Thomas Jefferson Papers

“The Ghost of Franklin” to Thomas Jefferson, 25 July 1821

From “The Ghost of Franklin”

New York. July. 25th 1821

Mr Jefferson—will be happy to learn that great progress is making here in gettg suitable (not Tracts and Bibles) books for each Ship & Vessel.—

we are patronized by the wise and patriotic,—we are gettg up an extensive Library for the Forecastle of the Franklin (74) which Ship is getting ready for a 4 Years cruise—how delighted we should be to [have]1 a single Volume from ‘Monticello’—it will reach here in time & would be the means of getting us here hundreds of Books—

most respecty Your obt Sert

the “Ghost of Franklin”

P.S. Your Young Friend.—the Son of your true Friend2 James Maury, left here for Boston this morng3

The writer who has known that man of Ross your real Friend James Maury+ is deeply interested in turning our monkeys (Seamen) into men.—he prays for 1. Volm in your Name & then he will offer prayers daily that the Virga Legislature may vote a suitable donation to compleat4 your ‘last but greatest glory.’—the University.—our Young Men are waiting to enter it.

‘Franklins Ghost.’

Mr Adams

Mr. Jefferson

Mr Maddison and

Mr. Munroe—are written to upon this Subject—we hope to get a Cabin & Fore Castle Library for each Ship in the Navy

(+for 23 Years)

RC (DLC); conjoined with enclosure; addressed: “To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked New York, 26 July; endorsed by TJ as an anonymous letter “of the Navy” dated 25 July 1821 and received 3 Aug. 1821 and so recorded in SJL.

After the “Committee for the distribution of books to seamen” gave them “One hundred and fifty volumes of Voyages, Travels, History, Geography and Navigation,” the crew of the seventy-four gun USS franklin requested that a dollar from the pay of each sailor be devoted to the further improvement of their ship’s library (New-York Evening Post, 2 Aug. 1821).

In his writings Alexander Pope described John Kyrle (1637–1724), also known as the man of ross, as a model of philanthropy (ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ).

John adams was sent the same enclosure in a 22 July covering letter in the same hand as this but signed by “Neptune” (MHi: Adams Papers). Adams directed his response of 30 July 1821 to “‘Neptune’ at Wiley & Halsteads” (Lb in MHi: Adams Papers).

1Word editorially supplied in place of redundant “a.”

2Manuscript: “Frind.”

3Remainder on verso of address cover.

4Manuscript: “compteat.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; circular sent to search
  • anonymous authors; letters from search
  • Franklin, USS search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; requests for donation of books from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; anonymous letters to search
  • Kyrle, John; known as the “Man of Ross” search
  • libraries; for sailors search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); circulars sent to search
  • Maury, James (1746–1840); family of search
  • Maury, James (1746–1840); friend of TJ search
  • Maury, William; travels of search
  • Monroe, James (1758–1831); circular sent to search
  • Pope, Alexander; on J. Kyrle search
  • Virginia, University of; Administration and Financial Affairs; funding for search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; and General Assembly search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • “The Ghost of Franklin” (“Franklin’s Ghost”; “Neptune”) (pseudonym); and books for sailors search
  • “The Ghost of Franklin” (“Franklin’s Ghost”; “Neptune”) (pseudonym); and University of Virginia search
  • “The Ghost of Franklin” (“Franklin’s Ghost”; “Neptune”) (pseudonym); letter from search