Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Jean Chas, 3 September 1801

To Jean Chas

Monticello Sep. 3. 1801.


I have safely recieved the copy of your history of the American revolution, of your smaller work on the Premier Consul of France, & of the Synonimes of Dalembert, Diderot & Jaucourt which you have been pleased to send me, and for which accept my respectful thanks, & the assurances of my sensibility at this mark of attention. it is a happy circumstance for our country that it’s fortunes interest the eloquent writers of your country and through them find their way to the notice of the world. the scenes through which we have past were worthy of your pen, inasmuch as to they presented to mankind the first example in Modern times of a people asserting succesfully the right of self government, and establishing that government among themselves by common consent. the mighty concussions of the European nations have not been unfelt here; they have on the contrary strongly interested the feelings of our citizens in different directions, and given us an example of the force with which the wave of popular opinion may bear upon the constituted authorities of the government. in so doing they have furnished an opportunity of estimating the stability of our edifice which fills with hopes and confidence the sincere friends of human liberty. Accept I pray you assurances of my high consideration & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “M. Chas.”

Safely recieved: see Chas’s letter of 1 Apr. 1801 concerning the books that he sent to TJ. Chas had written again from Paris on 29 Aug. 1801 to ask if TJ had received the books, which on 13 Apr. he had entrusted to Mr. Petit, a Baltimore merchant who sailed from Le Havre aboard the Benjamin Franklin. Chas wished that his situation would allow him to visit the United States, a people worthy of the attention, high regard, and respect of other nations, but he was a poor man whose fortune consisted only of nearly sterile talents (“talens presque steriles”) at a time when France still felt the upheavals of its revolution. Wishing TJ a long life, Chas hoped that Heaven would watch over the people whom TJ governed so wisely, and in whom prosperity, morals, and virtue were so comfortingly merged (RC in DLC; in French; endorsed by TJ as received 27 Mch. 1802 and so recorded in SJL; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 29 Aug. 1802).

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