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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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4125. JEFFERSON (Thomas), Scientific Societies.—
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4125. JEFFERSON (Thomas), Scientific Societies.—

Being to remove within a
few months from my present residence
[Washington] to one still more distant from
the seat of the meetings of the American
Philosophical Society[Philadelphia], I feel it
a duty no longer to obstruct its service by
keeping from the chair members whose position
as well as qualifications, may enable
them to discharge its duties with so much
more effect. [260]
To the Vice-President of the A. P. S. v,. 392.

(W. Nov. 1808)


Franklin was the first President of the American
Philosophical Society. He was succeeded by David
Rittenhouse, who died in 1796, and after him came
Jefferson. In accepting the office Jefferson said: “I
feel no qualification for this distinguished post, but a
sincere zeal for all the objects of our institution, and
an ardent desire to see knowledge so disseminated
through the mass of mankind, that it may, at length,
reach even the extremes of society, beggars and