Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Caspar Wistar, 22 October 1815

To Caspar Wistar

Monticello Oct. 22. 15.

Dear Sir

Your favor of the 9th is received, and I am much amused with the anecdotes of Logan, and other circumstances relative to the Indians. it is a great pity, and indeed a scandal that we let that race of men disappear without preserving scarcely any trace of their history. what an opportunity Hawkins has had to have given us the history of the Creeks during the period he has been with them: to have related their councils, debates, political views, wars, and to have followed them into their houses families fields and huntings. one such history would have given us a specimen of the whole. Heckewelder too, whom I knew very well, what could he do better than to give us the life of Logan, as a warrior, a statesman, an orator, a hunter, a father, son, & husband. I wish mr Dobbins may pursue this subje[ct.]

I have been more gratified by reading Birckbec[k’s ac]count of his tour thro’ France than by any publication for a long time. what a contrast with the dinners and suppers of Shepherd. in the former not a word to spare; not an observation which is not marked with sound sense. how precisely too he has seised the exact character of Bonaparte. altho’ much more of detail might have been given, and you wish for more, yet the solidity of what he does give counts for much. I should have been infinitely gratified had your rides in pursuit of health led you in this direction, where too you would have found as much of it as any where.the counties next below the blue ridge are deemed more healthy and of a much finer climate than those above would have probably fallen in with Correa, Gilmer and myself in time to have gone with us to the Peaks of Otter and Natural bridge I parted with them the 20th of Sep. on the bridge,from which they set out for Tenissee, S. Carolina & Georgia, uncertain whether they should return by sea or land. if the latter they will call on me either here or in Bedford where I informed them I should pass the month of November. however the French have a proverb which may stand me in stead. ‘tout-ce qui est differé n’est pas perdu.’ in your future rides and retirements from business you may perhaps try this route, where I shall always be most happy to see you. should I be in Bedford, where I stay much, you will find mr Randolph here & Jefferson who always speaks of you with a high sense of gratitude.he is married & become an industrious and skilful farmer.I salute you with great affection and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of George Ticknor to TJ, 18 June 1815; mutilated at seal; at foot of first page: “Doctor Wistar”; endorsed by TJ.

Morris Birkbeck (birckbeck) observed during his travels in France that Napoleon was successful in matters of internal improvement and government, but that his foreign policy had sacrificed French lives, commerce, and manufacture (Birkbeck, Notes on a Journey through France … in July, August, and September, 1814, Describing the Habits of the People, and the Agriculture of the Country, 1st American ed. [Philadelphia, 1815; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 7 (no. 324)], 106). tout-ce qui est differé n’est pas perdu: “not all that is postponed is lost.”

Index Entries

  • A Sketch of the Creek Country, in the years 1798 and 1799 (B. Hawkins) search
  • Birkbeck, Morris; Notes on a Journey through France search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; travels with TJ search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; U.S. travels of search
  • Dobbins, Daniel; and proposed biography of J. Logan search
  • Gilmer, Francis Walker; travels with TJ search
  • Gilmer, Francis Walker; U.S. travels of search
  • Hawkins, Benjamin; A Sketch of the Creek Country, in the years 1798 and 1799 search
  • Heckewelder, John; and Indians search
  • Indians, American; TJ on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Indians search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Napoleon search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Natural Bridge search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Peaks of Otter search
  • Logan, James (ca.1725–80) (Mingo Indian); anecdotes of search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; TJ on search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; TJ visits search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; visitors to search
  • Notes on a Journey through France (M. Birkbeck) search
  • Paris, in Eighteen Hundred And Two, and Eighteen Hundred And Fourteen (W. Shepherd) search
  • Peaks of Otter, Va.; TJ visits search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); and C. Wistar search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); TJ on search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); and C. Wistar search
  • Shepherd, William; Paris, in Eighteen Hundred And Two, and Eighteen Hundred And Fourteen search
  • Virginia; climate of search
  • weather; in Va. search
  • Wistar, Caspar; and T. J. Randolph search
  • Wistar, Caspar; letters to search
  • Wistar, Caspar; on Indians search
  • Wistar, Caspar; proposed visit to Monticello of search