Thomas Jefferson Papers

Francis Adrian Van der Kemp to Thomas Jefferson, 25 June 1820

From Francis Adrian Van der Kemp

Oldenbarneveld 25 June 1820.

Dear and Respected Sir!

Your former kind indulgence make me presume, that a few lines—after So long a Silence—to renew the assurance of my unabated respect Shall not be unacceptable, although I have it not in my power, to make these interesting. I hope that your health remains comfortable, and domestic happiness your lot—   enjoy this happiness—during your last days—and I am persuaded, very many will take a Share in it—   My high respected friend John Adams—enjoy’s the Same blessing—although his trembling hand, does [no]1 longer permit him, to make use of his pen—I expect—to pay him my last visit next month. How I regret—that So much must remain in the Escritoires of Both—by which the Literary world would be benefitted—and—is there nothing from your hand, for which you feel a lurking wish in your bosom—to hear the impartial judgment of the Publick?—and—my Dear Sir! would it require a greater confidence, than which you placed in me before—or here or in England—I would execute your trust, and return—if desired—the original—

I have nearly lost my eyes—in pouring on the State-Records—of which I accomplished ten volumes—in Folio—many of those containing an invaluable treasure—relative—to commerce—Police—History—in Several branches—and I Shall not be Surprised—as it happens with my N— England correspondents—Virginia might possess valuable Documents—to illustrate our State Annals—I have now two vol. before me—with regard to the Dutch Government on the Delaware (South river in N. Netherland) and before—I met different mercantile transactions—and intercourses of Individuals—of Dutch vessels—taking ladings of Tobacco in Virginia—and Sailing under English colours to London.   Perhaps2—you might through your friends discover the proofs of commercial or Political intercourse—between the years 1640—and 1670. by whose communications, you would lay our State under a great obligation, and I might glory, that in your opinion I had deserved to obtain this boon—

The prospects—with regard to the progress of pure undefiled religion become brighter every day So here as in Europe—even in our State its progress is Sensible—it must eventually be crowned with Success—I am confident—many riches—with regard to the gradual progress of the enlightened human mind may be collected in Italy and the Northern parts of Germany, and I continue to use my utmost exertions to Spurr my friends to discover these buried treasures—The expulsion of the Jews from the environs of Babylon by the Saracens—and their Spreading over Europe—is an important feature in this History—Is the mission of mahomet not another?

A Splendid church is build in N. york—under the name of First congregational Church—and I doubt—or Cambridge Shall provide it with an enlightened prudent Pastor—

I dare not—however3 persuaded of your indulgence—to take more of your precious moments, and Shall be Satisfied—if—what I wrote—is not taken amiss—and if I am permitted, grateful of your kind regards, to recommend myself further in your good opinion—and assure you, that I remain, with the highest respect—

Dear and respected Sir! Your obed. and obliged—

Fr. Adr. van der kemp

RC (DLC); dateline adjacent to closing; endorsed by TJ as received 6 July 1820 and so recorded in SJL; with TJ’s notes on the above letter beneath endorsement:

“his health
 visit to mr A.
our escrutoires.
RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John D’Wolf, 26 Jan. 1822, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson. LL.D. at his Seat Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Trenton, N.Y., 27 June.

New York City’s First Congregational Church was Unitarian in doctrine and incorporated in 1819. Installed at the end of 1821, William Ware, its first pastor, was indeed a graduate of Harvard University in cambridge, Massachusetts (Sprague, American Pulpit description begins William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, 1857–69, 9 vols. description ends , 8:xix, 511–2; Harvard Catalogue description begins Harvard University Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates, 1636–1925, 1925 description ends , 193, 924; New-York Evening Post, 20 Dec. 1821).

1Omitted word editorially supplied.

2Manuscript: “Perphaps.”

3Manuscript: “howewer.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; friendship with F. A. Van der Kemp search
  • Adams, John; health of search
  • First Congregational Church (New York City) search
  • furniture; secretaries search
  • Germany; and the Renaissance search
  • Harvard University; and Unitarianism search
  • health; vision loss search
  • Italy; and the Renaissance search
  • Jews; and the Renaissance search
  • Jews; migrations of search
  • Muhammad (founder of Islam) search
  • New York (city); First Congregational Church search
  • New York (state); commerce of search
  • New York (state); public records of search
  • religion; F. A. Van der Kemp on search
  • religion; Unitarianism search
  • schools and colleges; Harvard University search
  • tobacco; shipment of search
  • Unitarianism; in New York City search
  • Van der Kemp, Francis Adrian; and N.Y. public records search
  • Van der Kemp, Francis Adrian; and religion search
  • Van der Kemp, Francis Adrian; and the Renaissance search
  • Van der Kemp, Francis Adrian; and TJ’s health search
  • Van der Kemp, Francis Adrian; and TJ’s writings search
  • Van der Kemp, Francis Adrian; friendship with J. Adams search
  • Van der Kemp, Francis Adrian; health of search
  • Van der Kemp, Francis Adrian; letters from search
  • Ware, William; Unitarian minister search