> I have been perusing your sight looking for a copy of a letter Thomas > Jefferson wrote to a friend (unfortunately, I'm not sure who.) Anyway, > I thought I'd write you a note to see if you could point me in the right > direction. > > The letter is a response, I believe, from Mr. Jefferson to a friend who > solicits Jefferson's advice on a proper reading list for American > citizens. It is a copy of Jefferson's reply (and the list) that I am > searching for. Do you have any ideas. There were more than one list. I have included below one to Robert Skip dated 1771. There is another list to Peter Carr dated Aug. 10, 1787. Still another to John Garland Jefferson, dated June 11, 1790, is titled "reading for the law." The following is a portion of a letter describing a list of books on government: HISTORY, HUME, AND THE PRESS _To John Norvell_ _Washington, June 14, 1807_ SIR, -- Your letter of May 9 has been duly received. The subject it proposes would require time & space for even moderate development. My occupations limit me to a very short notice of them. I think there does not exist a good elementary work on the organization of society into civil government: I mean a work which presents in one full & comprehensive view the system of principles on which such an organization should be founded, according to the rights of nature. For want of a single work of that character, I should recommend Locke on Government, Sidney, Priestley's Essay on the first Principles of Government, Chipman's Principles of Government, & the Federalist. Adding, perhaps, Beccaria on crimes & punishments, because of the demonstrative manner in which he has treated that branch of the subject. If your views of political inquiry go further, to the subjects of money & commerce, Smith's Wealth of Nations is the best book to be read, unless Say's Political Economy can be had, which treats the same subject on the same principles, but in a shorter compass & more lucid manner. But I believe this work has not been translated into our language. All of the above, as well as the Skip letter, are listed on the Jefferson Gopher Site at the following URL: gopher://gopher.vt.edu:10010/11/106 Contains Jefferson's addresses, the Autobiography, and a large selection of the letters. The letters consists of a very large file -- something approaching 2 Mbytes. All four of the letters mentioned above are also available in the Library of America volume of Jefferson's Writings (Peterson, editor), which should be available in any public library.
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