Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Nicolas Gouin Dufief, 9 January 180[1]

To Nicolas Gouin Dufief

Washington Jan. 9. 1800. [i.e. 1801]


I am much obliged to you for thinking of me when you got the copies of Rabaut & Meyer, and I now inclose you John Barnes’s check on the bank of the US. for four dollars, the sum noted. should you possess Dumourier’s account of his campaigns, Carnot’s or Madame Roland’s books, I will thank you for them, by the stage, noting their cost which shall be remitted in the same way.—you will render a great service if you can abridge the acquisition of a new language. it would greatly facilitate our progress in science, if we could shorten the time necessary for learning the languages in which it is deposited. accept assurances of my respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr. N. G. Dufief”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso as a letter of 9 Jan. 1801 and recorded under that date in SJL. In a prospectus for his book on language instruction, Dufief in 1803 quoted as an endorsement from TJ the passage from “you will render” through “deposited,” with variations in capitalization and punctuation and the substitution of “if you could” for “if we could”; the extract, with the one phrase changed again to “if one could,” appeared also in at least one later edition of Dufief’s book (Gazette of the United States, 21 Dec. 1803; N. G. Dufief, Nature Displayed, in her Mode of Teaching Language to Man, 16th ed. [London, 1836], iv).

Rabaut & Meyer: see Dufief to TJ, 23 Dec. The books requested by TJ were Charles François Du Périer Dumouriez’s Mémoires, published in Hamburg and Leipzig in 1794; the Réponse de L. N. M. Carnot, Citoyen Français … au Rapport fait sur La Conjuration du 18 Fructidor … par J. Ch. Bailleul (London, 1799); and the Appel à l’Impartiale Postérité of Marie Jeanne Phlipon Roland de la Platière (Paris, 1795). See Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends Nos. 233, 235–6.

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