Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Antonio Dugnani, 7 March 1815

To Antonio Dugnani

Monticello in Virginia Mar. 7. 15

My dear and excellent Cardinal.

My friend Doctr Barton proposing, for the benefit of his health, a voyage across the Atlantic, and a trial of the air of Europe, will probably be tempted to visit the classical and Splendid city of Rome. he is one of the Vice presidents of the American Philosophical society, Professor of Natural history, Botany, Materia Medica, and of the Institutes and Clinical practice of medecine in the University of Philadelphia, and distinguished by his writings in the physical sciences. your known and kind patronage to American citizens visiting Rome gives me confidence that the worth of Doctr Barton will ensure it’s benefit to him. in requesting my learned friend to present to you this letter himself, I am much gratified by the occasion it1 affords me of recalling myself to your recollection, and of renewing to you this testimony of my high respect. during so much revolution every where it has been a subject of anxiety to me to learn how you have steered through it. Accept, I pray you, the assurances of my constant and great esteem and consideration.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “His Excellency Cardinal Dugnani”; endorsed by TJ. Recorded in SJL as sent to Rome “by Dr Barton.” Enclosed in TJ to Benjamin Smith Barton, 7 Mar. 1815.

Antonio Dugnani (1748–1818), a native of Milan, was educated in that city and at the University of Pavia, where he received a doctorate in canon and civil law. Having moved to Rome to pursue an ecclesiastical career, he became a personal secretary to Pope Clement XIV in 1770 and was ordained a priest the following year. After serving for over a decade as a papal lawyer and auditor, Dugnani was elevated to archbishop in 1785. He was dispatched to France as apostolic nuncio in 1787 and struck up a friendship with TJ in Paris. When the French Revolution began Dugnani was unable to prevent the confiscation of church property and the reorganization of the French clergy to the Vatican’s detriment. He left the French capital in 1791. Raised to cardinal in 1794, Dugnani labored as a papal legate, adviser, and prefect of justice during the years that followed. He died in Rome (Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani [1960– ]; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 37 vols. description ends , 13:339, 346–7, 29:370, 31:559–60; TJ to Dugnani, 14 Feb. 1818).

1Manuscript: “if.”

Index Entries

  • American Philosophical Society; B. S. Barton as vice president of search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; and American Philosophical Society search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; as university professor search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; introduced by TJ search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; trip to Europe of search
  • Dugnani, Antonio; identified search
  • Dugnani, Antonio; letter to search
  • Dugnani, Antonio; TJ introduces B. S. Barton to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction from search
  • Pennsylvania, University of search
  • schools and colleges; University of Pennsylvania search