Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Matthew Adgate, 9 July 1802

From Matthew Adgate

Canaan Columbia County
State of New York July 9 1802


A fellow Citizen, unknown to you, and bearing a Solitary name, in the Republic of Letters, having drawn, an Epitome of the Creator, in his three fold being:—also, man his Creature, in his likeness, to his Creator:—attempting thirein a discription of the Soul:—together with the scriptures of Truth, as the word of God, unfolding man to himself, in placing the Soul, in its Goverment over the Body of flesh; to lead man back to his god:—and also in this Epitome drawn the picture of man, as co equel in Nature; made so by his God:—and then drawn, a Natural Rule of Goverment for this creature man, in his social state of accountability to God, and man; as practiced at the first:—and now again taking place in mans world over man; whereby unlawfull dominion, and power.—is giving place in our federated state:—thereby restoring true dignity to man, in his Probation world:—concluding the whole by some observations on the Two witnesses so particulerly mentioned in Johns Apocalipse; as Referring to our day, our Acts, and Deeds: and our equel Rights.—

I wish Sir to lay this Epitome at your Door:—that if the greater concerns of the Nation over which you preside:—or your own domestic claims: will at any leasure hour permit: it might pass under your Philosophical eye:—not persuming to ask the Boon, of a reply, to this or that; yet should you think its contents, worthy patronage:—as calculated in our equal day of helping man better to know, his God; himself, and Brother man: I shall readily wish the same to arrest the attention of equel man: that the same common principle of Nature in man: and Natures world, might be better learnt, by every Grade in our Sociel world:—

without further consuming your time, I Subscribe1 myself your fellow Labourer (in a Low grade of Life) in the field of Social equel man.—

Matthew Adgate

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “His Exellency Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 19 July and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: probably A Northern Light; or New Index to the Bible: In Which the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity Is Explained, and the Evidence Thereof Taken from Nature and the Scriptures, Man Himself Being the Great & Leading Truth Thereto (Troy, N.Y., 1800; Evans, description begins Charles Evans, Clifford K. Shipton, and Roger P. Bristol, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from . . . 1639 . . . to . . . 1820, Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–59, 14 vols. description ends No. 36775), which has been attributed to Adgate.

Matthew Adgate (1737–1818) was born in Norwich, Connecticut, but eventually settled in the part of Albany County, New York, that later became Columbia County. He became politically prominent during the American Revolution and represented Albany County in the convention that drafted New York’s state constitution in 1777. Elected one of Columbia County’s delegates to the convention called to ratify the Federal Constitution, he assumed an active role in the antifederalist coalition and voted against ratification. He also served several terms in the state assembly and as a judge of the court of common pleas for Columbia County. He later moved to Clinton County, where in 1818 he published A Digest, or, Plain Facts Stated: In Which the Gospel and Law Are Compared in Some of Their Most Important Parts . . . (Plattsburgh Republican, 7 Mch. 1818; Merrill Jensen, John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, and others, eds., Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, 21 vols. to date [Madison, Wis., 1976–], 22:1671, 1676).

1MS: “Subscriber.”

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