Thomas Jefferson Papers

Benjamin Smith Barton to Thomas Jefferson, 19 February 1815

From Benjamin Smith Barton

Philadelphia, Feb. 19. 1815.

Dear Sir,

In about 3 weeks, perhaps less, I shall sail for Europe. I shall visit France; the borders at least of Italy; & England (for a short time) on my return. my first & great object is the recovery of my health, which has suffered most severely this winter: indeed, a few days ago, I was so ill, that I hardly hoped to be able to take the voyage.—Besides my health, I have some favourite schemes in science in view. I shall not go wholly a stranger; but I still know, that letters from you, to any of your Europpean friends,1 especially the men of science & letters, will be eminently acceptable to me or any thing in a general way.—I am unacquainted with Mr Monroe, our Secretary. But you best know what would2 be useful to me.

Can I be of any service to you in Europe? I hope to visit Florence, where I may pick up something3 curious, relative to our country. Can you point out any objects for my inquiry? where do you think, Sir, I may chance to pass my summer, most agreeably to my health? Great heat is distressing to me.

whatever letters you may think proper to give me, I shall be happy to receive as early as you can: as I shall sail by the first good conveyance: to a French port, if I can.

I feel as though I stand, as an American,4 upon higher ground now in Europe, than before the war. We can hardly have fallen in the estimation of Europe.—

I beg you to present my best respects to Col. Randolpth & all your family: & be assured, that I am, with very high respect, Dear Sir,

Your very obedient servant, &c., &c.,

B. S. Barton.

RC (DLC); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Mar. 1815 and so recorded in SJL.

1Manuscript: “frieds.”

2Manuscript: “woul.”

3Manuscript: “somethig.”

4Manuscript: “stand, as an American, stand.”

Index Entries

  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; illness of search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; introduced by TJ search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; letters from search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; offers to assist TJ search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; trip to Europe of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction from search
  • Monroe, James; as secretary of state search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); greetings sent to search
  • weather; heat search