From William Roscoe
Allerton near Liverpool 25th Ap. 1809
I presume upon your well known partiality to liberal & scientific pursuits, to introduce to your notice Mr Jno Bradbury, a Fellow of the Linnean Society1 who has undertaken a tour thro’ the province of Louisiana, for the purpose of collecting the various specimens of Natural History which it may be found to furnish. Among those who have encouraged his2 undertaking, in which he will be accompanied by his two Sons, are3 the Proprietors of the Botanic Garden in Liverpool, by whom he is requested to offer to your Acceptance a Copy of their regulations & a Catalogue of their collection. Shou’d he have the honour of delivering these in person, I trust you will find him well informed in the different branches of his favourite science, and capable of informing you of the progress which is here making in it. Any information, assistance, or advice, which you may have the goodness to afford him, will be gratefully acknowledged, as an obligation conferred—both on him, & on those who patronize his undertaking.—
It was with great concern that I found from the Letter with which you some time since honour’d me, that the volumes of the Life of Leo X. had been so long in arriving at their destination. If however they shou’d have the good fortune to afford you any amusement, and particularly if the sentiments on political & moral subjects, which unavoidably obtruded themselves in its composition, should meet with your assent, it will much more than compensate me for the4 bigotted censures & illiberal remarks of those who5 assume to themselves the same intolerance as they condemn in the Church of Rome. But it is much more probable that the discord which has arisen in Europe, the effect of which has been but too powerfully felt in the United States, has called your attention from the transactions of former ages,6 to more important & immediate objects.—Would to Heaven that your efforts for maintaining the7 honour and interests of your Country, and preserving it from those wars which still continue to desolate Europe, may be attended with a result equal to your own wishes; and that in retiring from your high station, you may carry with you into private life, in addition to the consciousness of having devoted yourself to the service of your Country, the satisfaction of finding that your efforts have been crown’d with success!—
RC (DLC); dateline below signature; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 6 Aug. 1809 and so recorded in SJL. Dft (UkLi: Roscoe Manuscripts); dated 26 Apr. 1809.
William Roscoe (1753–1831), historian, poet, and botanist, was a prominent supporter of the arts in Liverpool. TJ owned both of his major works, biographies of Lorenzo de Medici and Pope Leo X. After his retirement from the law in 1796, Roscoe became acquainted with James Edward Smith, the botanist and president of London’s Linnean Society. In 1802 Roscoe helped found and was first president of the Botanic Garden at Liverpool, and three years later he became a fellow of the Linnean Society (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1901, 22 vols. description ends ; Donald A. Macnaughton, Roscoe of Liverpool: His Life, Writings and Treasures, 1753–1831 ; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 170).
John Bradbury, an English botanist and naturalist, proposed to explore Kentucky and the Louisiana Territory to study plant life. Although neither of his sons actually traveled with him, he hoped to establish John Leigh Bradbury as a gardener in New Orleans. Bradbury had financial backing from the proprietors of the Liverpool Botanic Garden. Prior to his departure from Great Britain on 25 Apr. 1809, he obtained this letter and a copy both of Roscoe’s Address at the Opening of the Botanic Garden of Liverpool (Liverpool, 1802; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1085), to which the institution’s regulations were appended, and of A Catalogue of Plants in the Botanic Garden, at Liverpool (Liverpool, 1808; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1086), all of which he delivered personally to TJ at Monticello when he arrived on or about 6 Aug. 1809 (H. Stansfield, “Plant Collecting in Missouri: A Liverpool Expedition, 1809–11,” Liverpool Libraries Museums & Arts Committee Bulletin 1 : 17–31; H. W. Rickett, “John Bradbury’s Explorations in Missouri Territory,” APS, Proceedings 94 : 59–62; TJ to Meriwether Lewis, 16 Aug. 1809).
In his letter of 1 July 1806 (UkLi: Roscoe Manuscripts), TJ informed Roscoe that it took him a year to receive his gift of a copy of The Life and Pontificate of Leo the Tenth, 4 vols. (London, 1805; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 171).
1. Preceding six words canceled in Dft and interlined in RC.
2. Preceding two words interlined in Dft in place of “patronized this.”
3. Remainder of sentence interlined in Dft in place of “Lord Stanley, Mr. I Leigh Philips & the Proprs of the Bot gardens in Liverpl & Dublin.”
4. Preceding nine words interlined in Dft in place of “I shall think myself fortunate & shall have an additional motive for disregarding the.”
5. In Dft Roscoe here canceled “can see nothing right but in the.”
6. Preceding five words interlined in Dft in place of “past events.”
7. In Dft Roscoe here canceled “dignity &.”
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