Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO FRANCIS ADRIAN VAN DER KEMP - The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816-1826)
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TO FRANCIS ADRIAN 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 ADRIAN VAN DER KEMP
Monto Jan. 11. 25
—Your favor of Dec. 28. is duly received, and gladdens me with the information that you continue to enjoy health; it is a principal mitign of the evils of age. I wish that the situatn of our friend Mr. Adams was equally comfortable. But what I learn of his physical condition is truly deplorable. His mind however continues strong and firm, his memory sound, his hearing perfect & his spirits good. But both he and myself are at that term of life when there is nothing before us to produce anxiety for it’s continuance. I am sorry for the occasion of expressing my condolance on the loss mento. in your letter. The solitude in which we are left by the death of our friends is one of the great evils of protracted life. When I look back to the days of my youth it is like looking over a field of battle. All, all dead! and ourselves left alone midst a new genern whom we know not, and who know not us. I thank you beforehand for the book of your friend P. Vreede of which you have been so kind as to bespeak a copy for me. On the subject of my portefeuille, be assured it contains nothing but copies of my letters. In these I have sometimes indulged myself in reflections on the things which have been passing. Some of them, like that to the quaker to which you refer, may give a moment’s amusement to a reader, and from the voluminous mass when I am dead, a selection may perhaps be made of a few which may have interest enough to bear a single reading. Mine has been too much a life of action to allow my mind to wander from the occurrences pressing on it. I have been lately reading a most extraordinary book, that of M. Flourens on the functions of the nervous system in vertebrated animals. He proves by too many, and too accurate experiments to admit contradiction, that from such animals the whole contents of the cerebrum may be taken out, leaving the cerebellum and the rest of the system uninjured, and the animal continue to live in perfect health an indefinite period. He mentions particularly a case of 10½ months of survivance of a pullet. In that state the animal is deprived of every sense, of perception, intelligence, memory and thought of every degree. It will perish on a heap of grain unless you cram it down it’s throat. It retains the powers of motion, but feeling no motive, it never moves unless from external excitement. He demonstrates in fact that the cerebrum is the organ of thought, and possesses alone the faculty of thinking. This is a terrible tub thrown out to the Athanasians. They must tell us whether the soul remains in the body in this state deprived of the power of thought? Or does it leave the body as in death? And where does it go? Can it be received in heaven while it’s body is living on earth? These and a multitude of other questions it will be incumbent on them to answer otherwise than by the dogma that every one who believeth not with them, without doubt shall perish everlastingly. The materialist fortified with these new proofs of his own creed, will hear with derision these Athanasian denunciations. It will not be very long before you and I shall know the truth of all this, and in the meantime I pray for the continuance of your health, contentment & comfort.