Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Manesca and Victor Value to Thomas Jefferson, 16 October 1815

From John Manesca and Victor Value

Philadie 16 Octobre 1815.


Nous avons cru que l’offrande de cette modeste production de notre plume, le premier ouvrage de ce genre publié, en français, dans les Etats-Unis, ne Serait pas dédaignée par le Philantrope, ami des lettres.

Nous avons l’honneur d’être,

Monsieur, avec la plus parfaite considération, Vos très humbles Serviteurs,

J. Manesca & V. Value

Editors’ Translation

Philadelphia 16 October 1815.


We thought that the offering of this modest production of our pen, the first work of this kind published in French in the United States, would not be disregarded by the Philanthropist, friend of the humanities.

We have the honor to be,

Sir, with the most perfect respect, your very humble servants,

J. Manesca & V. Value

RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); in an unidentified hand; at foot of text: “The Honble Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 25 Oct. 1815 and so recorded in SJL. Translation by Dr. Genevieve Moene. Enclosure: Manesca and Value, Historiettes Nouvelles, a l’Usage de la Jeunesse des Deux Sexes et des Ecoles (Philadelphia, 1815).

John Manesca (d. 1838), teacher, translator, and author, immigrated to the United States from Saint Domingue. From at least 1816 until his death he taught French in New York City. Manesca created an oral method of language instruction and authored works on that subject as well as on phrenology. In 1837 he was a founder of a New York society that promoted the beliefs of the French utopian philosopher Charles Fourier in the United States (Louis Manesca, The Serial and Oral Method of Teaching Languages; Adapted to the French [1856], xxii–xxiv; New-York Evening Post, 23 Oct. 1816; Longworth’s New York Directory description begins Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory, New York, 1796–1842 (title varies; cited by year of publication) description ends [1817]: 300; [1819]: 269; [1838]: 427; DNA: RG 29, CS, N.Y., New York, 1820; Carl J. Guarneri, The Utopian Alternative: Fourierism in Nineteenth-Century America [1991], 31–2; New York Evening Post, 3 Sept. 1838; New York Morning Herald, 4 Sept. 1838).

Victor Value (ca. 1792–ca. 1859), teacher and author, was a native of Saint Domingue who studied at the Collège de Sorèze in France. By 1819 he was teaching French in Mantua, near Philadelphia, and in the 1820s he served as principal of the Mantua Academy. Value continued to teach and administer schools at various locations in Philadelphia for the remainder of his life. He wrote books on mathematics and on language education, and in 1835 he was elected a curator of the newly formed Pennsylvania Lyceum of Teachers. In 1844–45 Value was a teacher of French at the University of Pennsylvania. He was living in Philadelphia at the time of his death (Nicholas B. Wainwright, “The Diary of Samuel Breck, 1814–1822,” PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1877–  description ends 102 [1978]: 503; Phyllis Kihn, “The Value Family in Connecticut,” Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin 34, no. 3 [1969]: 79–93; John Adems Paxton, The Philadelphia Directory and Register, for 1819 [Philadelphia, 1819]; New York National Advocate, 30 Apr. 1823; DNA: RG 29, CS, Pa., Philadelphia, 1830–50; Charles H. Pennypacker, History of Downington, Chester County, Pa. [1909], 56, 58–9; Catalogue of the Trustees, Officers, & Students of the University of Pennsylvania. 1844–45 [1845], 7; McElroy’s Philadelphia City Directory [1859]: 726; [1860]: 1014).

Index Entries

  • books; for children search
  • children; books for search
  • French language; letters in, from; J. Manesca search
  • French language; letters in, from; V. Value search
  • Historiettes Nouvelles (J. Manesca and V. Value) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Manesca, John; Historiettes Nouvelles search
  • Manesca, John; identified search
  • Manesca, John; letter from search
  • Value, Victor; Historiettes Nouvelles search
  • Value, Victor; identified search
  • Value, Victor; letter from search