Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Delaplaine, 30 October 1817

To Joseph Delaplaine

Monticello Oct. 30. 17.

Dear Sir

Your’s of the 14th got to hand a few days ago only, and with it the 2d number of the Repository. I now inclose you 12.D. for the 2. numbers recieved & for the next in advance, and will take care in future to keep always in advance. you ask my opinion again of this number. I find the style and execution entirely good. were I to indulge a criticism it would be that you extend to the living also the precept ‘de mortuis nîl nisi bonum.’ I have a right to say this as to myself. as it is impossible you should not sometimes be led into small errors, and may chuse hereafter to make a P.S. of correction, I note below some I found in my own biography. I salute you with esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

pa. 125. l. 10. Chesterfield & insert Albemarle.
136. l. 14. 15. dele ‘in the French language by M. de Marbois.’ it was printed by myself in Paris, & in English.
l. 16. ‘English’ & insert ‘French’. the translation was into French.
pa. 138. line 1. ‘this year’ and insert ‘1776
139. line 8. generally’ & insert ‘general.’
151. l. 4. from bottom. ‘the greater portion of his books’ and insert ‘his whole collection
155. l. 4. mr’ and insert ‘Mrs

RC (LNT: George H. and Katherine M. Davis Collection); addressed: “Mr Joseph Delaplaine Philadelphia”; franked; postmarked Charlottesville, 1 Nov.; endorsed by Delaplaine. PoC (DLC); on verso of a reused address cover from Joseph Milligan to TJ; endorsed by TJ.

de mortuis nîl nisi bonum: “of speaking no ill of the dead.”

In his postscript TJ supplied a number of corrections to the biography of himself that had recently appeared in Delaplaine’s Repository description begins Joseph Delaplaine, Delaplaine’s Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans, Philadelphia, 1816–18, 2 vols.; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 4 (no. 139) description ends , 1:125–55. He reported that the place of his birth was actually albemarle County; indicated that the biography had erred in stating that his Notes on the State of Virginia had first been published in the french language and then translated into English, instead of the reverse; clarified that it was in the summer of 1776 that he drafted a Virginia constitution and served in the Second Continental Congress; corrected the reference to the French body of tax collectors from Farmers-generally to Farmers-general; specified that he had sold his whole collection of books to the nation after the British destroyed the first congressional library in 1814; and stated that his daughter mrs Maria Jefferson Eppes, not her husband, died leaving two children.

Index Entries

  • Albemarle County, Va.; as TJ’s birthplace search
  • books; biographical on TJ search
  • Continental Congress, U.S.; TJ as member of search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; and biography of TJ search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; Delaplaine’s Repository search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; letters to search
  • Eppes, Maria (Mary) Jefferson (TJ’s daughter; John Wayles Eppes’s first wife); death of search
  • France; taxes in search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Descriptions of; biographies of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; in Continental Congress search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; draft constitution for Va. search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on the State of Virginia search
  • Library of Congress; destroyed by British troops search
  • Library of Congress; TJ sells personal library to search
  • Notes on the State of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson); translated into French search
  • Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans (J. Delaplaine) search
  • taxes; in France search
  • Virginia; TJ drafts constitution for search