COLLECTION GUIDES

1803-1823

Guide to the Collection

Restrictions on Access

Access to the originals is restricted. This collection is available as color digital facsimiles (see links below).


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection consists of 16 letters, including 14 to William Eustis from U.S. presidents and others and two letters between his wife Caroline (Langdon) Eustis and Dolley Madison.

Biographical Sketch

William Eustis (1753-1825) was a physician, politician, and diplomat. He studied medicine under Dr. Joseph Warren and served as a military surgeon in the field during the American Revolution, including at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Eustis served as a Massachusetts representative, 1788-1794; U.S. representative, 1801-1805 and 1820-1823; secretary of war under James Madison, 1809-1812; minister to the Netherlands, 1814-1818; and governor of Massachusetts, 1823-1825.

In 1810, William Eustis married Caroline Langdon (1781-1865), the daughter of Woodbury and Sarah Warner (Sherburne) Langdon. The Eustises had no children.

Collection Description

This collection consists of 16 letters, including 14 to William Eustis and two between his wife Caroline (Langdon) Eustis and Dolley Madison. Included are letters to William Eustis from Elbridge Gerry and James Sullivan about Eustis's work as U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts related to the Louisiana Purchase; James Monroe about the Marquis de Lafayette, trade with the Netherlands, and personal matters; Henry Dearborn about the arrest of Aaron Burr for treason in the Burr Conspiracy; John Quincy Adams about his break with the Federalist Party and support of Jefferson's Embargo Act of 1807, as well as personal matters; Thomas Jefferson about resolutions from citizens of Boston in support of the Embargo Act and U.S. neutrality in the war between England and France, Eustis's appointment as secretary of war, and Federalists in the North threatening to secede; James Madison about the nation's armories and fortifications before the War of 1812, the detention of Indians, and other matters related to the war; Paul Hamilton about his retirement, Albert Gallatin and Russian mediation in the War of 1812, and personal matters; and Lafayette about his interest in America and the French Chamber of Deputies. Letters between Caroline (Langdon) Eustis and Dolley Madison relate to Eustis's activities in Europe and Madison's responsibilities as First Lady, her life in Washington, D.C., and mutual friends.

Acquisition Information

Gift of an anonymous donor, April 2019.

Restrictions on Access

Access to the originals is restricted. This collection is available as color digital facsimiles (see links below).

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1Folder 1digitized
Invitation from Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 19 Oct. 1803

Invitation from Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis to dine on Friday, 21 Oct. 1803. Printed document completed in manuscript.

Box 1Folder 2digitized
Letter from Elbridge Gerry to William Eustis, 24 Oct. 1803

Letter from Elbridge Gerry (Cambridge, Mass.) wishing William Eustis (Washington, D.C.) luck in the U.S. House debate on the Louisiana Purchase and asking for information about land in Ohio.

Box 1Folder 3digitized
Letter from James Sullivan to William Eustis, 7 Nov. 1803

Letter from James Sullivan (Boston, Mass.) to William Eustis (Washington, D.C.) recommending General [William] Hull for an appointment in Louisiana and discussing the advantages of appointing a New Englander.

Box 1Folder 4digitized
Letter from James Monroe to William Eustis, 30 Aug. 1806

Letter from James Monroe (London, England) to William Eustis introducing the bearer, Mr. Barnard, and discussing business matters.

Box 1Folder 5digitized
Letter from Henry Dearborn to William Eustis, 5 Apr. 1807

Letter from Henry Dearborn (Washington, D.C.) to William Eustis about the appointment of [Lemuel] Trescott [as collector at Machias, Me.] and the escape and recapture of Aaron Burr in February 1807.

Box 1Folder 6digitized
Letter from John Quincy Adams to William Eustis, 25 Apr. 1808

Letter from John Quincy Adams (Washington, D.C.) to William Eustis about Adams's break with the Federalist Party and support of Thomas Jefferson's Embargo Act of 1807, the reasons for his decision, and articles in the newspapers related to the embargo.

Box 1Folder 7digitized
Letter from Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 14 Jan. 1809

Letter from Thomas Jefferson (Washington, D.C.) thanking William Eustis (Boston, Mass.) for resolutions of Republican citizens of Boston in support of the Embargo Act of 1807 and discussing reasons for the embargo, including violations of U.S. neutrality by England and France, as well as misinformation about the policy.

A transcription of this letter is available at https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/99-01-02-9538.

Box 1Folder 8digitized
Letter from Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 6 Oct. 1809

Letter from Thomas Jefferson (Monticello, Va.) to William Eustis forwarding a solicitation from a poor man, congratulating Eustis on his appointment as secretary of war, and criticizing Federalists in the North threatening to secede.

A transcription of this letter is available at https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-01-02-0455.

Box 1Folder 9digitized
Letter from James Madison to William Eustis, 20 Aug. 1811

Letter from James Madison (Montpelier, Va.) to William Eustis about the nation's armories and fortifications and a possible visit by Osage and Choctaw chiefs.

Box 1Folder 10digitized
Letter from James Madison to William Eustis, 8 Sep. 1812

Letter from James Madison (Montpelier, Va.) to William Eustis (Washington, D.C.) about justifications for the detention of Indians, the capture of Fort Wayne, a possible expedition against Upper Canada, and the reputation of William Hull after the surrender of Fort Detroit.

Box 1Folder 11digitized
Letter from Paul Hamilton to William Eustis, 30 Mar. 1813

Letter from Paul Hamilton (Washington, D.C.) to William Eustis (Boston, Mass.) about Eustis's retirement, Hamilton's appointment as commissioner of loans for South Carolina, Russian mediation to end the War of 1812, and the possible appointment of Albert Gallatin as negotiator.

Box 1Folder 12digitized
Letter from Caroline (Langdon) Eustis to Dolley Madison, 9 Sep. 1815

Letter from Caroline (Langdon) Eustis (the Hague, the Netherlands) to Dolley Madison about an invitation to attend the coronation [of William I] at Brussels, Belgium.

Box 1Folder 13digitized
Letter from Dolley Madison to Caroline (Langdon) Eustis, 17 May 1816

Letter from Dolley Madison [Washington, D.C.] to Caroline (Langdon) Eustis about Madison's responsibilities as First Lady, her life in Washington, D.C., and mutual friends.

Box 1Folder 14digitized
Letter from James Monroe to William Eustis, 24 Sep. 1816

Letter from James Monroe (Virginia) to William Eustis about Paris, the Marquis de Lafayette, trade with the Netherlands, Col. [James] Morrison of Kentucky, and news of family and friends.

Box 1Folder 15digitized
Letter from the Marquis de Lafayette to William Eustis, 1 Dec. 1816

Letter from the Marquis de Lafayette (La Grange, France) to William Eustis (Brussels, Belgium) about Lafayette's interest in the U.S., an attack on an American ship [possibly the Firebrand] by a Spanish squadron, other international news, and debates in France's Chamber of Deputies.

Box 1Folder 16digitized
Letter from John Quincy Adams to William Eustis, 1 Oct. 1823

Letter from John Quincy Adams (Quincy, Mass.) to William Eustis (Roxbury, Mass.) declining an invitation to the theater in order to stay with his father John Adams and promising to visit Eustis before returning to Washington.

Preferred Citation

Letters to William and Caroline Eustis, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.

Persons:

Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848.
Burr, Aaron, 1756-1836.
Dearborn, Henry, 1751-1829.
Eustis, Caroline Langdon, 1781-1865.
Gallatin, Albert, 1761-1849.
Gerry, Elbridge, 1744-1814.
Hamilton, Paul, 1762-1816.
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826.
Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834.
Madison, Dolley, 1768-1849.
Madison, James, 1751-1836.
Monroe, James, 1758-1831.
Sullivan, James, 1744-1808.

Organizations:

Federal Party (U.S.).
France. Chambre des députés.

Subjects:

Burr Conspiracy, 1805-1807.
Embargo, 1807-1809.
France--Politics and government--1814-1830.
Indians of North America--Civil rights.
Indians of North America--Government relations--1789-1869.
Legislators--United States.
Louisiana Purchase.
Netherlands--Commerce--United States.
Political parties--United States--History--19th century.
Presidents--United States.
Presidents' spouses--United States.
Russia--Foreign relations--United States.
Secession.
United States--Commerce--Netherlands.
United States--Foreign relations--1801-1815.
United States--Foreign relations--Russia.
United States--History--War of 1812.
United States--Politics and government--1801-1809.
United States--Politics and government--1809-1817.