Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Francis W. Gilmer, 17 December 1816

To Francis W. Gilmer

Monticello Dec. 17. 16

Dear Sir

On my return from Bedford after an absence of seven weeks I find here your favor of Nov. 27. I have perused with care and satisfaction your translation of Quesnay’s treatise on Natural right, and find not a word to alter. the sense thro the whole seems so consistent, that without having the original to collate with it, I have no doubt it has been truly preserved. the blank in the 5th page, if filled by the words ‘obtained by surprise’ and the word ‘perceive’ in the next line changed into ‘recognise’ will render truly the sense of the author as quoted at the foot of the page. I am in hopes it will be published, as nothing is less understood among us than the office of legislation and it’s proper limits. hence the Augean stable of acts of the legislatures in all our states. I salute you with great friendship and respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (CLU-C); at foot of text: “F. W. Gilmer esq.” PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover of Horatio G. Spafford to TJ, 23 Nov. 1816; mutilated at seal; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: enclosure to Gilmer to TJ, 27 Nov. 1816.

Gilmer entered TJ’s emendations into his translation, which was published posthumously (Gilmer, Sketches, Essays and Translations [1828], 175–201, esp. 183).

Index Entries

  • books; on natural law search
  • Gilmer, Francis Walker; as translator search
  • Gilmer, Francis Walker; letters to search
  • language; translations by TJ search
  • law; natural search
  • Le Droit Naturel (F. Quesnay) search
  • natural law; books on search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ returns from search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • Quesnay, François; Le Droit Naturel search