Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Vaughan, 24 April 1820

To John Vaughan

Monticello Apr. 24. 20.

Dear Sir

I recieved yesterday your favor of the 16th with the seal safe. I would indeed much rather have recieved it from the hands of mr Correa. if he is still with you, pray tell him so, and further that my journey to Bedford is postponed indefinitely and that therefore I shall be happy to recieve him at his own convenience. you ask an explanation of our seal. the engraving in the field is a Minerva, inventress and protectress of the arts, enrobed in her Peplum, with an olive branch in one hand and a cornucopia in the other, emblems of peace, plenty & true wisdom. our loving sister Wm & Mary complains that we have pilfered her device; her seal being the temple of Minerva. we say no. she chose the temple, we the Goddess: she the shell, we the kernel. the votaries of the temple will go there, those of the goddess here. if we had meant to encroach on her device, our Exergue would have been ‘Utrum horum?’ but meaning humbly to take what she had left us, our exergue only indicates the particular one of the two institutions whose acts it attests.

Our Bursar, lately from Richmond, informs me the 750.D. for Dr Cooper were remitted you from thence. I have desired mr Gibson, as soon as he shall have sold some produce of mine in his hands to remit you 650.D. and to notify me of it that I may write my letters. 444.D. are intended for mr Appleton, our Consul at Leghorn, and the balance 206.D. for mr Joshua Dodge our Consul at Marseilles, successor to Cathalan. the price of produce is too low this year to spare any to the bookshops of Paris. still I suppose Paris is the depot most convenient for Marseilles & Leghorn, and mr Girard’s bill if obtainable with his convenience, the surest reliance. as a protested bill would oblige me to live a year without wine to drink his health and yours as in duty bound. I am as ever affectionately yours.

Th: Jefferson

RC (PPAmP: Vaughan Papers); addressed: “John Vaughan esq. Philadelphia”; franked; postmarked Charlottesville, 25 Apr.; endorsed in an unidentified hand as received 28 Apr. 1820, with brief summary of letter’s contents in a second unidentified hand; endorsed by Vaughan as answered 29 Apr., with his further notation referencing his letter to TJ of 23 June 1820. PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; mutilated and edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ.

utrum horum is a shortened version of the phrase “utrum horum mavis accipe,” meaning “take which ever of these you like the best” (Hugh Moore, A Dictionary of Quotations from Various Authors in Ancient and Modern Languages [1831], 432).

Missing letters from University of Virginia bursar Alexander Garrett of 3 and 17 Apr. 1820 are recorded in SJL, the first as received from Charlottesville the day it was written and the second on 18 Apr. 1820, with no place of origin given.

Index Entries

  • Appleton, Thomas; TJ pays search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); as consul at Marseille search
  • Cooper, Thomas; University of Virginia professorship proposed for search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; TJ invites to Monticello search
  • Dodge, Joshua; TJ pays search
  • Garrett, Alexander; as University of Virginia bursar search
  • Garrett, Alexander; letters from accounted for search
  • Gibson, Patrick; and payments made for TJ search
  • Girard, Stephen; and TJ’s lines of credit search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; lines of credit in Europe search
  • Minerva (mythological deity); and College of William and Mary seal search
  • Minerva (mythological deity); and University of Virginia seal search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visits to search
  • Vaughan, John; and seal for University of Virginia search
  • Vaughan, John; and T. Cooper search
  • Vaughan, John; and TJ’s lines of credit in Europe search
  • Vaughan, John; handles financial transactions search
  • Vaughan, John; letters to search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; seal of search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty compensation search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; T. Cooper as proposed professor search
  • William and Mary, College of; seal of search