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Lot 122: JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Autograph Letter Signed, "Th:Jefferson," to James Madison,Platinum House
May 23, 2013
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: ALEXANDER I: "THE WATCHMAN OF TYRANNY FOR EUROPE" JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Autograph Letter Signed, "Th:Jefferson," to James Madison, returning a letter from Mr. [Richard?] Rush [not present], confirming Mr. [Jeremy?] Bentham's negative opinion of Alexander [Emperor of Russia], suggesting that Alexander might redeem himself by entering into a war with the Turks, and conveying travel plans. 1/2 page, 4to; marginal areas of minor discoloration affecting text at upper and right edges, folds, bold signature. Monticello, 12 May 1822
"I thank you for the communication of Mr. Rush's letter which I now return. Mr. Bentham's character of Alexander is I believe just and that worse traits might still be added to it equally just. he is now certainly become the watchman of tyranny for Europe, as dear to it's oppression as detestable to the oppressed. if however he should engage in war with the Turks, as I expect, his employment there may give opportunities for the friends of liberty to proceed in their work. I set out for Bedford tomorrow to be absent three weeks."
Jefferson once admired the reformist aspirations of the monarch Alexander I, even accepting and displaying in Monticello the Emperor's gift of a marble bust of himself; in his later years, Jefferson's opinion of him soured.
The retained draft of the present letter--now at the Library of Congress--was written on the verso of James Madison's letter to Jefferson.