Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Andrew Ellicott, 20 October 1806

Lancaster October 20th. 1806.

Dear sir

I forwarded to you some time ago an account of the solar eclipse of the 16th. of June last:—I wish to know if you have received it.—

From the returns of our late election, the Snyder party, as it is called, has evidently gained ground, and in my opinion, entre nous, very justly.—In saying this, I mean to confine myself to the political intolerance manifested by the successful party after the reelection of Governor Mc.Kean last year; and against which, I bore my decided testimony as has been noticed in several of our public papers.—On this ground I was opposed by every officer of our state government.—In our last election in this county, I took no part, because the ticket was in reality a federal one:—here again I stood alone, so far as relates to the officers of our state administration.—For this misconduct I am told that I am to be placed on the list of jacobins!, and presume the intolerance will not end there.—The more I see of intolerance, the more I am in love with Voltaire that patriarch of the freedom of opinion:—if I had his bust, it should be placed on the top of a case containing his works alone if it was only for the following lines.

“Voici la substance de tous les discours que tiennent les intolerans.

“Quoi! monstre qui seras brûle à tout jamais dans l’autre mond, & que je ferai-brûler dans celui-ci dès que je le porrai, tu as l’insolence de lire de-Thou & Bayle qui sunt mis à l’index à Rome? Quand je te prêchais de la part de Dieu que Samson avait tué mille Philistins avec une mâchoire d’ane, ta tête plus dure que l’arsenal dont Samson avait tiré ses armes, m’a fait-connaître par un légér movement de gauche á droit que tu n’en croyais rien.—Et quand je disais que le diable Asmodée, qui tordit le coû par jalousie aux sept maris de Sarai chez les Mèdes était enchaîne dans la haut Egypt, j’ai vu une petite contraction de tes livres, nommèe en latin cachinnus, me signifier que dans le fond de l’ame l’histoire d’Asmodée t’était en dérision.”—

Dictionaire Philosophique Vol. 6.

I expected that we should long before this have had the pleasure of seeing you in this place.—Would it not be proper for you to take a tour to the eastward before the meeting of Congress, or immediately after the adjournment?—

I feel myself very much interested in the success of Captn. Lewis: are there no accounts from him?—I do not mean by these interrogatories to draw an immediate answer,—your more important business is entitled to, and ought to have the preference.—

I am with great esteem your sincere friend, and hbe. servt,

Andw. Ellicott

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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