Thomas Jefferson Papers

George Ticknor to Thomas Jefferson, 21 March 1815

From George Ticknor

Boston 21. March 1815.

Dear Sir,

I reached home yesterday morning, after a tedious and indeed a perilous journey, and found that your kindness had anticipated the request I sent you from Philadelphia. I need not tell you how much I am indebted to you for the signal favour you have done me by giving me the means of becoming acquainted with men so distinguished and so entirely of the class I should be most ambitious to know.

You judged rightly, when you conjectured, that the peace might first lead me to England. If I were to be governed only by my own inclinations, I should undoubted[ly] go first to Paris—the great mart of the science & literature of the world—but, three friends who are nearer to me than all the world besides, except my own family, are going to London & I cannot resist the affectionate kindness, which led them before I had returned & without consulting me, to bespeak my passage in the same ship with themselves. I shall, however, remain there but a short time, and then cross over to the continent. In this way, I imagine, I can be more useful to you than on my original plan. I shall be long enough in London to purchase such books as can be best obtained there, and yet soon enough in Paris to purchase the remainder. On this subject, however, I shall wait your instructions. We shall leave this port about the 12th proximo &, of course, a letter from Monticello will have full time to reach me before I sail; and even if it should arrive after I am gone, my father will immediately forward it to me in some one of the numerous vessels, which will leave here in the course of April & May.—

I shall observe your directions, in relation to the letters, which you have confided to me. As soon after I reach England, as a suitable opportunity occurs, I will send them to France—probably to our minister there—reserving to myself as a lawyer would say—a lien on their introduc[tory] contents and a consequent claim to become acquainted with the persons to whom they are addressed.

As occasions or subjects may offer, I shall not fail to take advantage of the permission you have given me of keeping for myself a place in your memory by addressing a few lines to you from amidst the literary society of Europe, and shall consider myself singularly fortunate, if, by giving you early1 notice of the advance of science there, I may be able in any imperfect degree to express my gratitude for all the kindness you have shown me.—

I cannot close a letter addressed to Monticello without recollecting & again acknowledging the hospitality I received there and asking you to do me the favour to remember me particularly to all its inhabitants.

Your’s very respectfully,2

Geo: Ticknor.

N.B. My father’s address is—Mr. Elisha Ticknor Boston—and any letters, which you may do me the favour to send to me either before I sail, or after I am gone, will, if directed to him, reach me by the first opportunity, through Mr. Adams our minister in Lond.

I enclose you the letter to Mr. Crawford, who, as you of course, know is on his return.—

RC (MHi); torn at seal; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Monticello, Albermarle county, Virginia”; franked; postmarked Boston, 23 Mar.; endorsed by TJ as received 30 Mar. 1815 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: TJ to William H. Crawford, 14 Feb. 1815.

The three friends who accompanied Ticknor aboard the New-Packet were Edward Everett, Nathaniel Appleton Haven, and Samuel G. Perkins (George S. Hillard, ed., Life, Letters, and Journals of George Ticknor [1876], 1:49; Ticknor, The Remains of Nathaniel Appleton Haven. With a Memoir of His Life [1827], xxiv; Boston Columbian Centinel, 15 Apr. 1815).

1Word interlined.

2Manuscript: “recpectfully.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John Quincy; mentioned search
  • Everett, Edward; travels to Europe search
  • Gallatin, Albert; as minister plenipotentiary to France search
  • Haven, Nathaniel Appleton search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction from search
  • New-Packet (ship) search
  • Perkins, Samuel G. search
  • Ticknor, Elisha; forwards letters to and from TJ search
  • Ticknor, George; and books for TJ search
  • Ticknor, George; carries TJ’s letters to Europe search
  • Ticknor, George; letters from search
  • Ticknor, George; returns TJ’s letter to W. H. Crawford search
  • Ticknor, George; TJ’s letters of introduction for search
  • Ticknor, George; travels of search