Thomas Jefferson Papers

“The Querist” to Thomas Jefferson, 7 September 1822

From “The Querist”

Williamsburg Sepr 7th 1822.

Hond Sir

Having had my curiosity excited on a few questions which I consider may be explained by those who are conversant with philosophy and Science in general; I have from a knowledge of your extensive researches, taken the liberty to request of you a solution of the following queries.

1st why is the savage state called a state of nature?, considering that Adam was the first man & he a perfect one?

2d why does vegetable matter when decayed enrich the ground on which it was produced,?

These are not idle questions Sir, intended to give pleasure to the writer while proposing them to you, but questions about which he has had frequent conversations & of which he is anxious to get satisfactory solutions. Your speedy answer will be received with gratitude

by yr most Ob st

“The Querist”1

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as an anonymous letter containing “queries” and so described (recorded as received 15 Sept. 1822) in SJL.

1At foot of text the author canceled “yr ansr directed as abo.”

Index Entries

  • Adam (Old Testament figure) search
  • anonymous authors; letters from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; anonymous letters to search
  • plants; decay enriches soil search
  • “The Querist” (pseudonym); letter from search
  • “The Querist” (pseudonym); questions TJ search