Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, 12 May 1800

To Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours

Philadelphia May 12. 1800.

Dear Sir

I am happy in having seen here M. Bureau Pusy. the relation in which he stands to two persons whom I so much esteem as yourself and M. de la Fayette, as well as his own merit ensured him my best wishes. he is now on the wing as well as myself. I have therefore only time to inform you that about three weeks ago you were chosen a member of the American Philosophical society by an unanimous vote. the diploma is made out and signed, but the Secretary who has the seal in possession is absent from Philadelphia, so that it cannot be sealed till his return. it will then be forwarded to you by one of the Secretaries. accept the sincere wishes for your health and happiness of Dear Sir

Your affectionate friend & servt

Th: Jefferson

P.S. The piece you put into my hands on the relations between animals & vegetables was read to the society and ordered to be printed in their next volume.

RC (DeGH: Winterthur MSS); at foot of text: “M. Dupont de Nemours.” PrC (DLC); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

The American Philosophical Society elected Du Pont to membership on 18 Apr. At that meeting the society also received his first contribution to its scholarship, a PIECE titled “Sur les Végétaux, les Polypes et les Insectes” (recorded in the society’s proceedings as “On the Analogy between Vegetables, and Polypi and Insects”). The essay was referred to Benjamin Smith Barton, who at the next meeting, 2 May, recommended it for publication. TJ attended both meetings. Du Pont’s paper appeared, in French, in the next volume of the society’s Transactions, and the author also sent it to Paris, where in August 1800, under the title “Observations et réflexions sur les rapports que les plantes ont avec les insectes en général et avec les polypes en particular,” it was read at a science and mathematics meeting of the National Institute (APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings, 22, pt. 3 [1884], 298–9; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Transactions, 5 [1802], 104–16; Gustave Schelle, Du Pont de Nemours et L’École Physiocratique [Paris, 1888; repr. Geneva, 1971], 427).

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