Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Paganel
Monticello, Virginia, 15 April 1811.
Autograph letter signed, 1 page.
Apr. 15. 1811.
I recieved through mr Warden the copy of your valuable work on the French revolution,
for which I pray you to accept my thanks. that it's sale should have been suppressed is no matter
of wonder with me. the friend of liberty is too feelingly manifested, not to give umbrage to it's
enemies. we read in it, and weep over, the fatal errors which have lost to nations the present
hope of liberty, and to reason the fairest prospect of it's final triumph over all imposture, civil &
religious. the testimony of one who himself was an actor in the scenes he notes, and who knew
the true mean between national liberty, and the frenzies of demagogy, are a tribute to truth of
inestimable value. the perusal of this work has given me new views of the causes of failure in a
revolution of which I was a witness in it's early part, & then augured well of it. I had no means
afterwards of observing it's progress but the public papers, & their information came thro'
channels too hostile to claim confidence. an acquaintance with many of the principal characters,
& with their fate, furnished me grounds for [struck: of] conjectures, some of which you have
confirmed, & some corrected. shall we ever see as free & faithful a tableau of the subsequent
acts of this deplorable tragedy? is Reason to be for ever amused with the hochets of physical
sciences, in which she is indulged merely to divert her from solid speculations on the rights of
man, and wrongs of his oppressors? it is impossible. the day of deliverance will come, altho' I
shall not live to see it. the art of printing secures us against the retrog[inserted: rad]ation of
reason & information, and the example of it's safe & wholesome guidance in government, which
will be exhibited thro' the wide spread regions of the American continents, will obliterate in tie
the impressions left by the abortive experiment of France. with my prayers for the hastening of
that auspicious day, & for the due effect of the lessons of your work to those who ought to profit
by them, accept the assurances of my great esteem & respect.