Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Quinette de Rochemont, 18 May 1818

To Quinette de Rochemont

Monticello May 18. 18.

Dear Sir

On my return to this place after an absence of some weeks I found the letter of Feb. 11. with which you favored me by mr Holly. his visit (about the latter end of April) happened unluckily to be during that absence. I am infinitely indebted to you for the two pamphlets of Constant & Scheffer, which, with those you formerly sent me, have given me a more satisfactory view of the state and prospects of Europe than every thing I had read or heard before. I am now satisfied that the mass of mind in France & the countries North of that has taken a solid direction, which may be momentarily checked, but will ultimately attain it’s determined object, that of a government in which the people shall, by their representatives, ha[ve an] effectual controul. the horrors of Robespierre, and devastating frenzies of Bonaparte have indeed produced an ebb in the current of reformation; but the tide will return, and will overwhelm in it’s course all obstacles opposing it. the liberty of the press, the entering wedge of reformation, is justly viewed as the instrument first to be secured. and it doubtless is an instrument of difficult management. it’s abuses are most afflicting; but those it prevents are more so. punishment for the publication of injurious falsehoods, is the only, altho’ insufficient remedy. but our experience has proved that even these may be neglected, and that the good sense of readers soon recoils the calumnies on the authors of them.

I hope that on your return you will find your foreign oppressors withdrawn, or withdrawing, that you will have a safe entrance into your own country, and a welcome reception by it’s friends. I know enough of France, as well as of my own country to be sensible that the habits and society of that country must be reluctantly exchanged for those of ours: and that the chief merit of this, in the eye of the stranger must be the inviolable asylum it offers to persecuted worth. be assured, dear Sir, that my wishes are all alive for the accomplishment of a government to your country, as free as order will permit, for a safe and happy return to it for yourself and your worthy son, and that you carry with you the sentiments of my highest esteem and consideration.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (ViW: TC-JP); on reused address cover of Patrick Gibson to TJ, 23 Feb. 1818; two words faint; at foot of first page: “M. le baron Quesnai de Rochemont”; endorsed by TJ.

Index Entries

  • Constant de Rebecque, Henri Benjamin; works of search
  • France; freedom of the press in search
  • France; political situation in search
  • France; TJ on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives works search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; France search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; freedom of the press search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Napoleon search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; TJ on search
  • Quinette de Rochemont, Nicolas Marie; and freedom of the press search
  • Quinette de Rochemont, Nicolas Marie; family of search
  • Quinette de Rochemont, Nicolas Marie; letters to search
  • Quinette de Rochemont, Nicolas Marie; sends pamphlets to TJ search
  • Robespierre, Maximilien François Marie Isidore de; TJ on search
  • Scheffer, Charles Arnold; works of search