Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Marcus Dyson, 19 May 1816

To Marcus Dyson

Monticello. May 19. 16


Your favor of the 6th is [r]ecieved, and I am sorry to say I am not able to answer your chemical enquiries with satisfaction. the antient chemistry was in possession of the schools when I was a student in them, and when that was reformed by the nomenclature of Morveau, and the theories of Lavoisier, I had become too much engaged in public affairs and the practical business of life, to undertake a fundamental renovation of any branch of science. I contented myself therefore with a general knolege of the system of Lavoisier, and have at no time followed it up with such a degree of attention as would authorise me to hazard opinions where error would be serious. the best informed Chemist of our state, as far as my acquaintance goes, is Joseph C. Cabell of Warminster, Senator for our district. he passed a considerable time in Paris, applied himself while there with assiduity to this branch of science, and availed himself of all the advantages which that place offers for it’s acquisition. were you to take the trouble of consulting him, he could probably satisfy your enquiries on grounds which would merit confidence. with a wish that your object may be accomplished, accept the assurance of my great respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); two words faint; at foot of text: “Mr Marcus Dyson”; endorsed by TJ.

Following TJ’s suggestion, on 27 May 1816 Dyson sent joseph c. cabell a letter and drawing similar to those he forwarded to TJ on 6 May 1816. According to Cabell’s endorsement on his letter from Dyson (RC in ViU: JCC), in his response he declined “to give any advice upon the Subject” and referred Dyson to Thomas P. Jones, the “Professor of chemy in Wm & Mary.”

Index Entries

  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; and M. Dyson’s underwater breathing apparatus search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; chemistry expertise of search
  • chemistry; scholars of search
  • chemistry; TJ’s knowledge of search
  • Dyson, Marcus; letter to search
  • Dyson, Marcus; underwater breathing apparatus of search
  • Guyton de Morveau, Louis Bernard; Méthode de Nomenclature Chimique search
  • inventions; diving apparatus search
  • Jones, Thomas P.; as college professor search
  • Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent; theories of search
  • Méthode de Nomenclature Chimique (Guyton de Morveau) search
  • William and Mary, College of; faculty of search