Paris 2d Jan. 1806.
I sincerely regret that I should be compelled to give you the trouble of reading the Volume of Documents transmitted herewith. the controversy, out of which the book has arisen, was not, as I believe you will discover from the book itself, a thing of my seeking; and whether Skipwith has, at bottom, been anything more than a tool to others? is to me somewhat doubtful. Be this as it may, defense, both on public and private grounds, became necessary, and I have, (fortunately I hope) been able to make one in the very terms of my motto—non verbis, sed factis. If in the combat I have handled Mr. Skipwith roughly and pushed him to an extremity equally unpleasant & unsafe, he has still to thank me for not driving him to one still more so, and which is sufficiently indicated in the last paragraph of the letter of the Min. of the Treasury (page ). To this, my motives were not altogether those of kindness and compassion, for I am willing to own, that could I have seperated the officer from the man, I might have been tempted to have left the latter to the chastisement he had taken so much pains to bring upon himself. As however the business is not of the most pleasant kind and as the pamphlet is itself a pretty large dose you will permit me to take my leave of them and doing so to assure you of the very high consideration & sincere attachment with which I have the honor to be,
Sir, your most faithful & obedient Servant
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.