Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Law to Thomas Jefferson, [received 14 November 1810]

From Thomas Law

[received 14 Nov. 1810]

Dear Sir—

You will in a few weeks be gratified by the census which will shew the increase of population during your peaceful & prosperous Government—How much more satisfactory than a list of the kill’d & wounded after a glorious Victory!

The accompanying may perhaps afford amusement during a leisure hour at Monticello, I should be happy if I could contribute a moment of pleasure to one who has rendered millions happy & promoted principles which have averted calamities

I remain With esteem Yrs mt respy

T Law—

I have perhaps studied brevity too much, should I publish my larger work, what may be now obscure will be luce clarius

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 191:34029–30); undated; endorsed by TJ as received 14 Nov. 1810 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Law, Thoughts on Instinctive Impulses (Philadelphia, 1810; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3250).

Thomas Law (1756–1834) was born in England and spent almost two decades in India as an employee of the East India Company, achieving some prominence there through his successful advocacy of a single, predictable land tax. He immigrated to the United States in 1794. In 1796 Law married Elizabeth Parke Custis, the eldest grandchild of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1811. He became known for his support for a national currency, his poetry, and his extensive real-estate investments in his adopted city of Washington, D.C. Law corresponded with TJ throughout the latter’s retirement (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1901, 22 vols. description ends ; ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ; Allen C. Clark, Greenleaf and Law in the Federal City [1901]; George Alfred Townsend, “Thomas Law, Washington’s First Rich Man,” Records of the Columbia Historical Society 4 [1901]: 222–45; Washington, Diaries, 6:238–9; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4453; Washington National Intelligencer, 1 Aug. 1834).

luce clarius: “clearer than daylight.”

Index Entries

  • Census, U.S.; of1810 search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Law, Elizabeth Parke Custis (Thomas Law’s wife) search
  • Law, Thomas; identified search
  • Law, Thomas; letters from search
  • Law, Thomas; Thoughts on Instinctive Impulses search
  • Thoughts on Instinctive Impulses (T. Law) search
  • Washington, Martha Dandridge Custis (George Washington’s wife) search