Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 75,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Boudinot, Elias (1740-1821) to Samuel Bayard

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03627 Author/Creator: Boudinot, Elias (1740-1821) Place Written: New Jersey Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 2 April 1796 Pagination: 2 p. : address : docket ; 37.2 x 22.5 cm.

Summary of Content: Boudinot, director of the United States Mint, transmits Bills of Exchange (not included) to London to pay Bayard for copper imported to the United States. Reports that President George Washington refused to submit papers regarding negotiations with Great Britain to the House of Representatives (possibly referring to John Jay's Treaty). Refers to a recent speech praising Washington delivered by a Mr. Erskin (possibly Thomas Erskine) in London. Forwards a portrait of Washington (not included) for Erskin. Discusses family matters at length. Reports that "the British carrying the War so pointedly to the West India Islands, has raised the Price of Grain & Provisions here ..."

Background Information: After negotiation of John Jay's Treaty in 1794, Washington appointed Bayard as an agent assigned to prosecute American claims before British admiralty courts. Thomas Erskine was a British lawyer and Whig ...politician noted for his support of Thomas Paine and praise of President Washington. See More

Full Transcript: Rosehill 2. April 1796
My very dear Sir
Your favours of the 5. of Jany & 4th. Febry have come to hand within a few Days, but the Columbus is not yet heard of ...-
These Letters gave us great Pleasure, as it appeared almost an age since we had recd. any thing from you - I was much gratified at finding that Capt Cuthbert & his Son had safely arrived in London; your Letters being the first advice of it that we had received. I write this in haste, a young Gentleman having just informed me of his sailing to morrow Morning - In my two last I wrote you about a Quantity of Copper, which I was ordered by the President to import from Europe; I hope these will get safe to hand, and that the Copper will be Shipped as early as possible - I enclosed two Bills of Exchange for the purpose of paying for the Copper, and ?250 on my own Aid-
Our Worthy President has increased the Celebrity of a Character, which we had thought would scarcely allow of an increase, by firmly refusing to comply with the request of the House of Representatives, to furnish them with Copies of the Correspondence & other Papers relative to the negotiation with great Brittain - The Majority in the House was large & vociferous; but he has manfully stepped forward in support of the Constitution & expressed such Reasons as must satisfy even his adversaries - - I observed in this days Paper, the Speech of Mr Erskin at a Meeting
of some Society in London, in which he pays our President a very high [struck: illegible]
[inserted: Compliment] indeed - As he appears to entertain a very great respect for his
Character, and to interest himself so much in our welfare, I have enclosed to you, a Portrait of the President, lately taken on my request, being the last Time the will sit for this Purpose, as he has repeatedly declared - It is the only one I have seen, that conveys a true Idea of his Features, which you will easily recognize - If there is no impropriety in my request, and you approve the measure, be so kind as to present this Portrait to Mr Erskin in my Name; and altho' it is only in Crayon, yet it being the best likeness I have ever seen of the President, I hope Mr Erskin will accept it, as a testimony of respect from an American, who esteems the rational Supporters of Liberty & good Government, [struck: of] [inserted: to] whatever Nation or Country the may belong - If you should [2] think it even prudent, to present this compliment, either take the portrait to yourself or present it to any other proper Character you please -
As my dear Niece would be much surprised to see me enter her Room, I suppose the next in degree, will be to see my Picture, which I send herewith, to prevent an evil we should greatly deprecate, I mean her forgetting the figure of her old white headed Uncle - I do not think it a striking likeness, but many undertake to say it would be known by most who have seen me - Such as it is you have it, and it will at least, serve for one evening's Chat -
Your Aunt is not very well - she is often complaining - Mrs Bradford is tolerable, tho' far from a confirmed state of Health - The weather is becoming very fine, and therefore hope the returning Spring will do something for her - Our peas are up - our Cabbage & Colly flowers are set out. --
Our family amidst their Melancholy prospects, enjoy as much Comfort as could possibly be expected, - Rachel went on Thursday to Burlington, or she would have writtn, for she is indeed a good Girl -
Mr T. B. has given us much Trouble - We expected a finish of the Business at the present Session, but he has cruelly put it off till September - The witnesses have been examined, and tho' they put the possibility of his Success out of all doubt, yet his delay, not only is vexations but highly injurious to the Estate - Poor Mr W & M. are surely afflicted with his Conduct -
We are much pleased, with the account you give us of the probability of a Change in the Appearance of Things with you - It is happy that self Interest will lead Nations to do justice, but that it should require any Thing but a righteous Course to obtain the protection of a Court of Justice, is truly deplorable, and shows us that we are really fallen Creatures -
The British carrying the War so pointedly to the West India Islands, has raised the Price of Grain & Provisions here, that we are continually reminded of continental Times - 16 Dollars for a Barrel of flower and two Dollars for a Turkey - 1 1/2 Doll , for a pair of Fowls, with other Things in proportion - A common labouring Man gets of considerable gets his 7/6 p day & in some Instances 10/ - - This is making our Farmers Men of considerable property, and does literally speaking, make our Wilderness blossom as a Rose - If we can but we were enough to continue in Peace & support good Government we must be a flourishing People - I am sorry to tell you that Dr Priestly is preaching in [3] the City, and setting half the People of every denomination, crazy after his new & heterodox doctrines - Indeed many of our serious People, are taken in, and if it was not for the prophetic declarations of the Gospel, in which these things have been foretold, I should tremble for the Ark - But magna est Veritas & prevalebat --
Your Aunt & cousin seldom talk of you but with strong emotions, among from several reasons - They dare not indulge themselves much with the probability of ever seeing you again - we are fast hastening to the Grave & the cracks & flows of our earthly Home, often remind us that this is not our abiding Place -
I have, after waiting so long, determined to mention your Treatment from Mr K. to the Secretary of State, and will let you know the result -
(Kiss my dear Niece for me, with her great Son, who I am told is growing very finely - Present her with our most
respectful & afft Salutations - Our Ladies most sincerely
join in every tender & interesting wish for you).
I am my very dear Sir
Yours most affley
Elias Boudinot
P.S. All your friends
are well

Samuel Bayard Esgre

[address leaf]
Samuel Bayard Esgre
agent for asmenriah claims

E. Boudinot Esqr
philada 2 april 1796.-
- lanswd 6. July -
See More

People: Bayard, Samuel, 1767-1840
Boudinot, Elias, 1740-1821
Erskine, Thomas Erskine, Baron, 1750-1823
Jay, John, 1745-1829

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: Government and CivicsUS MintPresidentCongressGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyCoins and CurrencyDiplomacyTreatyJay's TreatyArt, Music, Theater, and FilmChildren and FamilyCommerceMerchants and TradeFinanceDiet and nutritionCaribbeanUS ConstitutionAmerican Statesmen

Sub Era: The Early Republic

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources