Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Louis H. Girardin, 3 December 1814

To Louis H. Girardin

Monticello Dec. 3. 14.

Th: Jefferson returns his thanks to mr Girardin for the two plants of Cape Jessamine which are very acceptable, and will hold himself accountable for the price. he returns the copy of Tacitus having precisely the same edition in his petit-format library in Bedford, and if mr Girardin thinks it can go safely by post to mr Anderson, he will cover it by his frank. he has the Iliad1 also in 12mo but proposes to get a compleat edition of both the Iliad & Odyssey of which he has heard. Th:J. will without delay look over Skelton’s MS. he apprehends mr Girardin supposes his own MS. left with him, which he believes very certainly was not the case, but will be ready to look over it whenever mr Girardin shall afford him that pleasure. he sends the Journal desired. he always understood, altho’ he knows not from what source, that mr Henry was the person in view for the Dictator & he believes this understanding was general & notorious; but of the particular anecdote respecting Archibald Carey he does not recollect to have heard before; yet it is so like the firm resolution of the man that he is ready to believe it. of the particulars of the intrigue as to the Dictatorship Th:J. has been but very imperfectly informed.—he is sorry to hear of the indisposition of mr Girardin, hopes it will soon pass off, and that he shall soon have the pleasure of seeing him at Monticello. he salutes him with esteem & respect.

RC (PPAmP: Thomas Jefferson Papers); dateline at foot of text; addressed: “Mr Girardin Glenmore.” Not recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found.

TJ offered to examine without delay the manuscript constituting part of vol. 4 of Burk, Jones, and Girardin, History of Virginia. In the anecdote, the speaker of the Senate of Virginia, Archibald Cary, threatened to assassinate Patrick Henry if he was chosen to be dictator: “the day of his appointment shall be the day of his death—for he shall feel my dagger in his heart before the sunset of that day” (William Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry [Philadelphia, 1817; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 4 (no. 131)], 205). Although Jones and Girardin failed to include the story in their completion of Burk’s History of Virginia, they commended Cary for his “bold, impassioned, and energetic temper” during the crisis and stated that his staunch opposition to the idea “places him by the side of Cato, or even Brutus” (4:190).

A missing letter from Girardin to TJ of this date is recorded in SJL as received 3 (reworked from 4) Dec. 1814 from Glenmore.

1Reworked from “he has the identical edition also of the Iliad by.”

Index Entries

  • Anderson, Mr.; and transport of book search
  • books; on history search
  • Brutus, Marcus Junius; referenced search
  • Burk, John Daly; The History of Virginia search
  • cape jasmine (cape jessamine) search
  • Cary, Archibald; threatens P. Henry search
  • Cato the Younger (Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis); mentioned search
  • franking privilege; of TJ search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; and J. D. Burk’s History of Virginia search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; and plants for TJ search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; health of search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; letters from accounted for search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; letters to search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; TJ sends books to search
  • Henry, Patrick (1736–99); proposed as dictator search
  • Homer; Odyssey search
  • Homer; The Iliad of Homer (trans. A. Pope) search
  • Iliad (Homer); The Iliad of Homer (trans. A. Pope) search
  • jasmine (jessamine); cape search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; sends books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; franking privilege search
  • Jones, Skelton; and J. D. Burk’s History of Virginia search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); invitations to visit search
  • Odyssey (Homer); mentioned search
  • plants; sent to TJ search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); library at search
  • Tacitus; writings of search
  • The History of Virginia (J. D. Burk, S. Jones, and L. H. Girardin); on A. Cary search
  • The History of Virginia (J. D. Burk, S. Jones, and L. H. Girardin); TJ’s role in the preparation of search
  • Virginia; historiography of search