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Elihu Palmer

Elihu Palmer(1764-1806) was an American deist philosopher. Originally trained as a Presbyterian minister, he rejected that religion and created the Deistical Society in New York City in 1796.[1] In 1801, he published his major work, Principles of Nature; or, a Development of the Moral Causes of Happiness and Misery Among the Human Species, and sent a copy to Thomas Jefferson in 1802.[2] No reply from Jefferson has been found. Jefferson's copy of this work is still at the Library of Congress.[3]


  1. 18th Century Online Encyclopedia: Enlightenment and Revolution, s.v. “Palmer, Elihu” (by Jason Horn), (accessed February 5, 2009).
  2. See Palmer to Jefferson, 1 September 1802. Letterpress copy available at Library of Congress.
  3. Sowerby, 2:24-5.

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