Thomas Jefferson Papers

Robert Walsh to Thomas Jefferson, 24 December 1818

From Robert Walsh

Philadelphia Decr 24th 1818

Dear Sir

On my return, a few days ago, from a visit to Washington, I found here your obliging & very interesting letter of the 4th inst concerning Dr Franklin. I am the more grateful for the opinions and anecdotes you have Communicated, as I know how you are oppressed by the extent of your correspondence. What you have said as to Franklin’s share in the Preliminaries, and to his relations with the Court of France, seems to me decisive, and will be of much importance in an historical point of view. Your personal testimony admits of no reply. The anecdotes are characteristic, and in themselves not a little piquant. The Biographical sketch which I undertook to write for Mr Delaplaine has been in print several weeks. He tells me that he has sent you a Copy of his third Volume, in which it is contained. I would venture to request you to cast your eye over my account of Franklin in some interval of leisure. My panegyric of the Philosopher is too lofty and unvaried, perhaps, but I think that most of my views of his character and services will have your approbation. I now send you the Analectic Magazine for this month, into which I have introduced a review of the last volume of Temple Franklin’s Memoirs of his Grandsire. In the general Essay on the Life & Writings of this great man, which I propose to publish one day or other, I will avail myself of the valuable Communication which you have so kindly made. I have in my hands some other unpublished materials to which I attach much importance.

You will be pleased to accept my hearty acknowledgments for the volume of Count Destutt Tracy. The author is incalculably indebted to you for ushering him into the English world in a manner fitted to give him due weight & attract attention to him, in the outset. I have found time only to run through the book. I can perceive that it possesses unusial merit; and although it’s doctrines are not precisely those which I have been accustomed to regard as the soundest, I shall be glad to co-operate in promoting it’s currency.

Your Report concerning the University of Virginia was a rich feast to me, & cannot fail, I think, to be highly useful to the States at large. My fear is that the Legislating public of the country will not be à la hauteur of Your views, & suggestions. I trust that the Report is to be published in the pamphlet-form.—The Trustees of the University of Pensylva1 have just created for me a Chair of General Literature. I mean to attempt a course of lectures; but the success of the experiment is doubtful in all respects.

I repeat my Sincere thanks for your Frankliniana, & for the flattering recollections of your family, and am,

Dear Sir, with profound respect, Your obt servt

Robert Walsh jr

RC (DLC); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Virginia”; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked; endorsed by TJ as received 31 Dec. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Analectic Magazine, vol. 12, no. 6 (Dec. 1818; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 14 [no. 925]).

à la hauteur: “up to the level.”

1Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • A Treatise on Political Economy (Destutt de Tracy) search
  • books; biographical search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; Delaplaine’s Repository search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; A Treatise on Political Economy search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin, LL.D. F.R.S. &c. (ed. W. T. Franklin) search
  • Franklin, William Temple; editsThe Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin, LL.D. F.R.S. &c. search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Rockfish Gap Report of the University of Virginia Commissioners search
  • Pennsylvania, University of search
  • political economy; works on search
  • Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans (J. Delaplaine) search
  • schools and colleges; University of Pennsylvania search
  • The Analectic Magazine search
  • The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin, LL.D. F.R.S. &c. (ed. W. T. Franklin) search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; commissioners’ report search
  • Walsh, Robert; andAnalectic Magazine search
  • Walsh, Robert; and Destutt de Tracy’sTreatise on Political Economy search
  • Walsh, Robert; as B. Franklin’s biographer search
  • Walsh, Robert; letters from search