[on or before 6 Dec. 1801]
May it please Your Excellency
I am so Happy, so exceedingly Rejoiced to hear, that your Excellency encourages the Publishing the “glad tidings of Glory to God in the highest, on Earth Peace, Goodwill to Men;” the Gospell of Righteousness, Peace & Joy in the Holy Ghost”;—that I cannot easily resist the impulse that prompts me to send herewith—two small publications, which I hope will not unprofitably entertain your Excellency, some liesure half hour:—
Your Excellency will percieve; by the small detached one (in Reply to a detached Publication by Mr. Paine, his first part) that I am a sincere Friend to the Christian Religion, it’s consolations & supports in various very trying Circumstances, and near prospect of Death, have been powerfully felt by thousands; and Gratitude binds me—in particular—to speak well of, & to recomend to the happy experience of my truly Beloved Bretheren of Mankind—what I clearly apprehend to be from the Great First Cause, and Donor of all Good, to whom I am so unspeakably indebted;—
That Your Excellency may long be a Blessing to Your Beloved Country, enjoying all possible hapiness here, & hapiness unmixed hereafter;—is the Cordial wish & prayer of
Your Exellency’s most Respectfull most Obedient & very humble Servt.
P.S. No other Man on Earth knows that I have written the above} 3.3.3.
RC (DLC); undated; endorsed by TJ as received 6 Dec. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found, but see below.
reply to a detached publication by Mr. Paine: this may refer to A Reply to the False Reasoning in the “Age of Reason,” a pamphlet published by “A Layman” in Philadelphia in 1796 and attributed to Philadelphia attorney and Quaker Miers Fisher. An unsigned note by the author on TJ’s copy states: “In this first & small Essay, Brevity was consulted. Would the Infidells admitt of Scripture proof, it would probably have been three times the size; consistent with said Brevity. A plain & familiar Stile was also chosen, that it might be more generally usefull to those for whose perusall it was chiefly intended; The Author had not seen the 2d part of T. Paine’s ‘Age of Reason’ when he wrote this—but that 2d part is fully answered,—and in a more Masterly manner by the Bp. of Landaff” (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 1654; PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1877– description ends , 4:427–8). The reply by the Bishop of Llandaff referred to is Richard Watson’s An Apology for the Bible, in a Series of Letters, Addressed to Thomas Paine, Author of a Book Entitled, The Age of Reason, Part the Second, Being an Investigation of True and of Fabulous Theology (Philadelphia, 1796; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 1652; Vol. 32:190–1, 193n).