Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Beale Ewell, 28 August 1806

New York 28th august 1806


My opinion of your goodness towards everyone, is such, that I cannot give way to the fear that you may be offended at my addressing you so frequently.—Indeed it is with unaffected diffidence I now offer for your consideration, the first pages of that work, of the plan of which you were pleased to approve. My feelings are common to those who engage in hazardous enterprises, on which they are to rise—or fall for-ever.   Upon reflection I thought it most prudent to alter those parts of the dedication alluding to your exertions in the political world. This was done with a view to avoid exciting in prejudiced & ill-natured persons that dissent which would prompt them to analyze the performance so minutely, as to exhibit in the strongest colors those defects which might retard its sale: for I was fully sensible that my writings are not fit for the scrutinizing eye. In the present state I hope you’ll accept of the dedication as a testimony of the fact that there is no other person for whom I have such unbounded respect & gratitude.

I beg that you will not be displeased at seeing your letter in the preface of the work: Its value led me to insert it; & I cannot avoid believing with Dr. Rush that a letter of the kind & from such an influential source, ought to preface every book on chemistry. Moreover as I have the vanity to be desirous of obtaining the world’s good opinion, it is natural that I should seek an opportunity to let others know that I had been honored with your notice.

Lately I met with a very valuable treatise on manures by the celebrated Mr. Kirwan: Knowing your partiality for agricultural pursuits, I have taken the liberty to enclose it & hope that you will be pleased to accept of it.

Should you favor me by reading the first pages of my discourses, you will find something new. In fact it is only the three first & two last discourses which have the least claim for your perusal. However I much fear the originality far exceeds their merit. I am almost afraid to inquire if there be any part of which you approve. At all events I have some satisfaction from the belief that while forming an opinion, you will not overlook the intention of yr. truly respectful

obedient & obliged Servant

Ths. Ewell

If it would not be too troublesome, I would be thankful if you would be pleased to return by mail, the Discourses after having read them.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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