The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


It must take a life to learn the characters only and then their expression of ideas must be very imperfect. I imagine that some fortuitous circumstances will some day call their attention to the simple alphabets of Europe, which with proper improvements may be made to express the sounds of their language as well as of others, and that then they may enter on the field of science. I think missionaries to instruct them in our alphabets would be more likely to take good effect and lead them to the object of our religious missionaries than an abrupt introduction of new doctrines for which their minds are in no wise prepared.

to Charles Jared Ingersoll, 20 July 1818