Thomas Jefferson Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Jefferson, Thomas" AND Recipient="Dufief, Nicolas Gouin"
sorted by: date (ascending)
Permanent link for this document:

Thomas Jefferson to Nicolas G. Dufief, 16 September 1816

To Nicolas G. Dufief

Monticello Sep. 16. 16.

Dear Sir

Your favor of the 6th with the MS. accompanying it comes to hand just as I am preparing to set out on a journey of considerable time and distance. I am therefore able to give it but a hasty perusal. this added to my want of familiarity with the technical methods of conveying instruction makes me an inadequate judge of that you propose. I have not indeed heretofore made myself acquainted, but very generally, with those of Pestalozzi & Lancaster. they are calculated for cities or large towns, but not at all for the sparse settlements in the country I inhabit. I have neglected them therefore as useless to us. I believe they have only been proposed for elementary instruction in the mother tongue. your idea, if I rightly comprehend it is to extend a method of somewhat similar effect to the acquisition of foreign languages. such an abridgment of the ordinary process would certainly be very beneficial, and the reduction of the expence [of] instruction to a few shillings would incalculably1 extend the advantages of education. but of the probability of it’s success I must repeat that I am an incompetent judge. of the value of your Nature displayed and of your Dictionary, I have before fully expressed my high estimate; and have further proved it by the many copies of both which I have purchased & given to those in whose education I take an interest; and altho to us in the country the process now proposed would be inapplicable, I sincerely wish it success for the benefit of those in towns as well as for your own. I now return the MS. with the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of a reused address cover from Benjamin Waterhouse to TJ; mutilated at seal, with one of the two damaged words rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “M. Dufief”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: enclosure to Dufief to TJ, 6 Sept. 1816.

1Manuscript: “incalculaby.”

Index Entries

  • A New Universal and Pronouncing Dictionary of the French and English Languages (N. G. Dufief) search
  • books; dictionaries search
  • books; on education search
  • Dufief, Nicolas Gouin; A New Universal and Pronouncing Dictionary of the French and English Languages search
  • Dufief, Nicolas Gouin; letters to search
  • Dufief, Nicolas Gouin; Nature Displayed search
  • education; books on search
  • education; French language search
  • education; Lancasterian model search
  • education; Pestalozzi system search
  • education; TJ on search
  • French language; dictionaries search
  • French language; study of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; education search
  • Lancaster, Joseph; educational system of search
  • Nature Displayed (N. G. Dufief) search
  • Pestalozzi, Johann Heinrich; educational system of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search