Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, 4 May 1784

To G. K. van Hogendorp

Annapolis May 4. 1784.

Dear Sir

Having waited thus long in the vain hope of procuring a private and confidential conveyance for the papers you left in my care, I am obliged at length to trust them to the post, lest a longer detention of them should prove inconvenient. I hope they will pass safely.

The desire of establishing a correspondence, which I am sure will be useful to me, induces me to consider as an invitation to it on your part the letter you were so kind as to address to me. The sentiments therein expressed are much too partial, and I am sure had your time permitted you to have ranged a little more thro’ these states, you would have found many others whom they would have better fitted. I am particularly sorry that the route you had marked out for yourself did not permit me to introduce to you some of my own country who would have justly merited your praises. Your observation on the situation of my mind is not without foundation: yet I had hoped it was unperceived, as the agreeable conversations into which you led me, often induced a temporary inattention to those events which have produced that gloom you remarked. I have been happy and cheerful. I have had many causes of gratitude to heaven, but I have also experienced it’s rigours. I have known what it is to lose every species of connection which is dear to the human heart: friends, brethren, parents, children—retired, as I thought myself, to dedicate the residue of life to contemplation and domestic happiness, I have been again thrown by events on the world without an object on which I can place value. From those which are distant I am excluded by reason and reflection. The sun of life having with me already passed his meridian, with you he is ascending, and I sincerely participate of your rising prospects. Your thirst after knowlege, your capacity to acquire it, your dispositions to apply it to the good of mankind, with the ardent spirits of youth necessary to support a man against the impediments opposed to him, give your country much to hope from the continuance of your life. I shall take particular pleasure in administering to your information all future occurrences within my reach which may be worthy of your attention. As an earnest of this you will be pleased to accept the inclosed papers in the form in which they have ultimately passed Congress. To enable me to continue these communications you must be so good as to favour me with your address. On your part you will oblige me by a detail from time to time of those occurrences in Europe either political or literary which may be worthy of note, adding to them such informations relative to yourself as the interest I feel in your happiness will always render grateful to me. I do not yet relinquish the hope of seeing you in Philadelphia before your departure and of assuring you in person of the sincere esteem with which I have the honor to be Dr Sir Your most obedient & most humble servt,

Th: Jefferson

RC (Rijksarchief: Hogendorp Papers, The Hague); address cover missing. Dft (DLC); endorsed. Enclosures: These probably included, as being “among the papers you left in my care,” the three pieces on finance, slavery, and western territory printed herewith; they certainly included the following as identified in the entry in SJL: (1) “requisitions of Congr. for 1784,” probably the broadside printing of the Grand Committee’s report on arrears of interest on the national debt (see report under 5 Apr. 1784; JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxvii, 721, No. 434; no copy of the broadside is in the Hogendorp Papers); (2) “Report on Western territory,” broadside of the revised report of the committee (see Vol. 6: 610; JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxvii, p. 719, No. 427; a copy of this broadside with corrections and additions in TJ’s hand is in the Hogendorp Papers); (3) “resolutions of Apr. 31 [i.e. 30] on commerce,” probably the broadside containing the resolutions on commerce of 30 Apr. (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxvii, p. 721, No. 435, of which there is no copy in the Hogendorp Papers).

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