Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, 14 August 1821

To Richard Rush

Monticello Aug. 14. 21.

Dear Sir

I have deferred acknoleging your favor of May 22. until the reciept of my books should enable me to add that information to the thanks I owe you for your kind agency in procuring them. I recieve them just now in good order. I certainly did not intend you should take half the trouble you have been so kind as to give yourself in the execution of this commission; yet I feel too sensibly it’s benefit not to express to you my great obligations. the finding for me a bookseller who will act for me as disinterestedly as if I were present, is of itself a great boon. for altho’ I shall not have great occasion to call on him for myself, yet whenever our University gets to the stage in which a library is to be commenced, it will be important to know to whom we may with confidence address our demands from England. I was acquainted with mr Lackington’s father in London and dealt much with him. he sent me regularly his catalogues to Paris, and I as regularly called on him for what it contained to my liking.   You mention a balance of £6–14 unexpended of my former remittance, and I accordingly inclose a note of some books which I shall be glad mr Lackington will send me, but only so far as that balance will hold out. they may be sent to any port of the US. not South of the Chesapeak to which a vessel may be coming, & consigned to the Collector of the port. Norfolk & Richmond are most convenient to me; but as vessels to these ports may be rare, I would not have the books much delayed for an occasion to those ports, as the winter will be advancing.

We have little new to communicate to you from our peaceable plain sailing country. the distresses produced by the sudden diminution of our paper medium continue, and have produced great revolutions in the fortunes of individuals, greater, I think, than was1 produced by the Revolutionary war. the Missouri question is, I hope, lulled by the acceptance and execution by that state of the condition required by Congress.   Of Spanish America we learn few things in detail which can be relied on. but the general fact is unquestionable that they will be as independant as they chuse. perhaps some of them may think it advantageous to adopt the Executive head of the mother country, as a link of union, establishing a representative government among themselves, perhaps also a federal one, and leaving to their king only power enough to keep them at peace with one another, until more practice and preparation for self government may qualify them to dissolve that link also.

Our University is fast advancing in it’s buildings, & will exhibit a body of chaste architecture which Greece, in her classical days, would have viewed with approbation.2 it will yet be some year or two before the institution3 can be opened; and until then we defer engaging any professor. we had an offer from London of one for modern languages4 which, among the many offering, would obtain the unanimous preference of our Visitors. but until we are ready to open, we cannot say so formally. yet it might be useful for him as well as for us to know that he stands foremost in our view, and will be applied to, at maturity, to use the mercantile phrase. it is a mr George Blatterman, 33. Castle street Holborn, a German who was acquainted with our countrymen Ticknor & Preston, & highly recommended by them. your friendship to science authorises me not to hesitate a5 request that you will find out this gentleman and communicate to him the dispositions and views we entertain towards him, and that it would be acceptable to us to know that he still retains his former inclinations to come to us. what fixed salary we shall give is not yet decided; but it will be a reasonable one, with liberal tuition fees from the pupils, and a separate, convenient and handsome house for his accomodation.

I salute you with great6 & affectionate friendship & respect.

Th: Jefferson

Thomas’s Coke Littleton. a new & digested edn. Brooke. 33. Paternoster row.

Baxter’s history of England. he was one of the 20. prosecuted with Horne Tooke, & published his history about that time. if there be an 8vo edition, I should prefer it, if not, the original 4to may be sent.

Rapin’s history of England to the revolution in 1688 in 15. v. 8vo 1728. the particular copy designated in mr Lackington’s7 catal. 19382. £2–12–6

Henshall’s Comparison between the Saxon & Eng. languages. Lack. Catal. 17032 5/

Fortescue in commendation of the Laws of England. bl. letter. ib. No 9435. 9/

RC (PPAmP: Sol Feinstone Collection, David Library of the American Revolution); with note by Rush at foot of text: “Oct. 1. Called at 33 Castle st; but found that Mr B. had removed, as was supposed to No 54 or 67 Grace church st. Oct. 2. Addressed a note to both those places inviting him to an interview with me on the 4th, at 12 Oclock. Oct 4. He calls—(his residence 69 Grace church St)”; endorsed by Rush, with his subjoined notation: “Advantages to him of a trustworthy bookseller in London. The diminution of our ‘paper medium’ producing greater revolutions in the fortunes of individuals, he thinks, than was produced by the Revolutionary War. The Missouri question ‘lulled’ by the acceptance by that state of the condition required by congress. His noticeable remarks on the new communities in Spanish America. Chaste architecture of the University of Virginia. Subjoins a list of books wanted.” PoC of Dupl (DLC); at head of text: “<Duplicate> 1st thro’ Theod. Bailey N.Y. Dupl. thro’ office of state”; endorsed by TJ. FC (ViU: TJP); entirely in TJ’s hand; consisting of book list only. Tr (ViU: TJP); extract, consisting of dateline and portion of letter concerning University of Virginia and George Blaettermann as noted below; lacking book list; notation at head of text: “Mr Jefferson to Mr Rush,” with earlier photocopy of this text in TJ Editorial Files reading “Extract of a letter from” above this notation.

A letter of this date from TJ to Theodorus Bailey, recorded in SJL but not found, covered a text of this letter. TJ also apparently sent a copy to Rush through the United States Department of State, but no covering letter has been found, nor is one recorded in SJL.

TJ had previously conducted business with George lackington’s cousin James Lackington, not the former’s father (ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ). bl. letter: “black letter.”

1PoC of Dupl: “were.”

2Tr begins here.

3Tr here adds, in brackets: “the University of Virginia.”

4RC: “languges.” PoC of Dupl: “languages.”

5Sentence to this point in Tr reads “Permit me to.”

6Tr ends here with “&c &c” followed by TJ’s name.

7RC: “Lackington’.” PoC of Dupl and FC: “Lackington’s.”

Index Entries

  • A learned commendation of the politique lawes of England (J. Fortescue) search
  • A New and Impartial History of England (J. Baxter) search
  • Anglo-Saxon (Old English) language; books on search
  • A Systematic Arrangement of Lord Coke’s First Institute of the Laws of England (J. H. Thomas) search
  • Bailey, Theodorus; letters to accounted for search
  • banks; currency issued by search
  • Baxter, John; A New and Impartial History of England search
  • Blaettermann, George Wilhelm; seeks position at University of Virginia search
  • books; on history search
  • Brooke, Samuel; as printer search
  • Coke, Sir Edward; A Systematic Arrangement of Lord Coke’s First Institute of the Laws of England (J. H. Thomas) search
  • currency; depreciation of search
  • English language; Anglo-Saxon (Old English) search
  • Fortescue, Sir John; A learned commendation of the politique lawes of England search
  • Greece, ancient; architecture of search
  • Henshall, Samuel; The Saxon and English Languages Reciprocally Illustrative of Each Other search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books &amp; Library; orders books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books &amp; Library; preferred physical characteristics search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books &amp; Library; receives works search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; architecture search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Missouri question search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; paper money search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Spanish colonial self-government search
  • Lackington, George; bookseller search
  • Lackington, Hughes &amp; Company (London firm); and books for TJ search
  • Lackington, Hughes &amp; Company (London firm); and books for University of Virginia search
  • Lackington, Hughes &amp; Company (London firm); book catalogues of search
  • Lackington, James; bookseller search
  • law; books on search
  • Missouri question; TJ on search
  • Preston, William Campbell; and G. W. Blaettermann search
  • Rapin Thoyras, Paul de; The History of England (trans. N. Tindal) search
  • Rush, Richard; and books for TJ search
  • Rush, Richard; and University of Virginia search
  • Rush, Richard; letters to search
  • Rush, Richard; TJ’s account with search
  • South America; TJ on independence movement in search
  • Spain; colonies of search
  • State Department, U.S.; forwards letters search
  • The History of England (P. de Rapin Thoyras; trans. N. Tindal) search
  • The Saxon and English Languages Reciprocally Illustrative of Each Other (S. Henshall) search
  • Thomas, John Henry; A Systematic Arrangement of Lord Coke’s First Institute of the Laws of England search
  • Ticknor, George; and G. W. Blaettermann search
  • Tindal, Nicholas; translatesThe History of England (P. de Rapin Thoyras) search
  • Tooke, John Horne; imprisonment of search
  • United States; Panic of1819 search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and faculty recruitment search
  • Virginia, University of; Books and Library; books and manuscripts for search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; and classical architecture search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; progress of search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; modern languages professorship search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; recruitment of faculty from Europe search