From Nicolas G. Dufief
A Philadelphie ce 18 Septembre 1810
Mon cher Monsieur,
Comme je Sais par expérience que toute entreprise qui a pour but l’utilité générale est assurée d’être accueillie de vous, il m’est venu naturellement à l’idée de vous adresser le pamplet ci-Inclus
Si vos occupations ou plutôt les travaux dont vous vous occupez pour le bien de la société vous permettent de lire the Analysis, Je serai charmé de Savoir ce que vous pensez de mon plan de dictionnaire. Je vous avoue que je ne Suis pas Sans inquiétude car je crains qu’on ne le trouve trop vaste & que cette opinion ne nuise au Succès de l’ouvrage, ce qui Serait dommage, vu l’utilité dont il Sera, certainement, pour beaucoup de gens qui Sont bien éloignés de Se douter d’une pareille chose.
Aussitôt que le dictionnaire aura paru, ce qui Sera, J’espère, vers le milieu du mois prochain, je m’empresserai de vous en envoyer un exemplaire à l’adresse que vous aurez la bonté de m’indiquer
Agréez les vœux ardens que je fais pour votre Santé, & les assurances de la vive reconnaissance & du profond respect, avec lesquelles
N. G. Dufief
Philadelphia 18 September 1810
My dear Sir,
As I know from experience that any enterprise of public utility is sure to be welcomed by you, it naturally came to my mind to send you the pamphlet enclosed in this letter.
If your occupations or rather the works you have undertaken for the good of society allow you to read the Analysis, I would be delighted to know what you think of my plan for a dictionary. I must confess that I am not free from worry, because I fear that it will be found too long, and I worry that this opinion will be prejudicial to the success of the work, which would be too bad, considering how useful it will certainly be for many people who are far from imagining such a thing.
As soon as the dictionary is published, which will be, I hope, about the middle of next month, I will be eager to send you a copy at the address that you will be kind enough to give me.
Please accept my warmest wishes for your good health, and the expression of my deeply felt gratitude and profound respect, with which
N. G. Dufief
RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Th: Jefferson, Esqre”; endorsed by TJ as received 23 Sept. 1810 and so recorded in SJL. Translation by Dr. Genevieve Moene. Enclosure: prospectus, not found, but subsequently printed in PhiladelphiaAurora, 27 Sept. 1810, and reprinted there until 19 Oct. 1810, for Dufief’s forthcoming work, A New Universal and Pronouncing Dictionary of the French and English Languages, 3 vols. (Philadelphia, 1810; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4822; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library  description ends , 14 [no. 881]), now in the press of T. & G. Palmer; specifying that its three volumes will contain fifty thousand terms and names not included in other French dictionaries; with subjoined “Address to the Citizens of the United States, and the Inhabitants of the British Dominions in America”; describing volume one as including all French words in general use, with conversational phrases, literary expressions, scriptural language, proverbs, and technical terms, illustrated with examples of their use in sentences, English definitions, and the most extensive pronunciation dictionary ever published; volume two containing English and French dictionaries with pronunciations, a treatise on English articles, and a dissertation on English poetry; and volume three consisting of separate tools, including dictionaries of nautical terms, merchandise and manufacture, French and American coinage with a conversion table for American currency, weights and measures, French homonyms, synonyms, and “the difficulties of the French language alphabetically arranged,” treatises on French poetry and punctuation, dictionaries of ancient and modern mythology and iconology, of biography, geography, Latin quotations, and chronology, and closing with a French republican calendar; vouching for the accuracy of the work, “the proofs of which have been read no less than six times”; claiming that the small type is nonetheless “exceedingly conspicuous and grateful to the eye”; and giving thanks for the “very extensive circulation of the present edition,” which allows it to be sold at a moderate price.
Nicolas Gouin Dufief (ca. 1776–1834), language teacher and bookseller, was a native of Nantes who opposed the French Revolution in 1792 and settled in Philadelphia a year later. He was perhaps best known for a language manual, Nature Displayed, in her Mode of Teaching Language to Man: or, A New and Infallible Method of acquiring a language in the shortest time possible, deduced from the analysis of the human mind, and, consequently suited to every capacity. Adapted to the French, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1804; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4819; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library  description ends , 14 [no. 879]), which went through a dozen editions during his lifetime. Dufief regularly supplied TJ with books and became a frequent correspondent as well. He lived mostly in England after 1817 and died near London (DBF description begins Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933– , 19 vols. description ends ; DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1901, 22 vols. description ends ; ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ; Madeleine B. Stern, Nicholas Gouin Dufief of Philadelphia: Franco-American Bookseller, 1776–1834 ; Edith Philips, Louis Hue Girardin and Nicholas Gouin Dufief and their Relations with Thomas Jefferson: An Unknown Episode of the French Emigration in America , 57–71; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 32 vols. description ends , 32:343–5; John Davis, Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United States of America; During 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, and 1802 [London, 1803], 205–6; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3425; Gentleman’s Magazine, new ser., 1 : 561; Philadelphia Saturday Courier, 14 June 1834).
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