Thomas Jefferson Papers

Dabney C. Terrell to Thomas Jefferson, 12 June 1816

From Dabney C. Terrell

Geneva. June. 12th 1816.

Dear Sir

It would be ill repaying the interest you have taken1 in me were I not to inform you of my prospects, now that I have arrived at the place of my destination. I believe I wrote you from Baltimore that as there was no vessel in that port sailing for any part of France, I had taken my passage to Amsterdam. I remained in Holland and the Pays-Bas about three week. At the Hague I met with Mr Eustis, the American Embassidor, from whom I experienced every attention during the few days that I was there. I afterwards saw him and Mrs Eustis at Paris, where I left them. After leaving Brussels2 I proceeded directly to Paris, where I arrived the 1st of May. I immediately presented the letters which you had been so good as to give me to Mr. Warden and Dr Jackson. Both of these gentlemen were extremely attentive to me. Mr Warden took a fatherly care of me; he indicated and conducted me to whatever he considered most worthy of observation in this famous capital. I remained a month there. In all this time my advancement in speaking French was scarcely perceptible; but since I have been here it surpasses my most sanguine expectations. The day after my arrival I presented your letter to Mr Pictet He immediately arranged every thing for me; and with respect to the studies that I shall pursue he thinks I can enter a class which will take the degree of A.M. in two years. They have nothing more to do with the classics. The studies of the class will be confined chiefly to moral and natural philosophy and the mathematics. I know nothing of philosophy and in this respect I am on an equality with the rest who are just entering this department. I believe I am somewhat more advanced in mathematics than they are, and this may perhaps give me time to compleat my knowledge of the Latin and to learn the Greek; in which case I will graduate at the same [time?]3 that the class does; and if I cannot do it the time will at all events have been well employed. It is with the deepest4 regret that I have read some articles in the Moniteur which arrived5 here this evening. If all that I see there be true the cause of the Patriots both in Mexico and South America is totally lost. But I still hope that the report of a Spanish General which is found among other things, on the same subject has either been writen at Madrid or that it is much exaggerated by the General himself. If the war in Mexico is prolonged untill I leave Europe I shall repair there immediately on my arrival in America. I should like very much to spend 8 or 9 months in Spain and above all at Madrid if that would be practicable.

Perhaps Mr Pictet will write by the same opportunity6 that I do. Pray, Sir, present my best respects to Mrs Randolph and the rest of the family, and believe me ever

Sir, ever, your most grateful and obedient7 servant

Dabney C. Terrell

P.S. I have waited several days for Mr Pictet to write, but as he has not done it yet I dispatch this.


RC (ViU: TJP-CC); endorsed by TJ as received 12 Aug. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (ViU: TJP-ER); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Bankhead, 14 Oct. 1816, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esq. Monticello Virginia”; with notes by John A. Morton: “Recd & forwd Bordx 25th June 1816, by Your obt Servt John A. Morton” and “Schr Spartan via New York”; stamped “SHIP”; franked; postmarked New York, 7 Aug.

pays-bas: literally “Low Countries,” the name given to a region consisting of the modern nations of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands (The New Pocket Dictionary of the French and English Languages [New York, 1817], 120; OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ).

1Preceding three words interlined.

2Manuscript: “Brusses.”

3Omitted word editorially supplied.

4Manuscript: “depeepest.”

5Manuscript: “arriveded.”

6Manuscript: “opportuni-.”

7Manuscript: “obdient.”

Index Entries

  • education, collegiate; curriculum of search
  • Eustis, Caroline Langdon (William Eustis’s wife) search
  • Eustis, William; as minister plenipotentiary to the Netherlands search
  • Gazette nationale, ou, Le Moniteur universel (Paris newspaper) search
  • Geneva, Switzerland; schools in search
  • Jackson, Henry (1778–1840); TJ introduces D. C. Terrell to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Family & Friends; relations with D. C. Terrell search
  • Mexico; independence movement in search
  • newspapers; French search
  • Paris; newspapers search
  • Pictet, Marc Auguste; TJ introduces D. C. Terrell to search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings sent to search
  • schools and colleges; in Geneva, Switzerland search
  • South America; republics in search
  • Spain; colonies of search
  • Terrell, Dabney Carr (TJ’s sister Martha Jefferson Carr’s grandson); letters from search
  • Terrell, Dabney Carr (TJ’s sister Martha Jefferson Carr’s grandson); studies in Geneva search
  • Terrell, Dabney Carr (TJ’s sister Martha Jefferson Carr’s grandson); travels of search
  • The Netherlands; W. Eustis as U.S. minister to search
  • Warden, David Bailie; TJ introduces D. C. Terrell to search