Washington. Dec. 21. 07.
Your letter on the subject of military service was recieved on the 2d. instant. our foreign relations are certainly in a very unsettled state, but whether they will terminate in war cannot yet be foreseen. the decision of that question being given by our constitution to the legislature, it would be premature in the Executive to accept offers of military service before the competent authority has decided on their employment. the readiness of your offer however still merits the acknolegements which I now make for them, and when the proper moment shall arrive, it will be my duty to avail my country of the best talents which can be procured for it’s service. I return you the paper which was inclosed in your letter.
Your favor of Sep. 29. was not recieved till two days ago. I have with pleasure sent to mr Mackay my subscription to the book you recommend. no period in human history merits more to have all it’s truths produced than that of the French revolution. I am only sorry that the new lights which your materials are to throw upon it, are to be passed through the medium of a translation only. the best translation can render a sentiment but imperfectly; often falsely. a vast deal of human misery has already flowed from this revolution, accompanied by some good. but what will be it’s permanent effect on the happiness of mankind, those who come after us will decide. I salute you with great respect.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.