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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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3266. FRENEAU (Philip), Jefferson's relations to.—
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3266. FRENEAU (Philip), Jefferson's relations to.—

While the government was at
New York I was applied to in behalf of Freneau
to know if there was any place within my
Department to which he could be appointed.
I answered there were but four clerkships, all
of which I found full, and continued without
any change. When we removed to Philadelphia,
Mr. Pintard, the translating clerk, did not
choose to remove with us. His office then became
vacant. I was again applied to there for
Freneau, and had no hesitation to promise the
clerkship for him. I cannot recollect whether
it was at the same time, or afterwards, that I
was told he had a thought of setting up a
newspaper there. But whether then, or afterwards,
I considered it a circumstance of some
value, as it might enable me to do, what I had
long wished to have done, that is, to have the
material parts of the Leyden Gazette brought
under your eye, and that of the public, in order
to possess yourself and them of a juster view
of the affairs of Europe than could be obtained
from any other public source. This I had ineffectually
attempted through the press of Mr.
Fenno, while in New York, selecting and translating
passages myself at first, then having it


Page 363
done through Mr. Pintard, the translating clerk,
but they found their way too slowly into Mr.
Fenno's papers. Mr. Bache essayed it for me
in Philadelphia, but his being a daily paper, did
not circulate sufficiently in the other States. He even tried, at my request, the plan of a
weekly paper of recapitulation from his daily
paper, in hopes that that might go into the
other States, but in this, too, we failed. Freneau,
as translating clerk, and the printer of a
periodical paper likely to circulate through the
States (uniting in one person the parts of
Pintard and Fenno), revived my hopes that the
thing could at length be effected. On the establishment
of his paper, therefore, I furnished
him with the Leyden gazettes, with an expression
of my wish that he could always translate
and publish the material intelligence they contained,
and have continued to furnish them
from time to time, as regularly as I received
them. But as to any further direction or indication
of my wish how his press should be
conducted, what sort of intelligence he should
give, what essays encourage, I can protest, in
the presence of Heaven, that I never did by
myself, or any other, or indirectly, say a syllable,
nor attempt any kind of influence. I can
further protest, in the same awful presence,
that I never did, by myself, or any other, directly
or indirectly, write, dictate. or procure
any one sentence or sentiment to be inserted
in his, or any other gazette, to which my name
was not affixed or that of my office. * * * Freneau's proposition to publish a paper, having
been about the time that the writings of
“Publicola”, and the discourses on Davila, had
a good deal excited the public attention, I
took for granted from Freneau's character,
which had been marked as that of a good whig,
that he would give free place to pieces written
against the aristocratical and monarchical principles
these papers had inculcated. This having
been in my mind, it is likely enough I May
have expressed it in conversation with others;
though I do not recollect that I did. To Freneau
I think I could not, because I had still seen
him but once, and that was at a public table,
* * * as I passed through New York the
last year. And I can safely declare that my
expectations looked only to the chastisement
of the aristocratical and monarchical writers,
and not to any criticisms on the proceedings of
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 464. Ford ed., vi, 106.
(M. 1792)