Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Elisha Ticknor, 5 July 1815

To Elisha Ticknor

Monticello July 5. 15.


I had the pleasure of possessing here for a short time your son Mr George Ticknor, a little before his departure for Europe; and expressing my intention of importing some books, he was so kind as to offer his service in looking out for the best editions. his perfect knolege of the subject rendered the offer too advantageous to me not to be accepted thankfully. on his return to Boston he informed me he had changed his purpose of going direct to Paris, and should first go to London; and that there might be no danger of my letter’s miscarrying from this circumstance, he recommended to me to put it under cover to yourself, who, he observed, would know his address in London, and would be so good as to forward it to him at that place. on this encouragement from him, I have taken the liberty of inclosing a letter to your address, with the request to forward it to him at London, having sent a duplicate thro’ the Secretary of State to be delivered to him in Paris. for presuming to propose this trouble to you, I hope you will find my excuse in the friendship of your son: and I cannot pass over the occasion of congratulating you on the possession of such a son. his talents, his science, and excellent dispositions must be the comfort of his parents, as they are the hope of his friends & country; and to those especially who are retiring from the world & it’s business the virtues and talents of those who are coming after them, are a subject of peculiar gratification. Be pleased to accept the assurance of my great respect and consideration.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Elisha Ticknor Boston”; on verso of reused address cover of William Short to TJ, 9 May 1815 (see note to TJ to Short, 15 May 1815); endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: TJ to George Ticknor, 4 July 1815.

Elisha Ticknor (1757–1821), educator, merchant, and community leader, was born in Lebanon, Connecticut. In 1774 he moved with his parents to New Hampshire. In 1783 Ticknor graduated from Dartmouth College, after which he taught briefly nearby before opening a school in Boston in 1785. He was the principal of a grammar school in that city, 1788–94. Ticknor published a popular textbook, English Exercises (Boston, 1792). He became a grocer by 1795, prospered, and retired in 1813. Thereafter Ticknor served as a Boston selectman and justice of the peace, helped found a local savings bank, and strongly supported the creation of free primary schools. After their establishment in 1818, he was active on the Boston Primary School Committee. Although they never met, Ticknor exchanged more than a dozen letters with TJ during the years following his son’s stay at Monticello in 1815. He died during a visit to Hanover, New Hampshire (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; General Catalogue of Dartmouth College and the Associated Schools, 1769–1925 [1925], 89; Joseph M. Wightman, Annals of the Boston Primary School Committee [1860], esp. 18, 63–4; Boston Columbian Centinel, 25 July 1795; Boston Gazette, 15 July 1813; Boston Repertory, 14 Mar. 1815; Boston Daily Advertiser, 23 Nov. 1816, 24 Apr. 1818, 25 June 1821; The Massachusetts Register … 1820 [Boston, 1819], 41).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; orders books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; G. Ticknor search
  • Library of Congress; TJ replaces books sold to search
  • Monroe, James; TJ forwards letters through search
  • State Department, U.S.; forwards letters search
  • Ticknor, Elisha; forwards letters to and from TJ search
  • Ticknor, Elisha; identified search
  • Ticknor, Elisha; letters to search
  • Ticknor, George; and books for TJ search
  • Ticknor, George; TJ on search
  • Ticknor, George; travels of search