Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph C. Cabell, 28 February 1816

To Joseph C. Cabell

Monticello Feb. 28. 16

Dear Sir

You enquire whether Say has ever been translated into English? I am certain he never has in America, nor do I believe he has in England. I have never seen his work named in their catalogues or advertisements nor do I believe it has been noticed by the Edinburgh reviewers. nor have they noticed the Review of Montesquieu, altho Duane sent them a copy. you will render this country a great service in translating it; for there is no branch of science of which our countrymen seem so ignorant as Political economy. the bulk & prolixity of Smith forbid venturing on him. I salute you always with affection

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViU: TJP); addressed: “Joseph C. Cabell esq. of the Virginia Senate now in Richmond”; franked; postmarked Milton, 2 Mar.; endorsed by Cabell. PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Cabell to TJ, 24 Jan. 1816; endorsed by TJ.

Jean Baptiste Say’s Traité d’Économie Politique was not published in English translation until 1821 (Say, A Treatise on Political Economy; or the Production, Distribution, and Consumption of Wealth, trans. Charles R. Prinsep, 2 vols. [Boston, 1821]; Robert R. Palmer, J.-B. Say: An Economist in Troubled Times [1997], 125). For William Duane’s effort to have Destutt de Tracy’s work on montesquieu reviewed in the Edinburgh Review, see Duane to TJ, 14 Feb. 1813, and TJ to Duane, 4 Apr. 1813.

Index Entries

  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; and J. B. Say’s writings search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; letters to search
  • Commentary and Review of Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws (Destutt de Tracy); TJ on search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; Commentary and Review of Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws search
  • Duane, William; and Destutt de Tracy’s works search
  • Edinburgh Review search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; J. B. Say’s writings search
  • political economy; TJ on study of search
  • Say, Jean Baptiste; Traité d’Économie Politique search
  • Smith, Adam; works of search
  • Traité d’Économie Politique (J. B. Say) search