Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from Charles Bellini, 29 April 1781

From Charles Bellini

Dall’ Universitá in James-City 29 Aple 1781.

Sigre. Tommaso Amico e P[ad]rone Stimatissmo.

Non o potuto resistere alla tentazione di scriverle, e toglierle in conseguenza un poco del tempo da Lei destinato agli affari in queste calamitose circostanze.

Jo non so cosa i’ mi sia, nè che cosa sia per esser di me se io resto più qui; mi pare per altro ch’io sarò Suddito non più alle leggi di questo Stato, ma a quelle d’un Quadrumvirato. Questa idea solamente è piu che bastante a rendere i miei giorni infelicis-simi, e s’io non avessi la certa Speranza che Ella non vorrà mai scordarsi di me né mancare d’assistermi, io vorrei certamente finir la faccenda con una tazza di Tè. Poche delle Sue parole in un pezzo di foglio potrebbero, per ora, rimettere il mio Spirito in calma.

La mia moglie desidera vivamente che la Sua Sigra. Sposa non si scordi di Noi. Oh’ Se l’università potesse convenientemente rimuoversi in Albemarle, che bella cosa! Io lo desidero ardentemente, e frattanto io mi protesto con la piu perfetta Stima e rispetto Suo Divotmo. Obblmo. Servitore,

C.B.

RC (DLC). The editors are indebted to Professor A. T. MacAllister, Jr., Princeton University, for a transcription of this letter and for a translation on which the following summary is based.

Writing from the College of William and Mary, Bellini tells his “Friend and Most Esteemed Patron” that he could not resist the temptation to write and thus “take from you a little of the time intended by you for business in these calamitous circumstances.” He does not know what will become of him if he stays here longer; “it seems to me, however, that I shall no longer be subject to the laws of this State, but to those of a Quadrumvirate.” If he were not comforted by the thought that TJ will not forget or fail to assist him, “I should certainly end matters with a cup of tea.” Desires TJ to write him. His wife hopes Mrs. Jefferson has not forgotten the Bellinis. “Oh, if the university could conveniently move to Albemarle, what a fine thing it would be!” For an entertaining glimpse of the Bellinis and their longing for Italy at this time, see Peter S. DuPonceau’s “Autobiography,” PMHB description begins The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography description ends , lxiii (1939), 317–18. DuPonceau, later a distinguished Philadelphia attorney and man of learning, was at this time on the staff of Steuben.

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