Thomas Jefferson Papers

Constantine S. Rafinesque to Thomas Jefferson, 3 April 1821

From Constantine S. Rafinesque

Lexington Ky 3d April 1821.

Respected Sir!

I have lately done myself the pleasure to forward you a Copy of my Ichthyologia Ohiensis, and of the Catalogue of our University.

I have Since Seen in the Richmond Enquirer that the Legislature of Virginia have provided for the complement of the buildings of the University of Virginia, and it is expected that the Institution will go into operation on the 1st January next. If this is really the case, the appointments of Professors cannot be delayed much longer, and it might be proper for me to renew the application which I formerly made.

As I conceive that in Such a circumstance, it might be well to give to the Trustees of the Institution a slight knowledge of my qualifications; as they are probably not acquainted with the extent & variety of my labours; I take the liberty to hand you a Catalogue of my Works, which is the best evidence1 I can produce of my labours, in my behalf—I add also a Sketch of the honors conferred on me, by Several learned Societies, the names of Some of my Scientific Correspondents, Some Short testimonials of theirs in my favor, and an Account of my Library & Collections.—

I hope you will lay the whole before the board of Trustees, together with my former application & offer, which I expect may be joined to your kind Recomendation.—

If any thing else is to be done, I wish I was aprized of it, in order to comply in time

Allow me to conclude that if my application is attended to, I trust to Shed Some Slight fame on the University of Virginia, by my future Works, and Discoveries, as I mean to employ part of my Salary in publishing the numerous manuscripts & Drawings, which I have by me.—

If I knew whether I have any competitor and who they are, I might perhaps Show by a comparison of their labours with mine, who may be the most deserving of notice. And at any rate I trust that none could ever exceed me in zeal and industrious researches.

Believe me, Dear & Respected Sir truly

Your Obedt St & Wellwisher

Prof. C. S. Rafinesque

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 6 May 1821 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Spencer Roane, 30 June 1821, on verso; addressed: “Honble Thomas Jefferson Monticello Near Charloteville Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Lexington, 4 Apr. Enclosure: “Enumeration of the Works and Tracts, published by C. S. Rafinesque Prof. of Botany & Natural hist. in Transylv. Univy” (MS in DLC: Peter Force Papers; entirely in Rafinesque’s hand; partially dated Lexington, Apr. 1821), consisting of a numbered list of fifty works on natural history written in English, French, and Italian and published between 1803 and 1821 in various American and European cities as monographs and pamphlets and in articles in such periodicals as the American Monthly Magazine and Critical Review and the Western Review and Miscellaneous Magazine; projecting several additional works to be printed later in 1821; and concluding with a list of manuscript works to “be published gradually,” including “Travels in the States of Newyork, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware—Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, in 1802–4 and 1815.21.—The Copyright of this is Sold to Cramer & Spear of Pittsburg,” “A physical Map of the River Ohio, in 6 large Sheets—Copyright Sold to Cramer & Spear,” “The Selected Miscellaneous Works of C. S. Rafinesque, on Philosophy, Ethics, Political Economy, Archeology, Literature, Travels &c. To be published by Subscription in 1824 in 5 Volumes 12mo with plates,” “The Natural Classification of all Vegetables,” a “Criticism of Botanical and Zoological Nomenclature,” and “Several hundred drawings of American Animals, mostly new or undescribed.” Other enclosure printed below.

For the catalogue of our university, see TJ to Joseph C. Cabell, 22 Jan. 1820, and note. The richmond enquirer of 27 Feb. 1821 announced the passage three days previously of “An act concerning the University of Virginia” and noted that “the buildings of this great institution will be completed, and it will probably be put into operation by the 1st of January next.”

1Word interlined in place of “testimonial.”

Index Entries

  • A Catalogue of Officers and Students in Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, January 1st, 1820 search
  • American Monthly Magazine and Critical Review search
  • An act concerning the University of Virginia (1821) search
  • books; on botany search
  • books; on natural history search
  • books; on zoology search
  • botany; books on search
  • Cramer & Spear (Pittsburgh firm) search
  • Ichthyologia Ohiensis, or Natural History of the Fishes Inhabiting the River Ohio and its tributary streams (C. S. Rafinesque) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • maps; of Ohio River search
  • natural history; books on search
  • Ohio River; map of search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; catalogue of works by search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; Ichthyologia Ohiensis, or Natural History of the Fishes Inhabiting the River Ohio and its tributary streams search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; letters from search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; recommendations for search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; seeks professorship search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; travels of search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; works of search
  • Richmond Enquirer (newspaper); prints articles on University of Virginia search
  • Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.); A Catalogue of Officers and Students in Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, January 1st, 1820 search
  • Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.); professors at search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and faculty recruitment search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; progress of search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; and General Assembly search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; opening of search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty applicants search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • Western Review and Miscellaneous Magazine search
  • zoology; books on search