William Short (American ambassador)
William Short (1759–1849) was Thomas Jefferson's private secretary when he was ambassador in Paris, from 1786 to 1789. Jefferson, later the third President of the United States, referred to Short as his "adoptive son."[why?] Short was an early member and president (1778–1781) of Phi Beta Kappa at the College of William & Mary.
During his time in Paris serving under Thomas Jefferson, he was often nominated as charge d'affaires in Jefferson's absence. Later, in 1790, he succeeded Thomas Jefferson as Minister to France, and he provided Jefferson, back in Virginia, with detailed reports on the progress of the French revolution. Subsequently, Short was Minister to the Netherlands and to Spain. In one instance, Short attended, on behalf of Jefferson, the dedication of a bust of Lafayette arranged by Jefferson. It was a gift from the people of Virginia to the city of Paris. Jefferson was unable to attend due to one of his migraine-headache attacks.
Love Letters and Romance with Rosalie De La Rochefoucauld
William Short never acquired the fame or political prestige he sought after in life, notwithstanding his charm and intellect, his diplomatic assignments in Europe, or through his close relationship with Thomas Jefferson, whom he considered a second father.
But Short developed an extraordinary romance with Alexandrine Charlotte de Rohan-Chabot, casually known as Rosalie, the Duchess de la Rochefoucauld. She was passionate and beautiful, a woman of the aristocracy during the French Revolution. Rosalie witnessed firsthand the violence during the Reign of Terror, with the assassination of her husband and the execution of her brother.
William and Rosalie’s love affair was recorded in hundreds of letters which detailed these events, documenting the lovers' pains of separation and their frustration with social norms. Likewise, their words of devotion are especially poetic and moving. The love letters are an authentic literary contribution, and offer delightful personal insights into a turbulent era of world history.
Though their affair was long and storied, she would eventually marry a kinsman, Boniface Louis Andre, Marquis de Castellane in 1810.
- Shackelford, p. 3
- “William Short, Jefferson's Only "Son"” The North American Review, September 1926, p. 471-486
- Shackelford, p. 160
- Shackelford, George Green (1993). Jefferson's Adoptive Son. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1797-6. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
- Kimball, Marie Goebel (1926). William Short, Jefferson's Only "Son". The North American Review. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
- William Short, Jefferson's Only "Son"
- Love Letters compiled by Marie Goebel Kimball
- Brief mention of Benjamin Franklin meeting the Duchess p89
- Portrait of William Short by Rembrandt Peale
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Charles W.F. Dumas
|U.S. Minister to the Netherlands
John Quincy Adams
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