Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Robert Walsh, 6 February 1820

To Robert Walsh

Monticello Feb. 6. 20.

Dear Sir

Continual ill health for 18. months past has nearly ended the business of letter-writing with me. I cannot however but make an effort to thank you for your vindiciae Americanæ against Gr. Britain. the malevolence and impertinence of her critics & writers really called for the rod, and I rejoiced when I heard it was in hands so able to wield it with strength and correctness. your work will furnish the 1st volume of every future American history; the Ante-revolutionary part especially. the latter part will silence the libellists of the day, who finding refutation impossible, and that men in glass houses should not provoke a war of stones, will be glad of a truce, to hush and be done with it. I wish that, being placed on the vantage ground by these able researches and expositions of facts, our own citizens and their antagonists would now bury the hatchet and join in a mutual amnesty. no two nations on earth can be so helpful to each other as friends, nor so hurtful as enemies: and, in spite of their insolence I have ever wished for an honorable and cordial amity with them as a nation. I think the looking glass you have held up to them will now so compleatly humble their pride as to dispose them also to wish and court it.

Here I must lay down my pen with affectionate salutations to you, and, on whichever side of the Styx I may be, with cordial wishes for your health, prosperity and happiness.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC); addressed: “Robert Walsh esquire Philadelphia”; franked; postmarked Milton, 8 Feb. PoC (DLC); on verso of a reused address cover from Bernard Peyton to TJ; mutilated and edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ.

The vindiciae americanæ (“American claim”) was Walsh, An Appeal from the Judgments of Great Britain respecting the United States of America. Part First, containing An Historical Outline of their Merits and Wrongs as Colonies; and strictures upon the calumnies of the British writers (Philadelphia, 1819; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 11 [no. 685]; no further parts published). Responding to harsh criticisms of American slavery in essays reviewing five United States travel accounts in the Edinburgh Review 30 (1818): 125 and 31 (1818): 132–50, the “Strictures” in the latter part of Walsh’s work defended the United States against these criticisms and countered by examining Britain’s role in the slave trade.

Index Entries

  • An Appeal from the Judgments of Great Britain respecting the United States of America (R. Walsh) search
  • Great Britain; and slave trade search
  • Great Britain; and U.S. search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives works search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; illness of search
  • slavery; opposition to search
  • slave trade; and Great Britain search
  • Styx (mythological river) search
  • United States; and Great Britain search
  • Walsh, Robert; An Appeal from the Judgments of Great Britain respecting the United States of America search
  • Walsh, Robert; letters to search