Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Walker, 3 September 1769

To John Walker

Sep. 3. 1769.

Galfridi-Filius Ambulatori S.

Ero apud Society spring on Tuesday per quatuor. Fortasse et I. Lepus-æmula veniet. Apis ibi et tu quoque. Ferto sequelam tuam Septentrionalem. Ferto etiam, ut ante tibi præcepi, tabulam scaccariam. Oculus feram viros. Si possemus gignere tabulam pro hac vice expressè factam, lignum apis puteus. Sed de hoc postea confabulemur. Suntne bubulæ terræ patris tui in Augusta salvæ? Id est nonne sint lapsabiles pro defectu cultûs vel quitrentorum? Non dubito quin salvæ suit, tamen vide dum potes. Verbum sat sapienti. Magna clades mox erit iis qui aliter sunt. Vale.

P.S. Celeberrimus ille Ferguson, qui scripsit de astronomia, venturus est, ut fertur, ad Coll. Gul. et Mar. successor dignus dignissimi Parvi!


Jeffery’s-Son to Walker, Greetings   Sep. 3. 1769.

I shall be at Society spring on Tuesday at four. Perhaps J[ohn] Har(e)-vie will also come. And bee you there too. Bring your northern following [friend?]. Bring also, as I asked you before, a chess board. Eye shall bring the men. If we could get a board made expressly for this use it wood bee well. But we will speak of that later. Are your father’s grazing lands in Augusta safe? That is, may they not be subject to lapse through lack of cultivation or quitrents? I have no doubt but that they are safe, but see to it while you can. A word to the wise. A great loss will soon come to those who are otherwise. Good-bye.

P.S. That most famous Ferguson, who wrote on astronomy, will come, it is said, to the College of William and Mary, an excellent successor to the most excellent Small!

RC (CtY). Addressed: “To John Walker esq. Belvoir.” English translation by Dr. Torsten Petersson, formerly Bibliographer of the Princeton University Library.

TJ’s bilingual puns—a time-honored form of verbal play among students—scarcely need explanation. Society spring: Probably an allusion to the Flat Hat Club, the earliest secret college society in America, of which TJ wrote many years later, “When I was a student … there existed a society called the F. H. C. society, confined to the number of six students only, of which I was a member, but it had no useful object, nor do I know whether it now exists” (to Thomas McAuley, 14 June 1819).

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