Monday, October 25, 2010

october 25, 1810 (thur.)

Mr. Jefferson sent the manuscript of the English translation of Antoine Louis Claude Destutt de Tracy's Commentary and Review of Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws back to Philadelphia publisher William Duane today. A correspondent of Monsieur Destutt de Tracy for years, Mr. Jefferson tweaked the translation in a few places to better fit the best way to express his friend's ideas in idiomatic American English.

He's now writing a forward, which will give a description of Destutt de Tracy without disclosing his identity. After all, the purpose of the translation is to sneak the book -- a treatise of democratic ideas -- into Napoleon's France by the back door. If it is published in America and gains support in the English-speaking world, perhaps someone will then translate it back into French and re-publish it in France.