Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Robert Fulton, 16 April 1810

To Robert Fulton

Monticello. Apr. 16. 10.

Dear Sir

I recieved yesterday on my return from a journey your favor of Mar. 28. and have to thank you for the drawing of your self-moving belier hydraulique, which a first reading shews to be simple & ingenious, & I have no doubt will answer. it shall have my early attention. the object of this prompt reply to your letter is the offer you so kindly make of lending me your Dynamometer. it will be the greatest favor you can do me. the Agricultural society of the Seine sent me one of Guillaume’s famous ploughs, famous for taking but half the moving power of their best ploughs before used. they at the same time requested me to send them one of our best, with my mouldboard to it. I promised I would, as soon as I retired home and could see to it’s construction myself. in the mean time I wrote to a friend at Paris to send me a dynamometer, which he did. unfortunately this with some other valued articles of mine, was lost on it’s passage from Washington to Monticello. I have made the plough, & am greatly decieved if it is not found to give less resistance than theirs. in fact I think it the finest plough which has ever been constructed in America. but it is the actual experiment alone which can decide this, & I was with great reluctance about to send off the plough, untried when I recieved your kind offer. I will pray you to send the instrument to mr Jefferson of Richmond by some careful passenger in the stage who will see that it does not miscarry by the way; or by some vessel bound from N. York direct to Richmond1 which is the safest tho’ slowest conveyance. I suppose there can never be a week that some vessel is not coming. I sincerely wish the torpedo may go the whole length you expect of putting down navies. I wish it too much not to become an easy convert & to give it all my prayers & interest. Accept assurances of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Fulton”; endorsed by TJ.

TJ’s friend at paris was David Bailie Warden (TJ to Warden, 1 May, 16 July 1808 [DLC]). Fulton’s response of 2 May, not found, is recorded in SJL as received from New York on 6 May 1810.

1Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • dynamometers; lost in transit search
  • dynamometers; TJ tries to obtain search
  • Fulton, Robert; letters from accounted for search
  • Fulton, Robert; letters to search
  • Fulton, Robert; loans dynamometer to TJ search
  • Fulton, Robert; self-acting hydraulic ram search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); and scientific instruments acquired by TJ search
  • Jefferson, George (TJ’s cousin); and dynamometer for TJ search
  • machines; self-acting hydraulic ram search
  • machines; torpedo (mine) search
  • plows.; Guillaume search
  • plows.; TJ’s moldboard search
  • Société d’agriculture du département de la Seine; and moldboard plows search
  • Société d’agriculture du département de la Seine; sends plow to TJ search
  • trunk, lost in return from Washington; contents of search
  • Warden, David Bailie; letters to mentioned search
  • Warden, David Bailie; sends dynamometer to TJ search