Thomas Jefferson Papers

Robert Miller (1775–1861) to Thomas Jefferson, 1 September 1818

From Robert Miller (1775–1861)

Philada Septr 1st 1818


I Take the Libberty of Enclosing for your inspection, a few Heads of a Subject I have been Employ’d in for Some Months. I cannot Suppose it is Strange to you, but certainly it is to myself. chance and a Little spare time has Enabled me to Go a Length that Alarms myself. Yet I Should think the pursuit of Knowledge and Truth Should not be Laid asside, meerly to please the caprices of Self Styl’d Learn’d Men. I Know not any of the Dead Languages, and Scarcely my own, I have not practised Study. Nor never could comprehend the confused and forced Manner of our Grammar, hence you will Excuse the inaccuraces of one presuming to Occupy your time with what probably you may think Nonsense, but Should I find you Either have Known or can Look favourably on it, your advise (as far as you may feel warranted) whether any part thereof Should come to Light would be Verry acceptable. no man yet Knows it of my acquantance and Knowing the Aspersions that ignorance and prejudice cast on what they think innovations, you may be deter’d from Saying Any thing to one Totally unaquanted, but Should you think it worth Notice, Mr Henry Clay of Kentucky can inform you who I am. and whether any danger could be Apprehended from that Sourse.

I have made out a Kind of Dictionary of most of the words necessary to retranspose the Epic and which will Enable any one to Read Ancient history and Know Every character. I find it opens an immense field to the mind, and no End to figures, but unfortunately it involves with all the Languages,—or Caballas, the whole History of the Bible—a chapter of which containing as Great a Variety of Characters as any I Enclose

I am sir your Verry Obt & Hbl Servt

Robert Miller

words in Italicks tell plainly the progress the form, and the change, observe the [word?] Even in 59. and 64.

RC (DLC); corner torn; between dateline and salutation: “Mr Tho Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 11 Sept. 1818 and so recorded in SJL.

Robert Miller (1775–1861), merchant and public official, was a native of Albemarle County. At the age of nine he moved with his parents to Madison County, Kentucky, where they acquired a large tract of land. Miller’s father gave him some of this property, situated in what in 1798 became the town of Richmond, where Miller ran a farm and an inn. By 1805 he and his brother William had a shop in Lexington, Kentucky, and three years later they were also doing business in Glasgow, in nearby Barren County. Sometime in 1805 or 1806 Miller became a creditor of Aaron Burr and his ally Harman Blennerhassett and thus became entangled in Burr’s machinations to seize Spanish territory in the West. After suing both men for debt, Miller took possession of Blennerhassett’s estate on a Virginia (later West Virginia) island in the Ohio River. Miller farmed hemp there until March 1811, when a fire shut down this operation. Later that same year he patented a machine to process flax and hemp. Back in Kentucky, Miller resumed his mercantile pursuits, which occasionally brought him to Philadelphia. He also served as Richmond’s postmaster from at least 1810 until his removal in 1829, and he was active as a Freemason in the Lexington and Richmond lodges. Miller represented Madison County in the Kentucky Senate in 1829 and 1834–38. He died at his farm near Richmond (William H. Miller, History and Genealogies of the Families of Miller … and Brown [1907], 54, 119, 122–4; Clay, Papers description begins James F. Hopkins and others, eds., The Papers of Henry Clay, 1959–92, 11 vols. description ends , vols. 1 and 3; Kentucky State Historical Society, Register 40 [1942]: 264; 41 [1943]: 328; 43 [1945]: 138; Lexington Kentucky Gazette and General Advertiser, 22 Jan. 1805; Miller to Paul Fearing, 2 Aug. 1807 [OMC: Samuel P. Hildreth Collection]; Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Proceedings [1808]: 11; [1809]: 12; [1810]: 26; [1818]: 55; Lexington Reporter, 30 Apr. 1808, 17 Mar. 1810, 4 May 1811; Lexington Kentucky Gazette, 12 Sept. 1809, 28 Aug. 1815, 7 Sept. 1837; William H. Safford, The Blennerhassett Papers [1891]; Miller v. Burr [16 Nov. 1809–3 Apr. 1811], Washington Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas Record Book, 5:134–8; List of Patents description begins A List of Patents granted by the United States from April 10, 1790, to December 31, 1836, 1872 description ends , 99, 643, 649; Richmond, Ky., Globe, 24 Jan. 1810; Martin R. Andrews, ed., History of Marietta and Washington County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens [1902], 111–2; Baltimore Niles’ Weekly Register, 26 Dec. 1829; gravestone inscription in Richmond Cemetery, Ky.).

Index Entries

  • Clay, Henry; as character reference search
  • Miller, Robert (1775–1861); identified search
  • Miller, Robert (1775–1861); letter from search
  • Miller, Robert (1775–1861); worldview of search