Thomas Jefferson Papers

John F. Dumoulin to Thomas Jefferson, 12 April 1816

From John F. Dumoulin

Pennsylvania Avenue Washington City April the 12th 1816


Permit me the honor of presenting you with the copy of an Essay on Naturalization and Allegiance which perhaps I have been too hazardous in publishing. Conscious of the many errors and faults which crowd in the Press and composition of its pages, I feel however some satisfaction in reflecting that leading principles I contend for, have had your approbation. With this impression I have occasionally taken a liberty with your name, and invoked it in the behalf of the assertion of human rights. Devoted as your life has been to liberty and philanthropy, your name has become too consecrated to humanity not to be recalled whenever it becomes the theme of discussion. You are now too well accustomed to this familiarity with your name and the freedom which the vanity of writers indulge themselves with, in presenting you with copies of crude and coarse productions, to be displeased at the liberties they take. May I therefore Sir request you will receive the acccompanying copy of my very imperfect Essay on Naturalization and Allegiance as a small token of the highest respect and of the most lively feelings of gratitude for your kind attentions and hospitality to me in the visit which I had the honor of making to Monticello in October. Be pleased also to present the other copy which attends this, to your Son Mr Randolph—I was happy to hear from Miss Randolph who was sometime since at the Presidents of your being in perfect health as also Mrs Randolph—May I beg you to present my respects to Mrs Randolph and Mr Jefferson Randolph and with many apologies for thus trespassing on you. I have the honor to remain Sir

with the greatest respect your humble and Obedient Servt

J: F: Dumoulin

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thos Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 3 May 1816 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Dumoulin, An Essay on Naturalization & Allegiance (Washington, 1816; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 11 [no. 633]).

In the enclosure Dumoulin took a liberty with TJ’s name by praising him as “the best and purest statesman of the age, the man whose virtuous life is a model of rigid republicanism …. the philosophic Jefferson, devised a measure of magnanimous, but secure policy, for his country” (p. 11; ellipsis in original). Dumoulin also quoted TJ’s views on the revisal of naturalization laws as expressed in his First Annual Message to Congress: “‘Shall we,’ said the virtuous Jefferson, in one of those enlightened addresses which, while President, he made to the legislature, ‘refuse to the unhappy fugitives from distress, that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this Globe?’ These were the words of Jefferson; of that illustrious man whose character fulfils every precept of the most rigid virtue, whose policy was peace, whose practice is virtue, whose words are wisdom, and whose heart is benevolence” (Dumoulin, p. 126; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 38 vols. description ends , 35:612–7, 620, 648–9).

Index Entries

  • An Essay on Naturalization & Allegiance (J. F. Dumoulin) search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); travels of search
  • Dumoulin, John Franklin; An Essay on Naturalization & Allegiance search
  • Dumoulin, John Franklin; letters from search
  • Dumoulin, John Franklin; visits Monticello search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; messages to Congress search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Dumoulin, John F. search
  • naturalization; J. F. Dumoulin on search
  • naturalization; TJ on search
  • President’s House; visitors to search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings sent to search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); health of search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); greetings sent to search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); books sent to search