Manuscript/Mixed Material Image 1 of Thomas Jefferson to William Short, April 13, 1820

About this Item

Thomas Jefferson to William Short

Monticello Apr.13.20

Dear Sir

Your favor of Mar. 27 is received and my grandaughter Ellen has undertaken to copy the Syllabus, which will therefore be inclosed. It was originally written to Dr. Rush on his death, fearing that the inquisition of the public might get hold of it, I asked the return to it from the family, which they kindly complied with. At the request of another friend, I had given him a copy. He lent it to his friend to read, who copied it, and in a few months it appeared in the theological magazine of London. Happily that repository is scarecly known in this country, and the Syllabus therefore is still a secret, and in your hands I am sure it will continue so.

But while this Syllabus is meant to place the character of Jesus in it's true and high light, as no imposter himself but a great Reformer of the Hebrew code of religion, it is not to be understood that I am with him in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist, he takes the side of spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin. I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it &c. &c. It is the innocence of his character, the purity & sublimity of his moral precepts, the eloquence of his inculcations, the beauty of the apologias in which he conveys them, that I so much admire; sometimes indeed needing indulgence to Eastern hyperbolism. My eulogies too may be founded on a postulate which all may not be ready to grant. Among the sayings & discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence: and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I seperate therefore the gold from the dross; restore to him the former & leave the

About this Item

Title
Thomas Jefferson to William Short, April 13, 1820
Created / Published
1820-04-13
Subject Headings
-  Correspondence
Genre
Correspondence
Call Number/Physical Location
series: Series 1: General Correspondence. 1651-1827
Microfilm Reel: 051
Source Collection
The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
Repository
Manuscript Division
Digital Id
http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib023789
Online Format
image
online text
pdf

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is providing access to The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress for noncommercial, educational and research purposes. While the Library is not aware of any copyrights or other rights associated with this Collection, the written permission of any copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for reproduction, distribution, or other use of any protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with the persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.

The following items are included in this Collection with permission:

The essay "American Sphinx: The Contradictions of Thomas Jefferson" by Joseph J. Ellis was originally published in the November-December 1994 issue of Civilization: The Magazine of the Library of Congress and may not be reprinted in any other form or by any other source.

The essay "The Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London: A Conservator's Perspective" by Sylvia R. Albro and Holly H. Krueger was originally published in a slightly different form in Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of the Institute of Paper Conservation, 6-9 April 1997 and may not be reprinted in any other form or by any other source.

Rembrandt Peale's 1800 Thomas Jefferson portrait on the Thomas Jefferson Time Line is from the White House Collection, courtesy of the White House Historical Association.

The image of Thomas Jefferson on the home page is from a photomechanical print held in the Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs Division, Presidential File, and is a reproduction of the popular 1805 Rembrandt Peale portrait in the collection of the New-York Historical Society.

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Chicago citation style:

Thomas Jefferson to William Short. -04-13, 1820. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib023789/.

APA citation style:

(1820) Thomas Jefferson to William Short. -04-13. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib023789/.

MLA citation style:

Thomas Jefferson to William Short. -04-13, 1820. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib023789/>.

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