Jefferson's book recommendations for Congress found in the enclosure to his letter addressed to Abraham Baldwin dated April 14, 1802 sent from the President's House in Washington, D.C. PTJ 37:227-233

This catalogue was compiled by Thomas Jefferson for the library of Congress in 1802, in response to a request by a joint committee of members from the U.S. Senate and House, who had been appointed to oversee the purchase of books and maps for the congressional library from the unexpended balance of $5,000 from an appropriation made by Congress in April 1800.

In his letter to Abraham Baldwin, the chair of the joint committee, Jefferson outlined his selection criteria. Books on entertainment were outside the scope of the list. Books in other languages, where translations were not available, were included. In the area of science, Jefferson limited the titles to "those branches that belong to the deliberations of the members as statesmen, and in these have omitted those classical books, antient and modern, which gentlemen generally have in their private libraries, but which cannot properly claim a place in a collection made merely for the purposes of reference." For history, Jefferson confined the list to "Chronological works, which give facts and dates with a minuteness not to be found in narrations composed for agreeable reading." Under the Law of Nature & Nations, he put down "everything I know of worth possessing, because this is a branch of science often under the discussion of Congress & the books written in it not to be found in private libraries." For law, he set down "only general treatises for the purpose of reference," as "the discussions under this head in Congress are rarely so minute as to require or admit the Reports & special treatises should be introduced." In contrast, he aimed for a complete parliamentary collection as "it is only by having a law of proceeding, and by every member having the means of understanding it for himself, and appealing to it, that he can be protected against caprice & despotism in the chair." Finally, he included two encyclopedias and a set of dictionaries in various languages which were not commonly available and that would serve as useful references.

Organized under brief subject categories, each entry consists of a short title, followed by number of volumes, and size. In some cases, Jefferson included publisher and date information to indicate a specific edition. Jefferson added check marks in the left margin next to titles that were already held by the library, according to Catalogue of Books, Maps, and Charts, Belonging to the Library of the Two Houses of Congress, compiled by the librarian John Beckley, and published by William Duane in Washington, D.C. in April 1802.

Law of Nature and Nations
Rutherforth's institutes of natural law. 8vo.
Puffendorf devoirs de l’homme et du citoyen. 2.v. 12mo.
Beller’s delineation of Universal law. 4to.
Grotius’s Laws of war with Barbeyrac’s notes.
Puffendorf’s law of nations with Barbeyrac’s notes.
Burlamaqui sur la droit naturelle et Politique 4to.
Wolff droit de la nature et des gens. Lat. Fr. 6.v. 12mo.
Vattel’s law of nations.
Vattel. Questions de droit naturel. 12mo.
Recueil de discours par Barbeyrac. 2.v. 12mo.
Cumberland’s law of nature. 4to.
Grotii mare liberum. 24.v.
Martens’ Modern law of nations. 8vo.
Ward’s foundation & history of the law of nations 8vo.
Zouch de judicio inter gentes, et de jure faciali.
Bynkershoek opera. 6.v. 4to.
Wicquefort de l’Ambassadeur. 2.v. 4to.
Le ministre public par du Franquesnay 12mo.
L’art de negocier par Pecquet. 12mo.
Maniere de negocier par Callieres. 2.v. 12mo.
Mably droit publique1 de l’Europe. 3.v. 12mo.
Negociations du President Jeannin. 12mo. 2.v.
Ambassades de la Boderie en Angleterre. 5.v. 12mo.
Negociations &c. du compte d’Estrades à Londres 9.v. 12mo.
Lettres et negociations de J. de Witt. 5.v. 12mo.
Histoire de la traité de Westphalie par d’Avaux. 6.v. 12mo.
Dumont Corps universel diplomatique. 8.v. fol.
Jenkinson’s collection of treaties. 3.v. 8vo.
Chalmer’s collection of treaties 3.v. 8vo.
Rymer’s federa.
Hazard’s state papers.
Memoires sur les droits de France et de l’Angleterre en Amerique. 4.v. 4to.
Robinet. Dictionnaire universel morale politique & diplomatique. 31.v. 4to.
Code de l’humanité par Felice. 13.v. 4to.
Lee’s treatise on captures. 8vo.
Molloy de jure maritime. 8vo.
Il Consolato del Mare.
Shardü leges navales Rhodiorum et selectae Rhodiorum
Vinnius’s commentary on the laws of Rhodes.
Us et Coustumes de la mer par Clairac. 4to. including L. of Oleron & Wisby.
Heineccii scriptores de jure maritimo. 4to.
Schomberg on the maritime laws of Rhodes. 8vo.
Robinson’s admiralty reports. 8vo.
several tracts on Neutral rights by Jenkinson, Schlegall, Croke & others.
Lord Kaim’s general principles of Equity fol. 2d edition.
Abridgment of cases in equity. 8vo.
Fitzherbert’s abridgment. fol.
Broke’s abridgment. 4to.
Rolle’s abridgment. fol.
Bacon’s abridgment. 8vo.
Comyns’s Digest. 8vo.
Viner’s abridgment.
Spelmanni Glossarium. fol.
Jacob’s dict. by Ruffhead. fol.
Cuningham’s Law dict. 2.v. fol.
Coke’s institutes. 8vo.
Blackstone’s commentaries.
Wooddeson’s lectures on the laws of England. 3.v. 8vo.
Reeve’s history of the English law. 4.v. 8vo.
Reeves’ history of the laws of shipping and navigation. 8vo.
Rastal’s collection of statutes. fol.
Pickering’s collection of statutes 8vo.
a complete collection of all the laws of every state should be made.
Staundfort’s Pleas of the crown. 4to.
Hale’s Pleas of the crown. 2.v. 8vo.
Hawkins’s Pleas of the crown 3.v. 8.vo.
Foster’s crown law. 8vo.
State trials. compleat. fol.
Law Merchant
Malyne’s lex mercatoria. 2.v. fol.
Postlethwaite’s dictionary 2.v. fol.
Beawe’s Lex mercatoria.
the latest book of rates.
Foreign law.
Calvini lexicon juridicum. fol.
Corpus juris civilis Gothofredi. 2.v. fol. [it contains the Institutes, the Digests, the Codex, & Novels]
Domat’s civil law. 2.v. fol.
Institution du droit François par Argou. 2.v. 12mo.
Commentaire sur l’Ordonnance de la Marine. 2.v. 12mo.
Frederician code, and such other Summary digests of the laws of other countries as are known.
Brady on government. fol.
Petty’s constitution & laws of England. 8vo.
Sommers’s rights of king and people 12mo.
Bacon on the government of England. 4to.
Smith’s republic of England.
De Lolme on the constitution of England.
Burgh’s political disquisitions. 3.v. 8vo.
Stuart’s historical dissertation on the English constitution. 8vo.
Spelman’s works. fol.
Thurloe’s state papers
Rushworth’s collection 8.v. fol.
Elsynge - Scobell [I do not recollect the particular titles
Arcana parliamentaria.
Hollis’s remains. 8vo.
Orders of the H. of Commons. 12mo.
Pettus’s constitution of parliament. 8vo.
Brown’s privilegia Parliamentaria. 8vo.
Petyt’s antient rights of the Commons of Engld. 8vo.
Hale’s jurisdiction of parliaments. 8vo.
Atkyn’s power of parliaments.
Selden on the judicature of parliaments. 12mo. his works
Dewes’ journal.
Ryley’s placita parliamentaria. fol.
Prynne’s parliamentary writs. 4to.
Hakewell’s modus tenendi Parliamentum.
Petyt’s Jus parliamentarium. fol.
Lex Parliamentaria. 8vo.
Hatsell’s Precedents of proceedings in the H. of Commons.
Aylesbury election.
Bohun’s debates.
the Case of Ashby & White. 8vo.
Journals of the H. of Commons.
Journals of the H. of Lords.
Townshend’s historical collections. fol.
a compleat collection of Parliamentary debates from the Parliamentary history in 24.v. 8vo. down to the present day.
Debates of the Irish Commons.
Political arithmetic, Commerce &c.
Petty’s political arithmetic.
Sinclair on the British revenues. 8vo.
Arithmetique Lineaire de Playfair. 4to.
Wallace on the numbers of mankind. 8vo.
Table des vivans de Susmich.
Anderson’s history of commerce. 6.v. 8vo.
Smith’s Wealth of nations.
Steuart’s political economy. 2.v. 4to.
Arbuthnot on antient coins and measures.
Atlas portatif de Grenet et Bonne. 4to.
the Atlas’es of Delisle and Danville.
Jeffery’s American Atlas.
Busching’s geography 6.v. 4to.
Encyclopedia de Diderot et Dalembert. abt 30.v. fol. 35. guineas
Encyclopedia Methodique
Dictionaries Scapula, Hederici, Ainsworth, Calepinus XI linguarum, Dictionaries of the academies of France, Spain, Crusia, Johnson’s dict. and good dictionaries of all the other modern languages.
Annales Romaines par Macquer. 12mo.
Histoire universelle de Bossuet. 2.v. 12mo.
Essai historique et chronologique de l’Abbé Berlié. 12mo.
Abregé chronologique de l’histoire ancienne avant J.C. par La Combe. 12mo.
Abregé chronologique de l’histoire des Juifs. 12mo.
Abregé chronologique de l’histoire des Empereurs Romains Richer. 2.v. 12mo.
Histoire ancienne de Milot. 4.v. 12mo.
Histoire ancienne de Rollin. 13.v. 12mo.
Newton’s chronology. 4to.
Blair’s chronology fol.
Priestly’s chronological & biographical charts.
Dictionnaire de Bayle 4.v. fol.
Dictionnaire de Moreri. 10.v. fol.
Collier’s historical dictionary. 4.v. fol.
Wood’s Athen.
Dictionnaire historique et bibliographique par Lavocat. 4.v. 12mo.
Dictionnaire historique par un societé de gens de lettres. 9.v. 8vo.
Dictionnaire de diplomatique par Dom. de Vaynes 2.v. 8vo.
The Chronologist of the war 1789-96. 12mo.
Abregé chronologique de l’histoire universelle par Hornot. 12mo.
Introduction a l’histoire de l’Univers de Puffendorf 4.v. 12mo.
Tablettes chronologiques de l’histoire universelle de Fresnoy. 2.v. 8mo.
Tableau chronologique de l’histoire de l’Europe de 476 à 1648. 8vo.
Abregé chronologique de l’histoire d’Espagne et de Portugal. 2.v. 12mo.
Abregé chronologique de l’hist. de France par Henault. 2.v. 12mo.
Abregé chronologique de l’hist. & du droit public d’Allemagne par Pfeffel. 2.v. 12mo.
Abregé chronologique de l’histoire du Nord par La Combe. 2.v. 12mo.
Abregé chronologique de l’histoire de Pologne par l’Abbé Coyer. 2.v. 12mo.
Abregé chronologique de l’histoire d’Angleterre par Salmon. 2.v. 12mo. Eng. if to be had.
Historical register. 8vo.
Annual register. 8vo.
American history. all the travels, histories, accounts &c. of America, previous to the revolution, should be obtained. it is already become all but impossible to make a collection of these things. standing orders should be lodged with our ministers in Spain, France & England, & our Consul at Amsterdam to procure every thing within that description which can be hunted up in those countries.

Last updated: May 2013

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