Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Isaac Zane, 24 December [1781]

To Isaac Zane

Richmond Dec. 24. [1781]

I am sorry to be told here that you are sick in Philadelphia. I had hoped to have had the pleasure of seeing you. You have heard probably of the vote of the H. of Delegates at the last session of assembly. I came here in consequence of it, and found neither accuser nor accusation. They have acknowledged by an express vote that the former one was founded on rumours only, for which no foundation can be discovered: they have thanked &c. The trifling body who moved this matter was below contempt; he was more an object of pity. His natural ill-temper was the tool worked with by another hand. He was like the minners which go in and out of the fundament of the whale. But the whale himself was discoverable enough by the turbulence of the water under which he moved. But enough of this—I had abundance of reasons for wishing to see you. Among others I have been answering to a gentleman of science a number of quries mathematical, meteorological, geographical, physiological &c. &c. and I wished to have drawn much information from you. Should you come within reach of Albemarle pray let me see you: otherwise I shall certainly visit you in Frederic as soon as the mild season sets in. I wish you much better health. Adieu!

RC (PHi); at head of text: “Th:J to Isaac Zane”; endorsed by Zane: “from Tho Jefferson Richd. Decr. 24–81. Ansd. by C. Logan feby. 25th. 1782.”

The trifling body who moved this matter: George Nicholas; see Archibald Cary to TJ, 19 June; the exchange between TJ and Nicholas, 28-31 July 1781; and notes and documents relating to the British invasions in 1781, above, Vol. 4: 261–2. another hand: It was TJ’s conviction that this was Patrick Henry; see note on Henry Young’s letter to William Davies, 9 June 1781. A gentleman of science: See TJ to Marbois, 20 Dec. 1781. See further, Zane’s answer to the present letter, 25 Feb. 1782. By an express vote: This, of course, refers to the vote of the House of Delegates of 12 Dec.; the acknowledgement in the resolution of thanks of the same date that “popular rumours” made it necessary to have an inquiry was struck out by the Senate and acceded to by the House.

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