Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Rodman, 25 April 1812

To John Rodman

Monticello Apr. 25. 12.

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to mr Rodman and his thanks for the translation of Montgalliard’s work which he has been so kind as to send him. it certainly presents some new and true views of the situation of England. it is a subject of deep regret to see a great nation reduced from an unexampled height of prosperity to an abyss of ruin by the long continued rule of a single chief. all we ought to wish as to both belligerent parties is to see them forced to disgorge what their ravenous appetites have taken from others, and reduced to the necessity of observing moral duties in future. if we read with regret what concerns England, the fulsome adulation of the Author towards his own chief excites nausea and disgust at the state of degradation to which the mind of man is reduced by subjection to the inordinate power of another. he salutes mr Rodman with great respect.

PoC (DLC); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ.

John Rodman (1775–1847) was a merchant in New York City by 1801. He spent three years in France before returning to New York City by 1812 to practice law. Rodman served as a major of artillery during the war of 1812 and in 1814 published a translation of the commercial code of France. He was appointed the state’s district attorney for the city and county of New York in 1815 and served until 1817, when he resigned and spent another year in France. In 1821 James Monroe appointed Rodman customs collector for the port of Saint Augustine, Florida, and he held this position until 1842. In Florida, Rodman continued to practice law and also served as an alderman for Saint Augustine and a prosecuting attorney for Saint Johns County. He died in New Jersey (Charles Henry Jones, Genealogy of the Rodman Family [1886] 34, 53–5; Longworth’s New York Directory description begins Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory. New York, 1796–1842 (title varies; cited by year of publication) description ends [1801], 264; New York Public Advertiser, 26 Sept. 1812; Rodman, The Commercial Code of France, with the Motives, or Discourses of the Counsellors of State [New York, 1814]; Rodman to Monroe, 1 Oct. 1814 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17]; Albany Gazette, 3 Apr. 1815; Rodman to Monroe, 27 Feb., 8 Mar. 1821 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1817–25]; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 6:57 [28 Apr. 1842]; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , esp. 22:17, 50–2, 357–8, 360; New York Evening Post, 17 Feb. 1847).

TJ had received Situation of England, in 1811 (New York, 1812), a translation “from the French, by a Citizen of the United States” of Jean Gabriel Maurice Roques, comte de Montgaillard, Situation de l’Angleterre en 1811 (Paris, 1811). The New York edition was printed by C. S. Van Winkle and copyrighted in that city by John Finch. It contained a preface by the anonymous translator dated New York, 10 Mar. 1812. SJL records no letter from Rodman to TJ, and the way he sent him this book has not been ascertained. Montgaillard’s own chief was Napoleon.

Index Entries

  • copyright; of translation of French work search
  • Finch, John; copyrights translation search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Napoleon search
  • Montgaillard, Jean Gabriel Maurice Roques, comte de; Situation de l’Angleterre en 1811 search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; TJ on search
  • Rodman, John; identified search
  • Rodman, John; letters from accounted for search
  • Rodman, John; letters to search
  • Rodman, John; sends book to TJ search
  • Situation de l’Angleterre en 1811 (Montgaillard) search
  • Van Winkle, C. S.; prints book search