Thomas Jefferson Papers

Nicolas G. Dufief to Thomas Jefferson, 22 October 1816

From Nicolas G. Dufief

A Philadelphie ce 22 Octobre 1816


J’ai bien des remerciemens à vous faire pour la bonté que vous avez eu de parcourir le manuscrit que je vous envoyai1 le mois passé. Je m’empresse, maintenant, de vous adresser le Prospectus de l’ouvrage. La méthode, comme vous y verrez, est applicable à l’enseignement même d’un seul individu; Sans cela, elle eût été défectueuse, et ne pouvait convenir comme vous l’avez, Justement, observé, qu’à l’enseignement des villes. J’ai fait des efforts inouis pour la rendre la plus complète possible. Beaucoup de personnes croyant qu’elle avait de l’affinité avec celle de Lancaster, j’ai cru devoir les éclairer à ce sujet, car non-Seulement elle ne lui ressemble en rien, mais même ce qui est très-Singulier elle2 en est l’antipode comme la lecture du Prospectus Suffira pour en convaincre

J’ai l’honneur d’être, Monsieur, avec le plus profond respect & la plus haute considération votre très-dévoué & très-reconnaissant servr

N. G. Dufief

Editors’ Translation

Philadelphia 22 October 1816


Thank you very much for having the goodness to skim the manuscript I sent you last month. I now hasten to send you the prospectus of the work. The method, as you will see, applies even to the education of a single individual. Without that, it would have been defective and only suitable, as you justly observed, to teaching townspeople. I have made unprecedented efforts to render it as complete as possible. As many people believed it was similar to Lancaster’s system, I thought it my duty to enlighten them on this subject, because, not only does it not resemble it in any way, but, and this is very remarkable, it is diametrically opposed to it, as a reading of the prospectus will suffice to convince anyone

I have the honor to be, Sir, with the most profound respect and the highest consideration, your very devoted and very grateful servant

N. G. Dufief

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 7 Nov. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Robert Patterson, 1 Jan. 1817, on verso; addressed: “Th: Jefferson, Esquire Monticello Va”; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 22 Oct. Translation by Dr. Genevieve Moene.

The enclosed prospectus, not found, was probably similar to the “Proposal” that Dufief inserted in the newspapers two months later, wherein he discusses the need for an improved edition of his Nature Displayed, in her Mode of Teaching Language to Man; stresses that his plan is “effectually adapted to the instruction of a single scholar, of several, or of thousands at the same time, by one teacher only”; explains that his method not only teaches proper pronunciation and grammar, but also helps to prepare its students for mathematical work; denies that his system is at all like “the Lancasterian plan of tuition by the aid of monitors”; hails the use in his work of stereotyping, which Dufief describes as “the art of printing on solid pages”; and announces that subscribers will receive two handsome, octavo volumes on fine paper, each about six-hundred pages long, at a total cost of $5 (Boston Daily Advertiser, 11 Dec. 1816, and elsewhere).

1Reworked from “adressai” (“addressed”).

2Manuscript: “ell.”

Index Entries

  • books; on education search
  • Dufief, Nicolas Gouin; letters from search
  • Dufief, Nicolas Gouin; Nature Displayed search
  • education; books on search
  • education; French language search
  • education; Lancasterian model search
  • French language; letters in, from; N. G. Dufief search
  • French language; study of search
  • grammar; study of search
  • Lancaster, Joseph; educational system of search
  • Nature Displayed (N. G. Dufief) search
  • printing; stereotyping search
  • subscriptions, for publications; educational search