Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 6

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Author: Thomas Jefferson

To Monsieur Trouchin.

PARIS, February 26, 1788.

SIR, I should with great cheerfulness have done anything I could for the manufacturers of Bourges, had anything been in my power. To this I should have been induced by justice to them, and a desire to serve whomsoever you befriend. This company is part of a great mass of creditors to whom the United States contracted debts during the late war. Those States, like others, are not able to pay immediately all the debts which the war brought on them; but they are proceeding rapidly in that payment, and will, perhaps, get through it more speedily than any nation ever did before.

You will have seen in the public papers the progress they are making in this matter. They proceed in this by fixed rules, from which it is their principle never to depart in any instance, nor to do on any account for any one person what they will not be able to do for all others claiming on the same grounds. This company should engage the French Consul, or some other person on the spot, to be always ready to present their claim whenever anything can be received on it, according to the order of payment established by Congress. I suppose that the interest might have been annually received. With respect to what they call the reduction of the debt from its nominal sum, it is not a reduction of it, but an appreciation at its true value. The public effects of the United States, such as their paper bills of credit, loan office bills, etc., were a commodity which varied its value from time to time. A scale of their value for every month has been settled according to what they sold for at market, in silver or gold. This value in gold or silver, with an interest of six per cent. annually till payment, is what the United States pay. This they are able to pay; but were they to propose to pay off all their paper, not according to what it cost the holder, in gold or silver, but according to the sum named in it, their whole country, if sold, and all their persons into the bargain, might not suffice. They would, in this case, make a bankruptcy where none exists, as an individual, who being very able to pay the real debts he has contracted, would undertake to give to every man fifty times as much as he had received from him. The company will receive the market value of the public effects they have on their hands, and six per cent. per annum on that; and I can only repeat my advice to them, to appoint some friend on the spot to act for them whenever anything can be received. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.

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Chicago: Thomas Jefferson, "To Monsieur Trouchin.," Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 6 in Thomas Jefferson, the Writings of Jefferson: Monticello Edition, Vol. 6 (Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904-1905), Pp.432-433 Original Sources, accessed July 17, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CP6XUZY6YQJTTHZ.

MLA: Jefferson, Thomas. "To Monsieur Trouchin." Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 6, in Thomas Jefferson, the Writings of Jefferson: Monticello Edition, Vol. 6 (Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904-1905), Pp.432-433, Original Sources. 17 Jul. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CP6XUZY6YQJTTHZ.

Harvard: Jefferson, T, 'To Monsieur Trouchin.' in Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 6. cited in , Thomas Jefferson, the Writings of Jefferson: Monticello Edition, Vol. 6 (Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904-1905), Pp.432-433. Original Sources, retrieved 17 July 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CP6XUZY6YQJTTHZ.