Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours to Thomas Jefferson, 20 December 1811

From Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours

20 Xbre 1811.

Monsieur,

J’ai eu l’honneur de vous adresser ces jours derniers une Lettre assez étendue que Mr Barlow veut bien vous envoyer par la Frégate des Etats-Unis La Constitution.

J’apprends aujourd’hui que cette même Frégate portera en Amérique Mr de Correa de Serra, Portugais distingué, l’un des meilleurs Correspondans de notre classe à l’Institut, et qui Serait comme vous également bien placé à la premiere.

quand nous avons eu l’honneur de vous nommer Associé étranger, nous êtions Classe des Sciences morales et politiques. C’était une troisieme espece d’Académie qui valait bien les deux autres, où vous êtiez un membre très éminent, et où Mr de Correa Se serait aussi fort bien trouvé.

L’Histoire nous reste: C’est une très belle attribution. Pour ne la point perdre, nous n’en abusons pas; et même nous en usons gueres. Cependant la Classe S’est une fois Souvenue que cette noble Science êtait de Son domaine, et elle ne S’y est pas montrée inférieure à ce qu’on devait attendre d’elle.

C’est encore un genre d’étude où Mr de Corréa se ferait remarquer.

S’il n’était pas déja de notre Société philosophique de Philadelphie, je prendrais la liberté de le recommander à elle et à vous comme bien digne d’y entrer.

Mais à ce titre, il vous est déja connu et affilié.

S’il1 reste aux Etats-Unis, il Sera pour eux une Excellente acquisition.

S’il passe au Bresil, après avoir Sejourné aux Etats-Unis, il y portera l’estime que votre nation et votre liberté inspirent, et le tendre interet que mérite la douceur de votre Gouvernement.

Vous verrez bientôt que c’est un homme qui n’avait pas besoin que je vous le recommandasse2

Je crois que c’est moi qui avais besoin qu’il Sût que je vous Suis extrêmement attaché, et que vous m’accordez quelque bienveillance.

Je vous renouvelle l’hommage de mon respect.

DuPont (de Nemours)

Editors’ Translation

20 December 1811.

Sir,

I had the honor of sending you a few days ago a rather lengthy letter that Mr. Barlow is going to forward by way of the United States frigate The Constitution.

I found out today that this same frigate will carry to America Mr. Corrêa da Serra, a distinguished citizen of Portugal, one of the best correspondents in our class at the Institut, and a man who, like you, would have been equally well placed in the first class.

When we had the honor to elect you a foreign associate, we were the class of the moral and political sciences. This was a kind of third academy, as good as the other two, of which you were a very eminent member, and into which Mr. Corrêa would also have fit perfectly.

History remains with us, which is a precious responsibility. In order not to lose it, we do not abuse it; indeed, we hardly use it at all. However, the class remembered that this noble science was once within its scope, and it has proved equal to what was expected of it.

This is another field of study in which Mr. Corrêa would have been noticed.

If he were not already a member of our philosophical society in Philadelphia, I would take the liberty of recommending him to you and to the society as a man very worthy of joining it.

But he is already known to and affiliated with you.

If he stays in the United States, he will prove to be an excellent acquisition by your country.

If he goes to Brazil after spending some time in the United States, he will take with him the esteem inspired by your nation and your liberties, and the tender interest merited by the mildness of your government.

You will soon see that he is a man who does not need a recommendation from me

I would want him to know that I am very attached to you, and that you look kindly upon me.

I renew my regards and my respect.

DuPont (de Nemours)

RC (DLC); at head of text: “a Monsieur Jefferson Ancien President des Etats-Unis”; endorsed by TJ as received 31 July 1813 and so recorded in SJL, which adds that it was delivered “by Mr Correa de Serra.” Tr (DeGH: H. A. Du Pont Papers, Winterthur Manuscripts); posthumous copy. Translation by Dr. Genevieve Moene.

At this time Du Pont’s section of the Institut de France was responsible for ancient literature and histoire.

1Preceding two words replaced in Tr with “Il” (“He”).

2Tr: “recommande” (“recommend”).

Index Entries

  • American Philosophical Society; and J. Corrêa da Serra search
  • Barlow, Joel; forwards letters to TJ search
  • Brazil; and J. Corrêa da Serra search
  • Constitution, USS (frigate) search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; letter of introduction for, from P. S. Du Pont de Nemours search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; introduces J. Corrêa da Serra search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; letters from search
  • French language; letters in, from; P. S. Du Pont de Nemours search
  • Institut de France; and J. Corrêa da Serra search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search