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Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The

For two hundred and eighty livres


friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



Paris, February 8, 1786.

Dear Sir,

My last letters were of the 1st and 20th of September, and the 28th of October. Yours, unacknowledged, are of August the 20th, October the 3rd, and November the 15th. I take this, the first safe opportunity, of enclosing to you the bills of lading for your books, and two others for your namesake of Williamsburg, and for the attorney, which I will pray you to forward. I thank you for the communication of the remonstrance against the assessment. Mazzei, who is now in Holland, promised me to have it published in the Leyden gazette. It will do us great honor. I wish it may be as much approved by our Assembly, as by the wisest part of Europe. I have heard, with great pleasure, that our Assembly have come to the resolution, of giving the regulation of their commerce to the federal head. I will venture to assert, that there is not one of its opposers, who, placed on this ground, would not see the wisdom of this measure. The politics of Europe render it indispensably necessary, that, with respect to every thing external, we be one nation only, firmly hooped together. Interior government is what each State should

keep to itself. If it were seen in Europe, that all our States could be brought to concur in what the Virginia Assembly has done, it would produce a total revolution in their opinion of us, and respect for us. And it should ever be held in mind, that insult and war are the consequences of a want of respectability in the national character. As long as the States exercise, separately, those acts of power which respect foreign nations, so long will there continue to be irregularities committed by some one or other of them, which will constantly keep us on an ill footing with foreign nations.

I thank you for your information as to my Notes. The copies I have remaining shall be sent over, to be given to some of my friends and to select subjects in the College. I have been unfortunate here with this trifle. I gave out a few copies only, and to confidential persons, writing in every copy a restraint against its publication. Among others, I gave a copy to a Mr. Williams: he died. I immediately took every precaution I could to recover this copy. But, by some means or other, a bookseller had got hold of it. He employed a hireling translator, and is about publishing it in the most injurious form possible. I am now at a loss what to do as to England. Every thing, good or bad, is thought worth publishing there; and I apprehend a translation back from the French, and a publication there. I rather believe it will be most eligible to let the original come out in that country: but am not yet decided.

I have purchased little for you in the book way since I sent the catalogue of my former purchases. I wish, first, to have your answer to that, and your information, what parts of these purchases went out of your plan. You can easily say, Buy more of this kind, less of that, &c. My wish is to conform myself to yours. I can get for you the original Paris edition of the Encyclopedie, in thirty-five volumes, folio, for six hundred and twenty livres; a good edition, in thirty-nine volumes, 4to, for three hundred and eighty livres; and a good one, in thirty-nine volumes, 8vo, for two hundred and eighty livres. The new one will be superior in far the greater number of articles; but not in all. And the possession of the ancient one has, moreover, the advantage of supplying present use. I have bought one for myself, but wait your orders as to you. I remember your purchase of a watch in Philadelphia. If it should not have proved good, you can probably sell it. In that case, I can get for you here, one made as perfect as human art can make it, for about twenty-four louis. I have had such a one made, by the best and most faithful hand in Paris. It has a second hand, but no repeating, no day of the month, nor other useless thing to impede and injure the movements which are necessary. For twelve louis more, you can have in the same cover, but on the back, and absolutely unconnected with the movements of the watch, a pedometer, which shall render you an exact account of the distances you walk. Your pleasure hereon shall be awaited.

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