Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Wythe, 22 April 1790

From George Wythe

Williamsburgh, 22d of april, 1790.

G. Wythe to T. Jefferson

I have not been able, after long inquiry, to obtain the writings of Phlegon mentioned by Ferguson in his tables and tracts. Probably you can tell to whom and where application may be successfull. When you find convenient to give this information, add to the favour an etiquette, which may direct my London correspondent, to whom, with it, i shall transmit a bill of exchange, in procuring some books from Strasburgh.

RC (DLC); endorsed. Recorded in SJL as received 3 May 1790. On a separate sheet Wythe recorded the following quotation, which appears in James Ferguson’s Tables and tracts, relative to several arts and sciences, London, 1771, p. 193–4: “Phlegon informs us that in the fourth year of the 202d olympiad (which was the 4746th year of the iulian period, and the 33d year after the year of Christs birth) there was the greatest eclipse of the sun that ever was known: for the darkness lasted three hours in the middle of the day: which could be no other than the darkness on the crucifixion day; as the sun never was totally hid, above four minutes of time, from any part of the earth, by the interposition of the moon. Tables and tracts relative to several Arts and sciences, by J. Ferguson. London, 1767, pa. 193” in transcribing the quotation, Wythe employed his own style of punctuation and capitalization.

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