by Thomas Jefferson
The following Notes were written in Virginia in the year 1781,
and somewhat corrected and enlarged in the winter of 1782, in answer
to Queries proposed to the Author, by a Foreigner of Distinction,
then residing among us. The subjects are all treated imperfectly;
some scarcely touched on. To apologize for this by developing the
circumstances of the time and place of their composition, would be to
open wounds which have already bled enough. To these circumstances
some of their imperfections may with truth be ascribed; the great
mass to the want of information and want of talents in the writer.
He had a few copies printed, which he gave among his friends: and a
translation of them has been lately published in France, but with
such alterations as the laws of the press in that country rendered
necessary. They are now offered to the public in their original form
Feb. 27, 1787.