Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Louis H. Girardin, 12 May 1815

To Louis H. Girardin

Monticello May 12. 15.

Dear Sir

The unfortunate error into which I led you in conversation by [a] lapse of my memory, having interwoven itself into your narrative, I found it necessary to remodel that, in order to present a distinct view of the movements of the enemy, & my own, day by day as they occurred during Arnold’s excursion to Richmond. this is accordingly done now with an accuracy which you may rely on. this remodelling however rendered necessary some transpositions of the matter of your text, in order to connect every article with the fact to which it was adapted. but all is stated in your own words. so that altho’ looking at the marks of the pencil from page 257. to 261. it would seem as if I proposed to omit 3. or 4. pages, yet in truth the whole is retained with some changes only of order. but all this is still submitted to your own judgment; one thing only I ask from a sentiment of feeling; that is, to suppress altogether the note respecting Trent & Tatham. it may give pain to the latter who is living, and to the numerous & respectable friends of the former who is dead. have you any where1 mentioned the fact so honorable to Virginia that during an eight years revolutionary war, not a single person suffered by the sword of the law for treason?—I inclose you letters for Fayette, Thouin and Gallatin. Dupont is arrived in America. be so good as to let me know by return of the bearer the cost of the books you were so kind as to let me have that I may make provision on the subject before I set out to Bedford. lest you should have mislaid the list I will name them. Tertullian. Charron. Virey. Greek & Ital. lexicon. Simson’s mathematical exercises. Orations from Livy, Tacitus Etc. Janua trilinguis, Mair’s exercises. some others were noted, but had been otherwise disposed of. I salute you with esteem and respect

Th: Jefferson

RC (PPAmP: Thomas Jefferson Papers); one word faint; at foot of text: “Mr Girardin.” Enclosures: (1) TJ to Lafayette, 11 May 1815. (2) TJ to André Thoüin, 11 May 1815. (3) TJ to Albert Gallatin, 11 [May] 1815.

Burk, Jones, and Girardin, History of Virginia, 4:452–70, contains a narrative of TJ’s actions as governor during Benedict Arnold’s invasion of Virginia, 1780–81. The volume does not refer to trent or William tatham. The lenient policy against traitors is mentioned on p. 461.

In a list in his letter to Girardin of 7 July 1814, TJ expressed his intention to purchase works by Tertullian, Pierre Charron, Julien Joseph Virey, and Thomas Simpson, as well as a modern Greek–Italian dictionary. He did not there include the other books mentioned here: Jean Baptiste Dumouchel and François Joseph Goffaux, Narrationes excerptæ ex Latinis scriptoribus servato temporum ordine dispositæ; or, Select Narrations, taken from the best Latin authors, Justin, Quintus Curtius, Cæsar, Cicero, Titus Livius, Sallust, Suetonius, and Tacitus, 1st American ed. (Philadelphia, 1810; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 3 [no. 16]); Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius), Janua Linguarum Reserata, Greek trans. Theodor Simon, French trans. Étienne de Courcelles (Amsterdam, 1643, and later eds.; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 13 [no. 843]); and John Mair, An Introduction to Latin Syntax (Edinburgh, 1755, and later eds.; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 13 [no. 871]).

Missing letters from Girardin to TJ of 12 May, 26 July, and 16 Aug. 1815 are recorded in SJL as received from Glenmore on 12 May, from Richmond on 3 Aug., and from Milton on 16 Aug. 1815, respectively. TJ’s letter to Girardin of 2 July, not found, is also recorded in SJL. This last letter from TJ may be the one from which an extract appeared in the Richmond Enquirer, 26 Oct. 1816, in a publication announcement for Burk, Jones, and Girardin, History of Virginia, vol. 4: “Thomas Jefferson returns to Mr. Girardin his M. S. which he has read with great satisfaction. And must express with sincerety, his peculiar gratification on seeing this portion of American History, that of his native State, so ably recorded for posterity.”

1TJ here canceled “omitted.”

Index Entries

  • American Revolution; TJ on search
  • An Introduction to Latin Syntax (J. Mair) search
  • Apologeticus et ad Scapulam Liber (Q. S. F. Tertullianus) search
  • Arnold, Benedict; Va. invasion of search
  • books; dictionaries search
  • books; on mathematics search
  • books; on zoology search
  • books; school textbooks search
  • Burk, John Daly; The History of Virginia search
  • Charron, Pierre; De La Sagesse search
  • Courcelles, Étienne de; translates Janua Linguarum Reserata (J. A. Komenský) search
  • De La Sagesse (P. Charron) search
  • Dumouchel, Jean Baptiste; Narrationes excerptæ ex Latinis scriptoribus servato temporum ordine dispositæ search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; arrives in U.S. search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; and J. D. Burk’s History of Virginia search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; conveys letters search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; letters from accounted for search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; letters to search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; letters to accounted for search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; TJ critiques manuscript of search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; TJ purchases books from search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; visits France search
  • Goffaux, François Joseph; Narrationes excerptæ ex Latinis scriptoribus servato temporum ordine dispositæ search
  • Histoire Naturelle Du Genre Humain (J. J. Virey) search
  • Janua Linguarum Reserata (J. A. Komenský) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; orders books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; quoted search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; American Revolution search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; historical works search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; as governor of Va. search
  • Komenský (Comenius), Jan Amos; Janua Linguarum Reserata search
  • Latin language; study of search
  • Mair, John; An Introduction to Latin Syntax search
  • mathematics; books on search
  • Narrationes excerptæ ex Latinis scriptoribus servato temporum ordine dispositæ (J. B. Dumouchel and F. J. Goffaux) search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • religion; works on search
  • Revolutionary War; TJ on search
  • Richmond Enquirer (newspaper); advertises The History of Virginia (J. D. Burk, S. Jones, and L. H. Girardin) search
  • schools and colleges; textbooks for search
  • Select Exercises for Young Proficients in the Mathematics (T. Simpson) search
  • Simon, Theodor; translates Janua Linguarum Reserata (J. A. Komenský) search
  • Simpson, Thomas; Select Exercises for Young Proficients in the Mathematics search
  • Tatham, William; Revolutionary War activities search
  • Tertullianus, Quintus Septimus Florens; Apologeticus et ad Scapulam Liber search
  • The History of Virginia (J. D. Burk, S. Jones, and L. H. Girardin); mentioned search
  • The History of Virginia (J. D. Burk, S. Jones, and L. H. Girardin); TJ recommends search
  • The History of Virginia (J. D. Burk, S. Jones, and L. H. Girardin); TJ’s role in the preparation of search
  • Trent, Mr. search
  • Virey, Julien Joseph; Histoire Naturelle Du Genre Humain search
  • Virginia; British attacks on search
  • Virginia; governor search
  • zoology; books on search