From the American Philosophical Society
Philadelphia, Janry. 7th 1797.
We have the Pleasure of informing You, that, at the annual Election of Officers of the American Philosophical Society for promoting useful Knowledge, held at Philadelphia, on the 6th. Instant, You were chosen President of that respectable Institution.
The Society, Sir, cannot soon forget the Loss they sustained by the Death of the late worthy and ingenious D. Rittenhouse; but, after expressing their grief on this melancholy Occasion, they look forward with this consoling Reflection, That, in the same Chair, from which two American Philosophers have, successively, instructed them, and the World, a Third is now seated; by whose Genius and Knowledge, our National Name will preserve a distinguished Place in the Annals of Science.
Permit us, Sir, on this Occasion, to express our Satisfaction in this pleasing Event; and, in being the Organs by which the Society announce their Choice. We are, With sentiments of the highest Esteem & Respect Sir, Your obedient Servants,
Secretaries of the American
RC (MHi); in Magaw’s hand, signed by each signatory; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson, Esq; Monticello via Richmond, Virginia”; stamped and postmarked; endorsed by TJ as received 21 Jan. 1797. FC (PPAmP: Ms. Minutes, 17 Feb. 1797); in Magaw’s hand, using initials for signatures and omitting the underlining in text and the words “the highest” from the closing. This letter was printed in APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings, xxii, pt. 3 , 250, with same variations as FC; and in APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Transactions, iv , xi–xii, following RC but without underlining of words in text.
The Protestant Episcopal clergyman Samuel Magaw and attorneys William Barton and John Bleakley had been members of the American Philosophical Society since 1784, 1787, and 1789, respectively (APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings, xxii, pt. 3 , 121, 147, 172).
Two american philosophers: Benjamin Franklin, first elected to the presidency of the society in 1769, and David Rittenhouse, who succeeded Franklin in 1791 (same, 23, 187).