Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Abbé Morellet, 11 August 1786

To Abbé Morellet

Paris Aug. 11. 1786.


I am honoured with your letter of yesterday on the subject of the map. My original inducement to undertake the construction of it was to accomodate the bookseller who was engaged to publish the translation you have been so good as to make of my Notes; but I at the same time had in view to have as many maps struck off as might be necessary for the original edition in English, and even for a new edition in English, should one be ever printed. This therefore would render it necessary for me to retain the property of the plate, and of course to answer the expence of engraving it. What this will be I cannot tell. Faden the principal map seller in London asked me 50 guineas for the engraving, when the map was not near so much charged with writing as it is since. Be this what it will I shall pay it without expecting that your bookseller will be at all answerable, or do more than take the number of maps he may want at a rea[sonable price?]. This I suppose cannot be less than a livre; and I1 [‥‥ my] self the pleasure of waiting on you to pay you my respects but that in order to finish the map I have [allowed] the business of my office to get so far behind as to occupy me much. I have the honour to be with sentiments2

PrC (MoSHi); MS badly mutilated and a portion of the text entirely illegible. The Editors are indebted to Professor William A. Ringler, Department of English, Washington University, St. Louis, a scholar of high competence in the decipherment of difficult texts, for his attempts to restore that part of the text of this press copy where the chemical action of the ink has eaten quite through the paper and where the paper is otherwise mutilated. This press copy also exhibits a characteristic that may have followed from TJ’s shortage of copying paper at this time: that is, the impression of the top half of the first page of the missing RC appears at bottom of PrC; when this was done, TJ made another impression at the top of the PrC of all of the remainder of the text save part of the complimentary close, which must have carried over to the second page of the RC.

1At least three and perhaps four lines missing at the top of page, as described above.

2Text of PrC ends at this point; see Vol. 9:217, note 1.

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