Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Smith Barton, 26 February 1815

To Benjamin Smith Barton

Monticello Feb. 26. 15.

Dear Sir

Congress having concluded to replace by my library the one which they lost by British Vandalism, it is now become their property and of course my duty to collect and put in place whatever stood in the Catalogue by which they purchased. this renders it necessary for me to request the return of Persoon’s Botanical work of which you asked the use some time ago. I am in hopes you will have been able to make it answer the purposes for which you wished it’s use. if well enveloped in strong paper it will come safely by mail.

I congratulate you on the happy event of peace and the great action of eclat at N. Orleans by which the war was closed. I hope the legislature will take care of your city, now become of so much greater importance by it’s manufactures. I have come to a resolution my self as I hope every good citizen will, [never ag]ain to purchase any article of foreign manufacture which can be had of American make, be the difference of price what it may. the greatest obstacle I apprehend to our manufactures is our slavish obsequiousness to British fashions. the British stuffs in fashion will be sent to us, and while our workmen are preparing to imitate them the fashion will have vanished, and our belles and beaux be drawn off to something newer. this is a great evil, but I fear an irremediable one. it is the particular domain in which the fools have usurped dominion over the wise, and as they are a majority they hold to the fundamental law of the majority.

Accept the assurance of my constant esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on recto of reused address cover to TJ; mutilated at seal; at foot of text: “Doctr Barton”; endorsed by TJ.

In his letter to TJ of 16 Oct. 1810, Barton had asked for Christiaan Hendrik persoon’s Synopsis Plantarum, seu Enchiridium Botanicum, 2 vols. (Paris, 1805–07; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1073; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 6 [no. 277]). your city: Philadelphia.

Index Entries

  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; and books borrowed from TJ search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; letters to search
  • books; on botany search
  • botany; books on search
  • clothing; imported search
  • Great Britain; peace with search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; catalogue of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; requests return of books lent search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Battle of New Orleans search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; British destruction in Washington search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; domestic manufacturing search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; peace with Great Britain search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; popularity of British clothing search
  • Library of Congress; TJ sells personal library to search
  • Library of Congress; TJ’s catalogue of books sold to search
  • manufacturing, household; TJ on search
  • New Orleans, Battle of (1815); TJ on search
  • Persoon, Christiaan Hendrik; Synopsis Plantarum, seu Enchiridium Botanicum search
  • Philadelphia; and domestic manufactures search
  • Synopsis Plantarum, seu Enchiridium Botanicum (C. H. Persoon) search
  • War of1812; British destruction in Washington search
  • Washington, D.C.; British destruction in search