Thomas Jefferson Papers

Mathew Carey to Thomas Jefferson, 16 October 1818

From Mathew Carey

Philada Oct. 16. 1818.


Your favour of the 6th which I duly recd is before me.

I feel the justice and propriety of the objection you make to comply with my request on the subject of Baines, which was manifestly incorrect, and which I hope you will have the goodness to excuse. I was induced to make it at the urgent instances of Rev.1 Mr Weems, contrary in truth to my own opinion of right. It is not the first, by five hundred, of the exemplifications I have made of Ovid’s

Video meliora proboque—

Sed deteriora sequor—

I am engaged in a work which I call Vindiciæ Hibernicæ, which embraces the reigns of Elizabeth, James I & Charles I. & will, I hope, develope such a scene of fraud, forgery, and perjury, as has never taken place before, nor since—& I hope never will again. If you have any Books bearing on this subject, a list wd much oblige me, if you can spare time.

I remain, with sincere respect, Your obt hble servt

Mathew Carey

By this mail you will receive the other volume of Baines, price $12—

RC (MHi); dateline beneath signature; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson, Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 25 Oct. 1818 and so recorded in SJL.

video meliora proboque—sed deteriora sequor (“I see the better and approve it, but I follow the worse”) closely follows Ovid, Metamorphoses, 7.20–1 (Ovid, trans. Grant Showerman, J. H. Mozley, and Frank Justus Miller, Loeb Classical Library [1914–29; rev. George P. Goold, 1977–79], 3:342–3).

1Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Baines, Edward; History of the Wars of the French Revolution search
  • books; on history search
  • Carey, Mathew; and publication of books on history search
  • Carey, Mathew; letters from search
  • Carey, Mathew; Vindiciæ Hibernicæ: or, Ireland Vindicated search
  • Charles I, king of England search
  • Elizabeth I, queen of England; reign of search
  • French Revolution; works on search
  • History of the Wars of the French Revolution (E. Baines) search
  • Ireland; history of search
  • James I, king of England; reign of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Metamorphoses (Ovid); quoted search
  • Ovid; Metamorphoses search
  • Vindiciæ Hibernicæ: or, Ireland Vindicated (M. Carey) search
  • Weems, Mason Locke; and publication of historical works search