Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 25 October 1810

To William Duane

Monticello Oct. 25. 10.

Dear Sir

I now return the translated sheets. you will find in them some pencilled words, chiefly corrections of errors in the copyist. in one part they are something more. having retained a copy of the part I translated & forwarded to you in my first letter, I was enabled to collate that with the corresponding part now inclosed, and I found, in a few instances, changes in the structure of the sentence Etc which tho’ equivalent to the author’s own, yet were not exactly in the form he had chosen. knowing his precision of idea, and his attention to the choice of words for expressing them, I apprehended he1 would be better satisfied with our adherence to his forms of expression as far as the genius of the two languages would admit. I made the notes therefore merely with a view of recommending this generally. I will furnish you in due time with a very short epistle of the author to the reader, to be prefixed to the work. I salute you with esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Colo Duane”; endorsed by TJ.

The translated sheets, not found, were part of the manuscript of Destutt de Tracy, Commentary and Review of Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws.

1TJ here canceled “might be dissatisfied.”

Index Entries

  • Commentary and Review of Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws (Destutt de Tracy); preparation of search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; Commentary and Review of Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws search
  • Duane, William; and Destutt de Tracy’s works search
  • Duane, William; letters to search
  • French language; TJ translates works from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; translates Destutt de Tracy’s works search