Thomas Jefferson Papers

Francis Adrian Van der Kemp to Thomas Jefferson, 28 August 1820

From Francis Adrian Van der Kemp

Montezillo 28 Aug. 1820

Dear and respected Sir.

Confident, that it Shall be gratifying to you, to receive an answer on your favour of July 9—written under the hospitable roof of our honoured friend, I indulge in the pleasure of Sending you a few lines. My inducement to this was So much the greater, as I found mr. Adams enjoying a large Share of health in body and mind—the latter equal, the former far Superior, than what he enjoyd Seven years past,—the trembling of his hands excepted. His Steps are yet firm, more So than mine—his conversation is animated—So that he is listened to with marked attention by his Surrounding friends—and he Seems to forget that he is 85—otherwise his memory is yet great, So that I heard him detail with exactness minutiæ with which I had been partially acquainted for forty years. It did give my friend a Sensible pleasure, when I communicated to Him, how he was remembered in your last Letter. and he hoped, I Should answer it from Montezillo—

His partiality towards me continues to procure me the affectionate regards of many, whom otherwise I must have passed unnoticed when I am warned by their renewed1 attentions not to indulge too much in feelings, by which I might become elated and then even it might in part be excusable, or deemed So at least, when known—that a Jefferson and Adams took Such a warm interest in my health and happiness—

Have you Seen the publications of michael Majo from the Vatican Library—Fronto—Cicero de Rep—the lost Books &c—Some of these are arrived at Boston—or rather I ought to Say Cambridge—I flatter myself with the prospect that our travelling, learned and wealthy Americans Shall obtain a full Share in the discoveries—yet to be made in the immense Libraries in Italy and Germany—and delightful Sensations would be created, if returning with these treasures to Columbia’s Strand—these blessings were from here Scattered over Europe.

But I hear preparations for breakfast—I ought not to prolong my intrusion, only you will, I know it, permit me the earnest Solicitation, for your continued remembrance—while I assure that I remain with unabated respect

Your obliged—

Fr. Adr. vander kemp

RC (DLC); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 6 Sept. 1820 and so recorded in SJL.

The Vatican librarian Angelo Mai (Maio) (michael majo) is best known for his discovery and publication of a number of classical texts, including the letters of the Roman lawyer and grammarian Marcus Cornelius fronto and Cicero’s De Re Publica (de rep).

1Manuscript: “rnewed.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; friendship with F. A. Van der Kemp search
  • Adams, John; friendship with TJ search
  • Adams, John; health of search
  • books; classical search
  • Cicero; De Re Publica search
  • De Re Publica (Cicero) search
  • Fronto, Marcus Cornelius; letters of search
  • Germany; libraries in search
  • Italy; libraries in search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Family & Friends; friendship with J. Adams search
  • libraries; German search
  • libraries; Italian search
  • Mai (Maio), Angelo; publishes classical texts search
  • Van der Kemp, Francis Adrian; and dissemination of European learning search
  • Van der Kemp, Francis Adrian; and publication of classical texts 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