JEFFERSON, Thomas, President. Autograph letter signed ("Th: Jefferson") to Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Philadelphia, 10 July 1791. 1 page, 4to, integral address leaf, WITH JEFFERSON'S FREE FRANK: "Th: Jefferson" and small "Free" stamp, tear at seal, traces of mounting on verso.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE AIDS A "AN INJURED AND FRIENDLESS" FRENCHMAN WITH A LAND CLAIM
Jefferson writes to a former New York Congressman in Albany regarding "a claim to some lands in the Oneida country given by the Indians to one Le Tonnelier, & by him sold to a Mr Osmont. This latter gentleman is arrived from France & has fixed himself what chance there is, & what should be his proceedings to recover the lands, and having been very particularly recommended to me from France, I am anxious to aid his enquiries. The circumstance of Le Tonnelier's having married in Albany, & the relations between that place & the Oneida country have induced me to suppose it a good place to make the necessary enquiries. Not having the advantage of any particular acquaintance at Albany, I have presumed on behalf of Mr Osmont to address myself to you, relying for my excuse on the motives which lead to this liberty, and on your own goodness which will find in an injured & friendless stranger a proper object for its exercise. If therefore you can either at Albany, or by the means of any acquaintance you may have within reach of the lands, obtain information of the reality of Le Tonnelier's rights and the means of availing Osmont of them, the communication of it will be esteemed a very singular favor."
Jeremiah Van Rensselaer (1738-1810) was born in New York, and raised at the manor house "Rensselaerswyck." He was a descendent of Kiliaen van Rensselear, Dutch merchant, director of the West India Company and the first patroon of the Manor of Rensselaer. Jeremiah served in the First Congress (1789-1791), became president of the Bank of Albany in 1798 and a Democratic elector in 1800, casting his vote from Jefferson and Burr. He served as Lt. Governor of New York 1801-1804 and died in Albany in 1810.