's attic as well as her own genealogical research.

The bulk of the collection consists of 69 letters, with many written between sisters Susan Symmes and Judith Watkins. The letters primarily regard family news and concerns, noting health, marriages, and social visits. Additional topics mentioned include the American Revolution, the death of Governor Dewitt Clinton, the Peggy Eaton scandal, Cherokee removal, the nullification crisis, bank and tariff struggles, the anniversary of Andrew Jackson's Battle of New Orleans, the Panic of 1837, African American servants, Fanny Kemble Butler, and Austrian exile Giovanni Albinola. Letters from John Jay and his descendants are also represented in the collection. With women from prominent families penning many of the letters, the correspondence also highlights women's relationships, reading habits, engagement with financial matters, and occasionally thoughts on political affairs.

The Watkins and Livingston family scrapbook also includes newspaper clippings, a family tree, a cabinet card, a pen and ink drawing of a scene from a fairy tale, and colored pen and ink drawings of family coats of arms. See the Detailed Box and Folder Listing for more information about each item.