Notes of the State of Virginia. With an Appendix


Category: Economics/Liberty & Dignity/Politics

By Thomas Jefferson

Published in 1801

Reference #0655

Eighth American Edition, with frontispiece, folding map, and folding table. Thomas Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia” was written mostly in 1781; he later revised and enlarged the work between 1782 and 1783. It was first published anonymously in Paris in 1785 and a French translation appeared in 1786. However, the first public English edition was published in London in 1787.

The work is Jefferson’s second full-length book published during his lifetime. “Notes” originated as a request for information about Virginia made to members of the Continental Congress by François BarbĂ©-Marbois, the Secretary to the French delegation in Philadelphia, in 1780. Jefferson, then the Governor of Virginia, was given the list of inquiries and soon began the task of responding.

The work is a collection of information about Virginia including geography, economy, government, manners, history, and other various topics. “Notes” also included several of Jefferson’s most notable remarks about his thoughts and beliefs on politics, government, and individual liberty.

Today, “Notes” is considered a valuable source of information about the natural history of Virginia as well as eighteenth century political and social life.