Thomas Jefferson Papers

Nathaniel G. M. Senter to Thomas Jefferson, 19 October 1812

From Nathaniel G. M. Senter

Ponfret October 19th [1812]

Esteemed Sir

I have this moment red some Papers containing Extracts from my Western Journal & send them to you for perusal likewise containing an address to my fellow Republicans of this State

I would be thankful to you if you would transmit to me the Papers containing a Description of the Goddess Veshu and West Minster Abby which I forwarded you from New Orleans. My Original Manuscript being in the hands of a Gentleman Abroad & wishing to gratify a Friend here I would be happy to possess them; with the Ones I now send you—I hope you will approve my Intentions in joining the U States Service and favour me with an answer,

With Sentiments of Veneration & Respect I remain, hoping you are in health, your devoted Servant

Nathl G M Senter

RC (MHi); partially dated; at foot of text: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia”; endorsed by TJ as received 29 Oct. 1812 and so recorded in SJL.

The papers that Senter enclosed probably included the Norwich, Conn., Native American, 14 Oct. 1812, which contained his “Address to the Republicans of Connecticut” defending the war against Great Britain; warning that the blood of India “cries aloud for mankind to be wary of British policy and power”; urging the protection of equal rights for all Americans; and denouncing political factionalism and the British sympathies of Federalists. On 7 and 14 Oct. that same newspaper published extracts from Senter’s “Travels in the Western Country, in 1811 and 1812,” describing his journey down the Mississippi from New Madrid (now in Missouri) to New Orleans, with particular attention to the December 1811 earthquake, interactions with Indians, and geographical features, one of which he compared to “the chasm in the Blue Ridge described by Mr. Jefferson” (see Notes, ed. Peden description begins Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. William Peden, 1955 description ends , 19). Senter’s description of the goddess veshu (Vishnu) has not been found, but he later recalled that he had written TJ at large “on the subject of East-Indian antiquities, and the government of the kingdoms of Hindoostan; and mentioned Veeshneu as the greatest, and most curious remain of religious sculpture, found in Asia. She was considered a goddess; her mausoleum is sculptured from a solid rock in the Ganges. She is said to have slept during a Calpa, or 1,000,000 of years, according to Hindoo mythology” (Senter, Vindication description begins Nathaniel G. M. Senter, A Vindication of the Character of Nathaniel G. M. Senter against the charge of being a Spy and a Traitor, Hallowell, Maine, 1815 description ends , 54).

Index Entries

  • earthquakes; near New Madrid search
  • India (Hindustan; Indostan); and N. G. M. Senter’s travel writings search
  • Indian Camp (W. Short’s Albemarle Co. estate); survey of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on the State of Virginia search
  • Native American (Norwich, Conn., newspaper); and N. G. M. Senter’s writings search
  • newspapers; Norwich, Conn.,Native American search
  • Norwich, Conn.; newspapers in search
  • Notes on the State of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson); description of Harper’s Ferry search
  • Senter, Nathaniel Greene Montague; letters from search
  • Senter, Nathaniel Greene Montague; seeks military appointment search
  • Senter, Nathaniel Greene Montague; Travels in the Western Country search
  • Senter, Nathaniel Greene Montague; travel writings of search
  • Short, William; and Indian Camp search
  • Travels in the Western Country (Senter) search
  • Vishnu; N. G. M. Senter on search