Thomas Jefferson Papers

[John Brazer] to Thomas Jefferson, 15 July 1819

From [John Brazer]

University in Cambridge, (Mass) 15th July, 1819.


The perusal of a MS: letter from your hand to the venerable President Adams, on the pronunciation of the Greek, has induced me to send an Article upon the same subject, which was published in the last North Am: Review: If the liberty I take, require other apology, allow me to say, that I am anxious to testify unmingled respect, as a scholar, to a man, who in the course of a political life full of arduous and honorable duties, has left little in science or literature unapproached;—and that I can anticipate no better opportunity than the present, when I can add to professions, which might be otherwise considered empty, the accompanying Essay, which was the result of some labour, though it have little merit and less pretension.

It was suggested by a desire to do something to promote “ripe and good” scholarship in our common country,—and under the persuasion, that a better attention to sound learning than has as yet been given is one of the vital interests of the land we live in. Should you honour this letter with a reply, please to direct to the “author1 of the Review of Pickering on Greek pronunciation” and to the care of the Rev: President of the University2 in Cambridge, through whose hand any communication will reach me. Should you confer the great favour of writing, may I hope for your opinion on the extent to which Classical learning should be carried in our Country, and the best means of promoting it. But whether I shall recieve your counsels or not, I shall not regret having availed myself of this opportunity of testifying to you

the respect and veneration for your character which has been long cherished by, Sir, your most obedient and humble servant

The author of the Review.

RC (MH: Autograph File); endorsed by TJ as a letter from the “N. Amer. Review [   ]” received 4 Aug. 1819 and so recorded (without bracketed blank) in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Edmund Bacon, 11 Aug. 1819, on verso; addressed: “President Jefferson, Monticello, Albemarle County Virginia”; franked; postmarked Cambridge, 19 July. Enclosure: [Brazer], review in North American Review 9 (1819): 92–113 of John Pickering, An Essay on the Pronunciation of the Greek Language, as published in the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Cambridge, Mass., 1818).

John Brazer (1789–1846), educator and Unitarian clergyman, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. He worked in a Boston mercantile house before graduating from Harvard University in 1813. Two years later Brazer was made a tutor at the university, and he went on to serve as professor of Latin, 1817–20, and overseer, 1829–46. In 1820 he left Harvard and was ordained the pastor of North Church in Salem, Massachusetts, where he served until his death. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences elected Brazer a fellow in 1823, and he published several works on religion. In 1825 he visited Monticello. Brazer died in Charleston, South Carolina, while seeking to improve his failing health (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Sprague, American Pulpit description begins description ends , 8:504–10; Harvard Catalogue description begins Harvard University Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates, 1636–1925, 1925 description ends , 14, 44, 190, 962; American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Book of Members, 1780–2005 [2006], 68; Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge to TJ, 10 Oct. 1825; Joseph Coolidge to Nicholas P. Trist, 10 Oct. 1825 [DLC: NPT]; James Flint, The Deceased Pastor Still Speaking to His Flock. A Discourse delivered March 14, 1846 … after the decease of the Rev. John Brazer, D. D. [1846]).

John T. Kirkland was the president of Harvard University (university in cambridge).

1Manuscript: “authour.”

2Manuscript: “Univerity.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; and Greek pronunciation search
  • An Essay on the Pronunciation of the Greek Language (J. Pickering) search
  • Brazer, John (1789–1846); identified search
  • Brazer, John (1789–1846); letter from search
  • Brazer, John (1789–1846); reviewsAn Essay on the Pronunciation of the Greek Language (J. Pickering) search
  • classics; education in search
  • education; classical search
  • Greek language; pronunciation of search
  • Harvard University; J. T. Kirkland as president of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books and Library; works sent to search
  • Kirkland, John Thornton; as president of Harvard University search
  • North American Review and Miscellaneous Journal search
  • Pickering, John; An Essay on the Pronunciation of the Greek Language search
  • schools and colleges; Harvard University search