Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Bowditch, 11 April 1818

To Nathaniel Bowditch

Monticello Apr. 11. 18.


I thank you for the copy of your Mathematical papers which you have been so kind as to send me. I am not strong enough for all their minute details, but am proud to find we have those among us who are so. I had supposed Delaplace beyond correction. most of all I was fond of believing in the solidity of his demonstrations that the variations in the motions of the planets are secular, only1 and regular, so as to secure the permanency of form in their orbits. it was comfortable to believe that the system does not involve within itself the principles of it’s own destruction, but will await the same fiat of wisdom & power which brought it into being. with my thanks be pleased to accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (MBPLi: Bowditch Collection). PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Peter Jefferson Archer to TJ, 8 Feb. 1818; at foot of text: “Mr Nathanl Bowditch”; endorsed by TJ.

delaplace: Pierre Simon, marquis de Laplace.

1Word reworked from “& r.”

Index Entries

  • astronomy; books on search
  • astronomy; TJ on search
  • books; on astronomy search
  • Bowditch, Nathaniel; letters to search
  • Bowditch, Nathaniel; Mathematical Papers search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives works search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; astronomy search
  • Laplace, Pierre Simon, marquis de; as astronomer search
  • Mathematical Papers (N. Bowditch) search