Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Louis H. Girardin, 13 December 1814

To Louis H. Girardin

Dec. 13. 14.

Th: Jefferson must apologise to mr Girardin for not sending an answer to his note of the day before yesterday, which was occasioned by his servant’s departure while he was writing it. he now sends him Jones’s MS. and Mellish’s travells. the copy of the British spy which he possesses belongs to his petit format library in Bedford, where it now is. he has made a few unimportant notes with the pencil on mr Jones’s work; he will go over mr Girardin’s with pleasure & attention, and will freely make any remarks which he may think would be useful. from what he has already gone over he thinks there will be little room for any observation.—after mr Girardin left him the other day, he recollected that mr Wirt had requested information from him as to the proposition for a dictator, & that on that occasion he ransacked his papers & his memory, and wrote mr Wirt the result, which was almost nothing. he now sends mr Girardin a copy of what he wrote to mr Wirt on that occasion. he thinks with mr G. that Henry’s foibles should be lightly touched. it is not easy indeed to say whether his scheme of a dictator proceeded from ambition of which he had a great deal, or want of judgment, of which he had little. he was profoundly acquainted with mankind, particularly the lower order, & knew well how to lead them, towards which his unparalleled eloquence furnished an irresistable instrument. he salutes mr Girardin with friendship & respect.

RC (PPAmP: Thomas Jefferson Papers); dateline at foot of text; addressed: “Mr Girardin Glenmore.” Enclosures: (1) manuscript, not found, of a portion of vol. 4 of Burk, Jones, and Girardin, History of Virginia. (2) John Melish, Travels in the United States of America, in the Years 1806 & 1807, and 1809, 1810, & 1811, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1812; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4034). (3) extract from TJ to William Wirt, 14 Aug. 1814.

Missing letters from Girardin to TJ of the day before yesterday and 13 Dec. 1814 are recorded in SJL as received the days they were written. the british spy: Wirt, The Letters of the British Spy (Baltimore, 1811, and other eds.; Leavitt, Poplar Forest description begins Messrs. Leavitt, Catalogue of a Private Library … Also, The Remaining Portion of the Library of the Late Thomas Jefferson … offered by his grandson, Francis Eppes, of Poplar Forest, Va., 1873 description ends , 40 [no. 670]).

Index Entries

  • books; on history search
  • Burk, John Daly; The History of Virginia search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; and J. D. Burk’s History of Virginia 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); oratorical abilities of search
  • Henry, Patrick (1736–99); proposed as dictator search
  • Henry, Patrick (1736–99); TJ’s recollections of search
  • Henry, Patrick (1736–99); W. Wirt’s book on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; sends books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; P. Henry search
  • Jones, Skelton; and J. D. Burk’s History of Virginia search
  • Melish, John; Travels in the United States of America search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); library at search
  • Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry (W. Wirt); TJ provides information for search
  • The History of Virginia (J. D. Burk, S. Jones, and L. H. Girardin); TJ’s role in the preparation of search
  • The Letters of the British Spy (W. Wirt) search
  • Travels in the United States of America (J. Melish) search
  • Virginia; historiography of search
  • Wirt, William; and TJ’s recollections of P. Henry search
  • Wirt, William; Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry search
  • Wirt, William; The Letters of the British Spy search