From J. H. Smith
Jefferson County Kentucky1 April 23d 1812
Venerable sage and father of your country.
A conative of the Old Dom[ain?]2 begs leave to address you, and solicit your advice on the following subject.
It appears that a Mr Neef, now resident in the vicinity of Philadelphia of the U.S., as an instructor of youth, has published a system of education, which being radically different from any thing literary that has heretofore been offered to the public, and being in a great measure unintelligible to the Subscriber and his whole circle of acquaintances, and presuming that an object of its declared importance, can not have escaped, Sir, your particular notice and Scrutiny, especially, as said Mr Neef, has been or at least seems to have been known as the above stated character,3 to the inhabitants of the Union, and particularly the Literate, for the space of ten years or upwards: the subscriber, therfore, in behalf of himself, and at the request of a number of his friends, depending on your clemency for librety so to do, has adopted this mode of soliciting your opinion on this Subject. Your compliance, Sir, with this wish, will add greatly to the Satisfaction of him who has long had the honor of being your devoted friend & humble Servant. Give me leave, Sir, to conclude by praying that, during the balance of your days (which may God happily prolong) you may enjoy the felicities of the earth in as super eminent a degree, as your verious & innumerable Services have been honorable to your self, and superlatively useful to your country and mankind.
J. H. Smith
RC (MHi); one word illegible; adjacent to signature: “Thomas Jefferson Eesqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 May 1812 and so recorded in SJL.
1. Remainder of dateline beneath signature.
2. Probably an abbreviation or slip of the pen for “Dominion.”
3. Word interlined, with insertion mark mistakenly placed after comma.