Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Law to Thomas Jefferson, 3 May 1814

From Thomas Law

Washington May 3rd 1814

Dear Sir.

I submit to you a production intended to be perused by the female sex which has so much influence on man from the cradle to the grave—

There is a case in the quarterly review of Octor 1811 page 286—which shews the distressing effects of oppression & contempt shewn to a boy of sensibility, & of the benefits resulting by a change to encouragement & benevolence, which strongly corroborates my sentiments—

“The phenomena of mind are influenced by a peculiar conformation of the brain, & also by its chemical composition, directly by the blood & indirectly by air, exercise & food”—this the physiologists acknowledge, but in my opinion, man is actuated very much by education which exercises the brain—Thus as printing disseminates moral sensations arising from novel circumstances, the human race is more & more spiritualised or operated upon by divine moral laws as violations of right are more execrated—

[Forgive?] me for th[us?] claiming your attention to a subject which many persons deem unimportant, but which I am convinced is deem’d by You worthy of attention

I remain

With sincere Esteem Yr mt Obt St

T Law—

RC (DLC); top edge damaged; endorsed by TJ as received 20 May 1814 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Law, Second Thoughts on Instinctive Impulses (Philadelphia, 1813; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3250).

The October 1811 issue of the quarterly review repeated an anecdote by educator Andrew Bell in which a student who had been the victim of relentless bullying improved dramatically when he was treated kindly (Quarterly Review 6 [1811]: 285–6, quoting from Bell, An Analysis of the Experiment in Education, made at Egmore, near Madras, 3d ed. [London, 1807], 74–5). Law’s quote on the phenomena of mind comes from a discussion of the work of Philippe Pinel (Edinburgh Review, 7th ed., 2 [1814]: 166).

Index Entries

  • An Analysis of the Experiment in Education, made at Egmore, near Madras (A. Bell) search
  • Bell, Andrew; An Analysis of the Experiment in Education, made at Egmore, near Madras search
  • education; and bullying search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Law, Thomas; letters from search
  • Law, Thomas; on education search
  • Law, Thomas; Second Thoughts on Instinctive Impulses search
  • Pinel, Philippe search
  • Quarterly Review search
  • Second Thoughts on Instinctive Impulses (T. Law) search