Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO FRANCIS A. VAN DER KEMP - The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816-1826)
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TO FRANCIS A. VAN DER KEMP - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816-1826) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 12.
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TO FRANCIS A. VAN DER KEMP
Monticello, Mar. 16. 17
—I learn with real concern that the editor of the Theological Repository possesses the name of the author of the Syllabus, altho he coyly withholds it for the present, he will need but a little coaxing to give it out and to let lose upon him the genus irretabile vatum, there and here. Be it so. I shall receive with folded arms all their hacking & hewing. I shall not ask their passport to a country, which they claim indeed as theirs but which was made, I trust, for moral man, and not for dogmatising venal jugglers. Should they however, instead of abuse, appeal to the tribunal of reason and fact, I shall really be glad to see on what point they will begin their attack. For it expressly excludes all questions of supernatural character or endowment. I am in hopes it may find advocates as well as opposers, and produce for us a temperate & full development. As to myself I shall be a silent Auditor.
Mr. Adams’s book on Feudal law, mentioned in your letter of Feb: 2. I possessed, and it is now in the library at Washington which I ceded to Congress. In the same letter you ask if I can explain the phrase il est digne de porter le ruban gris de lin. I do not know that I can. gris de lin is the French designation of the colour which the English call grizzle. The ruban gris de lin may be the badge of some association, unknown, I acknowledge to me, but to which the author from whom you quote it may have some allusion. I shall be happy to learn that you pursue your purpose as to the life of the great reformer, and more so in seeing it accomplished. I return the Repository with thanks for the opportunity of seeing it, and I pray you accept my friendly and respectful salutations.1
[1 ]Jefferson further wrote to Van der Kemp:
Monticello, May 1. 17
—I thank you for your letter of Mar. 30/ My mind is entirely relieved by your assurance that my name did not cross the Atlantic in connection with the Syllabus. The suggestion then of the Editor of the Theological Repository was like those of our newspaper editors who pretend they know every thing, but in discretion will not tell us, while we see that they give us all they know and a great deal more. I am now at the age of quietism, and wish not to be kicked by the asses of hierophantism. I hope you will find time to take up this subject. There are some new publications in Germany which would greatly aid it, to wit,
Augusti’s translation & commentary on the 7. Catholic epistles, in which he has thrown great light on the opinions of the primitive Christians & on the innovations of St. Paul, printed at Lemgo 1808. 2. vols. 8vo.
Palmer’s Paul and Gamaliel. Giessen. 1806.
Munter’s history of dogmas. Gottingen. 1806. shewing the formation of the dogmatical system of Christianity.
Augusti’s Manual of the history of Christian dogmas. Leipsic 1805.
Marteinacke’s Manual of Ecclesiastical history. Erlangen 1806. developing the simple ideas of the first Christians, and the causes & progress of the subsequent changes.
I have not written for these books, because I suppose they are in German which I do not read; but I expect they are profoundly learned on their subjects.
In answer to your inquiries respecting Rienzi, the best account I have met with of this poor counterfeit of the Gracchi, who seems to have had enthusiasm & eloquence, without either wisdom or firmness, is the 5th & 6th vols. of Sigismondi. He quotes for his authority chiefly the Frammenti de Storia Romana d’anonimo contemporaneo. Of the monk Borselaro I know nothing, and my books are all gone to where they will be more useful, & my memory waning under the hand of time. I think Bekker might have demanded a truce from his antagonists on the question of a Hall, by desiring them first to fix it’s geography. But wherever it be, it is certainly the best patrimony of the church, and procures them in exchange the solid acres of this world. I salute you with entire esteem & respect.