To William Wingate
Monticello May 4. 16.
I recieved yesterday yours of Apr. 8. accompanied by a Manuscript volume of your interpretation of the Revelations, & their application to Napoleon Bonaparte. you request me to read it, to take minutes from it, to converse on it with Joseph Bonaparte, and to write to you the result. I am 400. miles from that gentleman, never was, and probably never shall be nearer to him. and my occupations do not allow me the time even to read it. I acknolege too that had I the time, I should prefer employing it on something more levelled to my capacity than the revelations. to understand them requires a head more sublimated than mine, and we derive no profit from reading what we do not understand. in returning the volume promptly therefore, I comply with the only part of your request in my power. I hope you will recieve it safely, and with it the assurance of my respects.
PoC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); on verso of reused address cover of Archibald Robertson to TJ, 3 Apr. 1816; at foot of text: “Mr William Wingate”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure not found.
joseph bonaparte had fled Europe for the United States in the summer of 1815, arriving in New York City on 20 Aug. Early in 1816 he was maintaining homes in Philadelphia and at Lansdowne, a country estate outside that city (Patricia Tyson Stroud, The Man who had been King: The American Exile of Napoleon’s Brother Joseph , 1, 13, 15).