Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Lee to Thomas Jefferson, 11 May 1816

From William Lee

Bordeaux May 11. 1816.


I beg leave to inclose you a letter from Mr. Gard, professor at the Deaf and Dumb College in this city. He is considered in this country as a phenomenon for though deaf and dumb he is familiar with every branch of Science and literature—he wrote the inclosed himself, and brought it to me to correct but I thought it best to make no alteration in it. There is no one Sir who can appreciate his merits better than you, or who can determine how far those rare talents he possesses can be made useful in our country. I can assure you he is considered far Superior to the Abbé Sicard who has acquired so much celebrity in Europe in instructing the deaf and dumb;—Being but twenty eight years of age and of an excellent constitution he has a large margin for improvement, and if fixed in the United States would in all probability live to see his proposed institution carried to the highest perfection it is Susceptible of.

He will be highly flattered in receiving a line from you. I have led him to believe that if our Government to whom I have written on the subject should not think proper to favour his project he would find no1 difficulty in procuring individual patronage.

I have the honor to be with high esteem and respect Your very humble Servant.

Wm Lee

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 10 July 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to William W. Hening, 15 Sept. 1816, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia” by “Mr Zantzinger U.S. Navy”; stamped “SHIP”; franked; postmarked Baltimore, 3 July. Enclosure: François Gard to TJ, 9 Apr. 1816.

The deaf and dumb college was the Institution Nationale des Sourdes-Muettes in Bordeaux (Adrien Cornié, Étude sur l’Institution Nationale des Sourdes-Muettes de Bordeaux, 1786–1889 [1889], 1, 25).

1Manuscript: “no no.”

Index Entries

  • deafness; education of deaf and mute search
  • disabilities, persons with; and education for deaf, mute, and blind search
  • education; for deaf, mute, and blind search
  • Gard, François; seeks to establish school for deaf and mute in U.S. search
  • health; deafness search
  • Institution Nationale des Sourdes-Muettes search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); and F. Gard search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); forwards letters to TJ search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); letters from search
  • Sicard, Roch Ambroise Cucurron; and education of the deaf and mute search