Thomas Jefferson Papers

“Zed” (“Franklin”) to Thomas Jefferson, 3 February 1819

From “Zed” (“Franklin”)

Feb 3d 1819

Citizeen Jefferson Sir

As the publck has gave you the credit of Drafting the Declaration of Independance, and as you have filld the greatest offices in the power that the people have to give you, which dutis you apear to have Dischargd to their Satisfaction, all this has placd you on a eminance, that your opinion and good Judgment, or recomendation will go further than any one other Citizeen in the Ud States. and as I am as old a man as you, my mind has been impressd with a subject that I think of some consequence to the Nation, at this particular time or Period—That is, All nations in Europe, Assea, and Africa have time emamorial have Assumd a National name, which they1 are known and calld by, and not by the particular Quarter of the globe2 they reside or fixd in, and we are fixd in from 30 to 45 or 46 North Latitude, in America, and there is other people speaking a different language, setled in both North, and South, Latitude, and at this area they are contending for their liberty, and National existance And our politicions all say or think they will be successfull, and there is no doubt, but their will be three or four independant goverments, in their Teritory of soil they hold, and its well known, they are a mixd blooded population, with the Natives and African blood, and a few generations hence, there will not be a clear blooded europeon to be seen, all all. A perfect Tawney blooded Nation—And should this scheme of colinizeing and sending all our free blacks, off3 from us thats free, and hereafter to be freed, by their masters takes place, which is the best policey, that ever can take place to hold the union togather, and keep down Jealaseys between No & So slave holders, this plan will keep us a clear blooded nation.

Now Sir is not now the verry time to Assume a national Name, Franklin has said we doubled our population every eighteen years, I find many say ours is Ten Millions, and in twenty or twenty five years we shall be, twenty Million. Mother Britton is only fourteen Million in Europe, and never will be More, and the Ud States one hundred years hence, will be five times the number, speaking the same Language Query.

Doth not true, ambition, and National pride, honour And Glory Joind with true policey, say both houses of4 Congress should take the Subject up, and pass a Resolution, to Assume a National name, and why cant you have the Honour, and Credit of naming it.

The best authentic historey Agrees that Columbus found this quarter of the Globe, And not Americanus. he pilferd and Stole the name, now sir I verily, verily, beleve you are the man that can restore to his M[emory?] a part of his Just due, by calling all the Ud Stat[es] Columbia, and by dating from it in all our expo[rts?] it will be known throughout this Globe, surely5 Columbia will sound on the Drum, of the ear, as musical as Americans, And on this chainge of name, we will be known all over this globe from all the Tawney Nations to the No & So of this Quarter of the globe, now sir I feel as if I had done and fulfild a duty and remindd or forwardd my Mite, of information to you, for your superier Judgt to mature and aprove or Disapove

I am &c with sentiment of great Esteem


Note—I have not a doubt a note from you to Jas Monroe will bring forward such a resolution And Name

RC (DLC); dateline beneath signature; torn at seal; addressed: “Thos Jefferson Esqr Montisella Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Lexington, Ky., 4 Feb.; endorsed by TJ as an anonymous letter regarding a “name for US.” received 18 Feb. 1819 and so recorded (as concerning “name of US”) in SJL.

“Zed” wrote to TJ as “Franklin” on 28 Jan. 1819.

Benjamin franklin estimated that America’s population at least “doubled every 20 years” in his 1751 “Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, &c.” (Leonard W. Labaree and others, eds., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin [1959– ], 4:225–34, quote on p. 228). americanus: Amerigo Vespucci.

1Manuscript: “the,” here and below.

2Manuscript: “glove.”

3Manuscript: “of.”

4Manuscript: “of Of.”

5Manuscript: “surly.”

Index Entries

  • African Americans; colonization of search
  • anonymous authors; letters from search
  • Columbus, Christopher; and name for U.S. search
  • Congress, U.S.; and name for U.S. search
  • Declaration of Independence; TJ as author of search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; on population growth search
  • Great Britain; population of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; anonymous letters to search
  • miscegenation; and colonization of African-Americans search
  • miscegenation; and U.S. search
  • miscegenation; in the Americas search
  • Monroe, James; and name for U.S. search
  • race; and miscegenation search
  • slavery; and colonization search
  • United States; and miscegenation search
  • United States; population of search
  • United States; “Columbia” as name for search
  • Vespucci, Amerigo (Americus Vespucius); and name for U.S. search