Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel G. M. Senter, 5 July 1812

To Nathaniel G. M. Senter

Monticello July 5. 12.


Your favor of May 19. from N. Orleans is just now recieved. I have no doubt that the information you will present to your countrymen on the subject of the Asiatic countries into which you have travelled will be acceptable as sources both of amusement & instruction: and the more so, as the observations of an American will be more likely to present what are peculiarities to us, than those of any foreigner on the same countries. in reading the travels of a Frenchman through the US. what he remarks as peculiarities in us, prove to us the contrary peculiarities of the French. we have the accounts of Barbary from1 European & American travellers. it would be more amusing if Melli-Melli would give us his observations on the US. if with the fables & follies of the Hindoos so justly pointed out to us by yourself & other travellers, we could compare2 the contrast of those which an Hindoo traveller would imagine he found among us, it might enlarge our instruction. it would be curious to see what parallel among us he would select for his Veeshni. what you will have seen in your Western tour will also instruct many who often know least of things nearest home.

The charitable institution you have proposed to the city of New Orleans would undoubtedly be valuable, & all such are better managed by those locally connected with them. the great wealth of that city will ensure it’s support, and the names subscribed to it will give it success. for a private individual, a thousand miles distant, to imagine that his name could add anything to what exhibits already the patronage of the highest authorities of the state would be great presumption. it will certainly engage my best wishes, to which permit me to add for yourself the assurance of my respect.

Th: Jeff[erson]

PoC (DLC); signature incomplete, probably due to polygraph malfunction; at foot of text: “Nathaniel Greene Montague Senter.” Printed in Senter, Vindication description begins Nathaniel G. M. Senter, A Vindication of the Character of Nathaniel G. M. Senter against the charge of being a Spy and a Traitor, Hallowell, Maine, 1815 description ends , 10–1.

The Tunisian ambassador, melli-melli, met with TJ during a diplomatic visit to the United States, 1805–06.

1TJ here canceled “men.”

2Word interlined in place of “tell.”

Index Entries

  • India (Hindustan; Indostan); and N. G. M. Senter’s travel writings search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; travel accounts search
  • Mellimelli, Sidi Soliman; TJ on search
  • New Orleans; and N. G. M. Senter’s charitable organization search
  • Senter, Nathaniel Greene Montague; and New Orleans charitable society search
  • Senter, Nathaniel Greene Montague; letters to search
  • Senter, Nathaniel Greene Montague; travel writings of search