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    • Jefferson, Thomas
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    • Spafford, Horatio Gates
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It is with sentiments of very great respect, but with extreme diffidence, that I offer to obtrude upon thy retirement, & invite again thy labors in the field of science. I ask thy aid. To a mind so constituted, & so long accustomed to exertion in every mean of usefulness to mankind;—I know that, having relinquished thy public employments, the more active exertions of private research will...
I am perfectly sensible that my acknowledgement of the due receipt of thy Letter of May 14, 1809 , ought not to have been postponed to this time. As it has been, however, I hope the delay will be attributed to the proper cause. It is but justice to say that, I receive the favor as I ought, & shall certainly not fail to improve the next edition of my Geography, by thy candid corrections....
Could I make thee fully sensible of the sentiments of esteem, & a regard almost reverential, with which I feel impressed on taking my pen to address thee, thou wouldest feel the more disposed either to receive my trifling communications with friendship, or to blame a degree of forwardness in my manner, not reconcilable with propriety, unless on the score of sentiments of good-will, & an ardent...
My Gazetteer of the State of New York being nearly out of press, I seize an occasion which my ardent wishes afford, p to present my respects, & enquire how I can forward thee a copy, without too great expense. Pardon me, my venerable friend, should the truth seem like folly; for, on this occasion, I can hardly refrain from tears. Addressing one of the venerable Fathers of our Republic, & one...
Thy favor of the 15. inst. , is duly received, & I hasten to send the book , by the Mail. I hope it will arrive safe, & find thee enjoying good health, & all the consolations that belong to a liberal benefactor to his country, in the evening of a well spent life. After thou shalt have examined the Gazetteer, I should be glad to hear thy opinion of its merits. The preface tells of the expense &...
I was duly favored with thy obliging favor of last autumn , & immediately sent the Gazetteer as directed. Did it arrive safe? & how dost thou like it? But, this is only a minor cause of my writing at this time, though I confess myself anxious to learn thy opinion of my Work. I am tired of this unceasing jargon of politics, with which I am surrounded, this warring of principle against no...
I am so frequently asked, ‘how does President Jefferson like the Gazetteer ,’ or ‘what does he say of it,’ that I hope thou wilt excuse my anxiety to learn. Possibly it may not have reached thee. I sent one in the Mail , a long time since. If that miscarried, I would send another. I must not trouble thee with a long Letter, but permit to add assurances of my wishes for thy health & happiness....
Highly as I appreciate the favor of thy friendly regards, I can but feel mortified at the length of time that has elapsed Since my last , & often admire at the cause. Sometimes I fear that the latitude allowed to my remarks, has given displeasure; then that, possibly, I asked too much, & I know that it is painful to deny some gratification. If, in any case, I have offended, pray have the...
Thy very interesting Letter of the 17th instant came duly to hand, & will form a kind of guide to my future life. Those sentiments were my own, except that in relation to the Lawyers, I was not informed of a possible cause, having read very little Law or Lawyers’ books. I hope I have an implied permission to show the Letter to some friends, for I have done so already. Ere this can reach thee,...
Detained by some business, beyond the time that I assigned in my last, I think proper to inform thee, & that I still am preparing to go to Washington , & to see thee, as I informed thee before. In the mean time, I presume to trouble thee with a solicitation in behalf of some interest I wish to make at Washington . The present Post-Master of this city, is a most worthy man, my intimate friend....
Events that have occurred since I last had the pleasure to write thee , have made it probable that I must defer my journey to Washington to a later period than October. Grateful for thy past favors, I regret to give thee any further trouble. But, it appears to me that the removal of Doct. Thornton from the Patent Office , must follow now, as a thing of course. And in this view, my wishes...
At length I have arrived in this city, exhausted with fatigue, having been travelling near 5 weeks. It is about 6 weeks since I crossed the St. Lawrence , on my return from Upper Canada , & I only rested one week at Albany . Under these circumstances, I regret to learn that it is much further than I had supposed, to Monticello . The winter is also approaching, & I feel in haste to return to...
I was duly honored w a late date ; and as I am always happy to have thy health remains good, so I always esteem it favor to receive thy Letters. The within will ow I am busying myself this Winter, & I expec t a pretty respectable Collection. I am, besid es printing a small pamphlet, a copy of whi ch I d esign for thee; & I am in hopes it may amuse thee for a few hours. I wish I had permission...
I send, herewith, the little pamphlet I mentioned in my Letter a few days since . I am in hopes it may amuse thee a few hours, & that thou wilt favor me with thy opinion of the principles I have laid down, & of the utility of my invention. The numerous & expensive experiments which I have made on this subject, shall be, in due time, detailed for some Literary or philosophical Society. I have a...
Could be apprized how often the enquiry is made, & “what does M r Jefferson think of your improvement in Wheel Carriages;?” & did he know my own anxiety to learn, his goodness would certainly excuse my impatience. For myself, I am perfectly satisfied; but the public thinks little of my opinion, & much of thine. Thy bitterest foes allow thee the highest rank in science, & philosophy. I...
Having sent thee my little pamphlet on Wheel-Carriages, & being anxious to have the principles of my invention fairly tested, I now send thee a Certificate of a single Right to use my improvement. The Certificate is the first I have filled; & I have pleasure in presenting it to the Man, who, of all others, I deem the best qualified to understand the principles of my Patent, & whose favorable...
My attention is called, by an old man of about 70 years, to a wish of his that 2 volumes of his writings may be submitted to thy examination. Doct. Williams has written the History of Vermont , in 2 8vo. volumes, & very naturally thinks that he has written very well. He is anxious to learn thy opinion of that Work; or at least to have it read by thee. The Doctor writes & thinks & feels like an...
The work of Dr. Williams , of which I spoke , is a Second edition of that which thou hast seen, published in 1809, at Burlington Vt. , in 2 8vo volumes, containing about 1000 pages. Much of it is written anew, & the additions are extensive & valuable. I know the Doctor would be highly gratified to have it read & applauded by thee. He prides himself on his Republican Sentiments, particularly in...
I embrace every opportunity for presenting my respects, constantly wishing thee all possible heath health & happiness. This Work has long been wanting, & for years I have been urged to undertake it. I am pretty well satisfied with the plan of it, & hope it may meet thy approbation. May I be permitted to solicit from thee something for it? It is designed for general circulation, & I shall spare...
A few weeks of ill health have confined me to the house, & prevented my correcting the proofs for the Magazine. Thou wilt find an interesting Biography of Baron Steuben , written by General William North , one of the Baron ’s Aids. The General does not wish to be publicly known as the writer. He is a distinguished Federalist, † I mention this circumstance, because that in doing justice to...
The event which I expected, has terminated the life of my friend Dox , & vacated the office of Post Master in this City . May I now solicit thy aid in obtaining that office for me? I need some kindness very much, having a numerous family to support, & having lately lost a good deal of property. Thy aid would be very grateful to my feelings, & an intimation from thee would ensure me success. I...
I enclose to thee a long Paper, which I wish to have thee read, & to favor me with thy suggestions on any amendment or alteration. I wish to learn thy opinion of the propriety of the sentiments, & whether or not it may be well to publish them now. It was intended for the Dec. & Jan. Nos. of my Magazine, but I have concluded to delay it till January. Please have the goodness to enclose the...
I am very thankful for thy attention, nor was it yet too late ‘ to be useful to me,’ nor is it still. My long Essay on establishing a School of Science, &c. had not, probably, reached thee, at the date of thy Letter , Dec. 27, ’15. I hope thou wilt have time to examine it, & to favor me with thy opinion, & advice. It has been read by several of our most eminent Literary characters, & some 4 or...
After a long delay, occasioned by adverse events, I Send thee, by this day’s mail , another No. of the American Magazine. The Essay, partially read by thee, concerning the establishing a New School at Washington , & new modeling the Patent system of the United States , is in type, & will be published in a few days. I am in hopes this Paper will engage the attention of the Administration. In 3...
The Essay which thou wast kind enough to wish to See in print, is commenced in this No., & I anxiously hope the spirit & plan of it may meet thy approbation; & that I may be favored with the assurance. It is venturing a good deal, but not more, in my opinion, than the circumstances of the times demand. For the good of our Country, it is neccessary that the Men of the South express their...
I am obliged by thy kind attention. Thy Letter of Dec. 20 , was duly received, & I shall avail myself of the Suggestion contained in it. By this day’s Mail, I Send No. 9 of the Magazine, with the conclusion of the Essay of ‘Franklin,’ to which I invite thy particular attention. Looking over Some old Papers, I have, just now, accidentally taken up the Letter enclosed , which I Send for thy...
I enclose, herewith; a Small Novel, of which I ask thy acceptance. It is the first thing of the kind that I have written, & I do not wish to be known as the writer. If it do but amuse thee, I shall be glad, & should gladly learn that the composition is approved. I hope thou wilt find time to read it, & that many years of health & enjoyment may be indulged to thee by that dread Being who guides...
If, from more important duties, & reading of greater interest, thou canst spare time to read my little Novel, I should be glad to learn how it is approved. RC ( MHi ); dateline adjacent to signature; addressed: “Hon. Thomas Jefferson, LL.D.”; endorsed by TJ as a letter from Spafford received 29 Apr. 1817 and so recorded in SJL .
Although I have not any thing to communicate that might Seem to excuse this Letter, yet, being about to remove from this State , & to abandon, for years, my late pursuits, I feel a desire to apprize thee of my intention & prospects. Weary of literary labors, I am Soon going to my farm, with an intention to devote 10 years to settling & improving my land, & my fortune. I own Some good land, in...
I take the liberty to enquire for thy health, & am anxious to learn if any of the seeds, with which I am stocking my Farms, would be acceptable on thine? I have lately obtained some very superior oats , from Russia , & some summer wheat & rye Summer rye ; th four or 5. varieties of wheat , from Europe & Africa
Thy evening of life is an object of general concern, amongst all those who are attached to Republican principles. I would not lightly obtrude upon its repose—for I feel towards thee a veneration I have never known towards any other person. But I desire permission to say, confidentially, that I have in contemplation, should I survive thee, to write a History of thy Life, on a scale of brevity,...
I was duly favored with thy reply to my last Letter, as indeed, I have always been, by every friendly attention from thee, for which I pray thee to accept my most hearty acknowledgements. To be thus honored, is among the most considerable of the consolations of this life. now beg leave to trouble thee with one request;—and can assure thee I am exceedingly afflicted by the necessity that...
Permit me again to recall thy recollection to the poor old literary drudge, who has constantly experienced the kindness of thy regard, & no small share of the ‘Calamities of Authors. After devoting 3 years to my new Lands in the Western part of Pennsylvania, expending as many thousand dollars, raising their values from 50 cents to 3 dollars an acre, an unfortunate difficulty about the title,...
After 20 odd years of investigation as an operative Chemist, I have succeeded in demonstrating the truths of a philosophical theory, which enables me to make the very best of Cast-Steel, (a Pure carbonate of Iron,) with such facility as to make the manufacture easy & sufficiently profitable. The Steel has been severely tested by the best artisans & mechanics, & is pronounced absolutely...
To save the trouble, let thy clerk, or some young man say whether I can send thee a 3 dollar octavo volume by mail, 620 pages, post free, & if not how I can send it? I have just published a Gazette & Geography of the State of New York, which I want thee to see. There are many things, incidentally said, besides mere topographical details, intended to counteract injurious tendencies in our young...
Thy Letter duly reached my family, & I have now the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of it. I send the Gazetteer herewith. Permit me to ask, that, after thou hast done with it, it may belong to the Library of the College, to which thou art devoting thy time & talents. If I could afford it, I would prefer to send a Copy, from the Author. The best part of my education was received in...
I am to much of a Virginian, & to friendly to the great design on which thou art bestowing thy talents, in the evening of a most illustrious & useful life, that I beg leave to present, for the Library of the Central College, the little Book sent herewith. Though perfectly aware of its dimmintive size, too small for a token of the Author’s regard, especially when offered to such a man as thee,...