Washington Apr. 29. 1806.
I some time since recieved through Mr. Appleton, Consul of the US. of America at Leghorn several copies of your excellent discourse on the reformation of legislation, for which I pray you to accept my thanks & more especially for the partial terms in which you are pleased to express your sentiments of myself. the situation of my country is favored by so many circumstances that no effort is scarcely necessary to keep their affairs in a good direction. in truth we have only to let them alone ourselves, & to prevent others from misdirecting them. but in the antient establishments of Europe, the remains of Military & Gothic institutions are so intimately incorporated with the body of their laws, that a reformation of the legislation presents great difficulties. still however a good citizen must never despair, patience & perseverance will prevail in the end. water will, in time, wear away the solidest rock. your efforts therefore & those of the friends of mankind will not fail in the end to produce an amelioration. for this every honest man is bound to pray: and for your personal contributions to it, I pray you to accept the tribute of my respect, with my cordial salutations and assurances of great consideration.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.