Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas, 19 March 1817

To Wilson Cary Nicholas

Monticello Mar. 19. 17.

Dear Sir

A considerable time ago I recieved from the Historical committee of the Philosophical society of Philada a letter informing me they were in possession of a MS. volume, which from their description I concluded must be a copy of Colo Byrd’s journal of the Carolina boundary. it was on that occasion I asked the favor of you to procure me the reading that work. as they meant to print theirs and there was no author’s name, they asked me to make enquiry concerning it and sent me their copy. on comparing them, the handwriting is the same, the subject the same, and unquestionably the author the same. yet they are different compositions, often mentioning the same circumstances, but more frequently supplementory each to the other, so that neither is compleat of itself. I think therefore that if one is printed the other should be also. as I do not know from what member of the Westover family you obtained the one you sent me, I must again avail myself of your kind mediation to know whether we may be permitted the use of this one to print it. I will undertake for the return of a printed copy of both instead of this; for manuscripts get so cut up and dirtied in the process of printing as to be in fact destroyed. I reserve both these works in my hands until I can obtain an answer, but ready to return this one whenever required. I salute you with constant affection and respect.

Th: Jef[fer]son

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of James Madison to TJ, 15 Feb. 1817; signature faint; torn at seal, with missing text rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “Wilson C. Nicholas esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

The letter from the historical and Literary Committee of the American philosophical society was Peter S. Du Ponceau to TJ, 14 Nov. 1815.

Index Entries

  • American Philosophical Society, Historical and Literary Committee; and W. Byrd manuscripts search
  • American Philosophical Society; collections of search
  • Byrd, William (1674–1744); The History of the Dividing Line search
  • Byrd, William (1674–1744); The Secret History of the Line search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); and W. Byrd manuscripts search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); letters to search
  • North Carolina; boundary with Va. search
  • The History of the Dividing Line (W. Byrd [1674–1744]); manuscript of search
  • The Secret History of the Line (W. Byrd [1674–1744]) search
  • Virginia; boundary of with N.C. search