Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Nicholas Collin, 26 February 1807

Philad. 26 of Febr. 1807

Respected Sir

The enclosed is, according to its direction, forwarded to Yourself, tho’ the trouble of receiving such letters belongs properly to the Secretary’s office. This mariner has also informed me that my certificate of his being a native American has been received, nor disputed. Consul Bond very Kindly had forwarded it; and he has on all occasions come to my Knowledge interested himself in getting real Americans clear. This man was personally known to me, and his family is from the first Settlers of the country in and about Philadelphia, among the Swedes. I cannot comprehend why he is detained? Perhaps he had at first imprudently taken Bounty money’s. The Records of the Swed. Church are better than those of any other in this City, and I have given notices in the gazettes some year’s ago that all of the Swed. descent, who go to sea, should apply to me for certificates. I have also notified to all persons related to mariners that might be in danger, or are actually known to be impressed, or otherwise detained, that they might from me procure certificates. But it has done little good; such is the thoughtless character of sailors, and the very general indifference of the people for their connections. The descendants of the ancient Swedes are in that much depreciated from the people in Sweden, but not worse than people here in general. My certificates are in part printed, and with the requisite blanks, better than the usual; and they have never been doubted by the British or any nation. Protections are so easily procured by fraud in this country, that the British on that account are very mistrustful.

Enough of this—now to more pleasing subjects. Sir, Your Kind entertainment of myself and my company at Washington has been appreciated with due gratitude, tho’ I did not compliment You by letters. Your manifold and troublesome occupations leave little time for the reception of such. I intended to mention this when some interesting matters might oblige me to trouble You. Baron Humbold, his companions and all the rest of our company were sensible of your Kindness. Litterary objects in abundance furnish me with communications, which would be pleasing to You, if You had leisure for them. But You have not had hitherto. However, I must inform You that the twenty-five volumes of Transactions of the Roy. Sw. Ac. of Sciences, presented to our Philos. Society in autumn 1805. contains many things of peculiar use to this country. I have promised to translate a part, as my many parochial—and other occupations, may permit. I begin to be weary of my labours in America for thirty six, now soon, 37 years, and long to depart for a better world! Should Allmighty God order longer services for me on earth, I hope to see my native country. While I live promotion of useful sciences will be a constant pursuit.

With great esteem I have the honour to be Respected Sir Your most obt. hble. Servant

Nich. Collin

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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