Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to José Corrêa da Serra, 19 April 1814

To José Corrêa da Serra

Monticello Apr. 19. 14.

Dear Sir

Mr Randolph first, and latterly mr Short have flattered me with the hope that you would pay us a visit with the returning season. I should sooner have pressed this but that my vernal visit to Bedford was approaching, and I wished to fix it’s precise epoch, before I should write to you. I shall set out now within a few days, and be absent probably all the month of May; and shall be very happy to see you here on my return, or as soon after as may be. it will give me the greatest pleasure, and our whole family joins in the invitation, if, consulting your own convenience and comfort, you would make as long a stay with us as these should permit. you know our course of life. to place our friends at their ease we shew them that we are so ourselves; by pursuing the necessary vocations of the day, and enjoying their company at the usual hours of society. you will find the summer of Monticello much cooler than that of Philadelphia, equally so with that of the neighborhood of that place, and more healthy. the amusements it offers are such as you know, which, to you, would be principally books and botany. mr Randolph’s resignation of his military commission will enable him to be an associate in your botanical rambles. come then, my dear Sir, and be one of our family as long as you can bear a separation from the science of the world. since Bonaparte’s discomfiture I wish much to see you, to converse with you on the probable effect that will have on the state of the world, of it’s science, it’s liberty, it’s peace & prosperity, and particularly on the situation of our literary friends in Europe. percieving the order of nature to be that individual happiness shall be inseparable from the practice of virtue, I am willing to hope it may have ordained that the fall of the wicked shall be the rise of the good.

I can readily fulfil M. Cuvier’s request for the skin & skeleton of the Mink. I have procured a fine skin, and can at any time get the entire subject. the difficulty will be to find a vessel which would recieve so large a subject, and preserve the spirits in which it would be immersed. but this shall be an article of consultation when you are with us. the cranium of the buffalo cannot be procured but from the other side of the Missisipi. there I can readily obtain it. but it must go thence by the way of New Orleans, which cannot well be till peace. I have done for mr Warden what you and himself wished as to his commission. it’s effect with the government I have not learned. I also suggested to the government your observation on the difference of structure in vessels which the difference of specific gravity between salt & fresh water might render useful. Accept my thanks for Fossombroni’s book, which tho topographical, presents circumstances of curiosity. I salute you with sincere affection and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of first page: “M. Correa de Serra”; endorsed by TJ.

On 20 Feb. 1814 TJ paid his slave Philip fifty cents for a mink skin (MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1298).

Index Entries

  • bison, American (buffalo) search
  • books; on hydraulics search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; and D. B. Warden’s consulship search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; and T. M. Randolph search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; and W. Short search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; animal specimens requested from search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; letters to search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; on naval construction search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; proposed visit of search
  • Cuvier, Georges; requests animal specimens from J. Corrêa da Serra search
  • Fossombroni, Vittorio; Memorie Idraulico-Storiche sopra la Val-di-Chiana search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Napoleon search
  • Memorie Idraulico-Storiche sopra la Val-di-Chiana (V. Fossombroni) search
  • mink search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); climate at search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; TJ on search
  • Philip (TJ’s slave; b.1796); sells TJ a mink skin search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); and J. Corrêa da Serra search
  • Short, William; and J. Corrêa da Serra search
  • Warden, David Bailie; mentioned search
  • weather; TJ on climate search