CRYPTOGRAPHIC CODES USED BY JEFFERSON
>despite your attitude about exposiing the truth about the jefferson >conspiracy theories, i wanted to know whether there is a link to a page >decribing the numeric cryptographic codes used between jefferson and >madison. >this is supposedly established, since there was a national geographic >article on 0ctober 1987 p360 shoiwing a page of the code translation sheet. >i wonder what kind of correspondences they had. I probably will not be able to give you a satisfactory answer to your question, because I am not a historian but a librarian, and I have not researched the matter of the codes used by Jefferson and Madison. In the course of working with Jefferson's writings, I have picked up the following apparent facts: the codes seemed to have been used mostly when Jefferson was sending correspondence from France, because there was extensive censorship and mail sent outside the country through ordinary channels was read by government officials. (To avoid detection, correspondents often sent letters via a trusted acquaintance who was travelling to the desired location.) Apparently, it was rare that a whole document was encoded; rather, just certain key words or names were put in code, so that essential information was kept hidden for mainly political reasons. Comments and critiques on specific political leaders, for example, were put in code, as were actions taken by the French government that were not publicly known. Most of the coded correspondence has been deciphered, but apparently there are some messages which have never been. Several of the letters included in the Memorial Edition of Jefferson's writings (Lipscomb and Bergh, eds.) indicate with italics the deciphered words that were in code. Some of the letters have words or passages that were in code, but for which no translation is provided. I do not know of any pages on the Internet that are devoted to the codes used by Jefferson and Madison. It is possible, of course, that someone has written a journal article on the topic, and that might be uncovered through a search in the appropriate indexes at a large university library. Sorry I can't be of more help than that.
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