JEFFERSON, Thomas (1743-1826), President. Autograph letter signed ("Th:Jefferson") as President, to James Maury, Esq., in Liverpool, England; Washington, D.C., 20 July 1804. 1 page, 4to (9 15/16 x 7¾ in.), integral address leaf with panel in Jefferson's hand, to "Mr. James Maury Merchant Liverpool," recipient's docket.
A PRESIDENT'S FOND LETTER TO A CLASSMATE AND FRIEND OF HIS CHILDHOOD: "THE FRIENDSHIPS OF OUR EARLIEST YEARS ARE THOSE WHICH ARE DEEPEST SEATED AND INSPIRE THE MOST PERFECT CONFIDENCE"
A warm, affectionate letter to James Maury, one of the President's oldest friends, a classmate of Jefferson's in the rural log schoolhouse of the Reverend James Maury Sr., in Fredericksville Parish, twelve miles from Jefferson's home in Shadwell. While attending Maury's school from 1758-1760 (from ages 14 to 16) the young Jefferson had boarded with Maury's family and became a fast friend of James Maury Jr., three years his junior, with whom he would carry on an intermittent but affectionate correspondence for the rest of his life, even after Maury took up permanent residence in Liverpool, England. From Maury, "Jefferson gained none of his characteristic political principles or religious ideas. He was indebted to him, however, more than to any other man, for his training in the classics..." (D. Malone, Jefferson the Virginian, pp.41-44).
Jefferson tells his friend to expect certain bills of exchange: "Having occasion to make some remittances to Europe, I have procured from my friend Mr. Madison three sets of exchange on you" Jefferson enumerates these bills: "200 Dollars in favor of Joseph Uznardi at Cadiz, 250 Dollars in favor of Thomas Appleton of Leghorn and 300 Dollars in favor of William Jarvis at Lisbon." Eventually, he adds, these bills "will come round to you in due time and will we trust be duly honored."
"I have at several times received packets of newspapers which I perceived came from you. And which, altho' my occupations have long obliged me to abandon the reading [of] all European newspapers, yet they conveyed to me proofs of your kind attentions, and nourished the cordial recollections of our antient [sic] intimacies. I have found, in my progress through life that the friendships of our earliest years are those which are the deepest seated and inspire the most perfect confidence. I assure you that mine for you has never abated, altho' my incessant occupations have prevented the repeating expressions of it. Your worthy brother, the parson, was well the last time I heard of him. His health was for some time unpromising but is got better."
Then, alluding to the troubles of the Napoleonic Wars, he adds: "We are filled with anxiety for the crisis internal as well as external thro' which your adopted country is going. Our business is a rigorous and fruitful neutrality, to which we will certainly adhere. But it is impossible for us to look on the present state of things between France and England without the most lively solicitude. Accept I pray you my affectionate salutations and assurances of my constant friendship and respect."
In spite of Jefferson's attempts while President to preserve the "rigorous and faithful neutrality" he mentions here, relations with Great Britain steadily worsened and reached a dramatic crisis in 1807 with the British navy's seizure of an American naval vessel, the Chesapeake and the illegal impressment of some of her crew. (For Jefferson's later comments on this incident, and other precipitating causes of the War of 1812, see his later letter to the same correspondent, lot 257).