To Nicolas G. Dufief
Monticello Sep. 16. 16.
Your favor of the 6th with the MS. accompanying it comes to hand just as I am preparing to set out on a journey of considerable time and distance. I am therefore able to give it but a hasty perusal. this added to my want of familiarity with the technical methods of conveying instruction makes me an inadequate judge of that you propose. I have not indeed heretofore made myself acquainted, but very generally, with those of Pestalozzi & Lancaster. they are calculated for cities or large towns, but not at all for the sparse settlements in the country I inhabit. I have neglected them therefore as useless to us. I believe they have only been proposed for elementary instruction in the mother tongue. your idea, if I rightly comprehend it is to extend a method of somewhat similar effect to the acquisition of foreign languages. such an abridgment of the ordinary process would certainly be very beneficial, and the reduction of the expence [of] instruction to a few shillings would incalculably1 extend the advantages of education. but of the probability of it’s success I must repeat that I am an incompetent judge. of the value of your Nature displayed and of your Dictionary, I have before fully expressed my high estimate; and have further proved it by the many copies of both which I have purchased & given to those in whose education I take an interest; and altho to us in the country the process now proposed would be inapplicable, I sincerely wish it success for the benefit of those in towns as well as for your own. I now return the MS. with the assurance of my great esteem & respect.
PoC (DLC); on verso of a reused address cover from Benjamin Waterhouse to TJ; mutilated at seal, with one of the two damaged words rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “M. Dufief”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: enclosure to Dufief to TJ, 6 Sept. 1816.
1. Manuscript: “incalculaby.”
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