Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA (BENJAMIN HARRISON) - The Works, vol. 4 (Notes on Virginia II, Correspondence 1782-1786)
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TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA (BENJAMIN HARRISON) - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 4 (Notes on Virginia II, Correspondence 1782-1786) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 4.
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TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA (BENJAMIN HARRISON)
v. s. a.
Annapolis, Dec. 31, 1783.
—Letters from Holland from the middle to the last of September inform us that the citizens of the Dutch state are all in commotion. The conduct of the Prince of Orange having been such as greatly to strengthen the republican party, they are now pressing in the firmest tone a restoration of their constitutional rights. Friesland, as usual, leads the way. They have demanded of the sovereign assembly of the states that the power of the Stadtholder to change or reinforce the garrisons be limited or taken away, and that themselves be authorized to exercise in arms for the defence of their country: of 80000 men able to bear arms among them it is believed scarcely any will refuse to sign this demand. The Hollanders have referred to a Committee in their last assembly the examination of the power by which the prince undertakes to appoint flag officers of their fleet, and that he be desired to abstain from the exercise of it. There happens to be vacant the place of admiral. The other states seem to be in the same temper, and are now regularly exercising themselves in arms under the ensigns of their respective towns. Tho each state is to chuse their Stadtholder out of the Orange family they consider themselves not bound to chuse the eldest, and of course that they may chuse different ones. The state of Europe at present seems favorable to the republican party, as the powers who might aid the prince are either fatigued with the late war, or likely to be engaged in the ensuing one.
We have yet but seven states, and no more certain prospects of nine than at any time heretofore. We hope that the letters sent to the absent states will bring them forward.
TO JAMES MADISON
Annapolis, Jan. 1, 1784.
—Your favour of the 10th Dec. came to hand about a fortnight after its date. It has occasioned me to reflect a little more attentively on Buffon’s central heat than I did in the moment of our conversation and to form an opinion different from what I then expressed. The term ‘central heat’ does of itself give us a false idea of Buffon’s hypothesis. If it means a heat lodged in the center of the earth and diffusing it’s warmth from thence to the extremities, then certainly it would be less in proportion to the distance from that center, & of course less under the equator than the poles, on high mountains than in deep vallies. But Buffon’s theory is that this earth was once in a state of hot fusion, and that it has been, and still continues to be cooling. What is the course of this process? a heated body being surrounded by a colder one whether solid or fluid, the heat, which is itself a fluid flows into the colder body equally from every point of the hotter. Hence if a heated spheroid of iron cools to a given degree, in a given space of time, an inch deep from its surface, in one point, it has in the same time done the same in any & every other point. In a given time more, it will be cooled all round to double that depth. So that it will always be equally cooled at equal depths from the surface. This would be the case with Buffon’s earth, if it were a smooth figure without unevennesses. But it has mountains and vallies. The tops of mountains will cool to greater depths in the same time than the sides of mountains & than plains in proportion as the line a.b. is longer than a.c. or d.e. or f.g. In the valley the line h.i. or depth of the same temperature will be the same as on a plain. This however is very different from
Buffon’s opinion. He sais that the earth being thinnest at the poles will cool sooner there than under the equator, where it is thicker. If my idea of the process of cooling be right, his is wrong and his whole theory in the Epochs of Nature is overset.
The note which I delivered you contained an acknowledgment of my having borrowed from you a draught for 333⅓ dollars and a promise to repay it on demand. This was exclusive of what I had borrowed in Philadelphia.
We have never yet had more than 7. states, and very seldom that, as Maryland is scarcely ever present, and we are now without a hope of it’s attending till February. Consequently having six states only, we do nothing. Expresses & letters are gone forth to hasten on the absent states that we may have 9. for a ratification of the definitive treaty. Jersey perhaps may come in, and if Beresford will not come to Congress, Congress must go to him to do this one act. Even now it is full late. The critical situation in which we are like to be gave birth to an idea that 7. might ratify. But it could not be supported. I will give you a further account of this when it shall be finally settled.
The letters of our ministers inform us that the two empires have formed a league defensive against Christian powers & offensive agt. the Turks. When announced by the Empress to the K. of Prussia he answered that he was very sensible on it as one is when informed of important things. France answered in a higher tone and offered to mediate. If Prussia will join France perhaps it may prevent the war: if he does not, it will be bold for France alone to take the aid of the Turks on herself. Ireland is likely to find employment for England. The United Netherlands are in high fermentation. The people now marshall themselves in arms and exercise regularly under the banners of their towns. Their object is to reduce the powers of the Stadtholder.
I have forwarded your letter to Mrs. House. Mrs. Trist I expect left Philadelphia about the 18th of Dec. for Pittsburgh. I had a letter from her in which she complained of your not having written and desired me to mention it to you. I made your excuse on the good grounds of the delays you must have experienced on your journey & your distance from the post road: but I am afraid she was gone before my letter reached Philadelphia. I have had very ill health since I have been here and am getting rather lower than otherwise.