Thomas Jefferson Papers

Joseph Milligan to Thomas Jefferson, 24 September 1814

From Joseph Milligan

George Town Sept 24 1814

Dear sir

I returned here on Monday-night at 10 o’clock, after having visited Richmond, Petersburg and Norfolk. In each of those places I found great military Preperations, and a Spirit of Unanimity amongst the citizens, that Surpassed my most Sanguin expectations. In Norfolk I was particularly attracted by the great, and (I trust) Successful, efforts that have been made to render that place Secure. If they be not attacked before Christmas I think 30,0000 of the enemy would make no impression on the place if defended by 10,000—even Militia—unless they lay regular siege, and in that case they1 would Soon be compelled to raise the Siege, by reinforcements that would immediately be Sent from Petersburg and Richmond. But to come more immediately to the object of this letter.

On Tuesday-morning I called on the Secretary of State; he informs me that the Library of Congress “with all that thereunto appertained,” was consumed on the memorable 24th of August;—therefore, your truly magnanamous offer of the Monticello Library to Congress, will be very acceptable. If Congress should purchase it, to literary men it would be a great privelege to be permitted at all times of the year to have free access, not to take away the Books, but, to read in the Library and make extracts: therefore the place of Librarian would be well to be a distinct office from the clerk of the House of Representatives. If they do take it every thing that I can do in arranging it Shall be done, and I will keep the Library for this session free of cost. By this I would have it clearly understood that it is not my wish to fish for it; as a permanent thing, for I would not accept a place of profit under any Government.

You will please communicate with the Secretary of State on the Subject—and enclose the catalogue to him.

I will immediately on receipt of it arrange to have it printed.

I Shall, in a few days, Send you a few Books by the way of Fredericksburg, to the care of my friend Capt Wm F. Gray; to whom I have written to undertake the little agency that you spoke of. I could not see him on my return as he was in Camp with his men.

The Great Hotel makes a very convenient house for both houses of Congress with a sufficient number of committee Rooms, and a large room for the Washington Post-Office.

The news from england, of this day by an arrival at charleston I have enclosed to you.

In two or three days I will write to you the State of the Public Ruins.

My Sincere Respects to Mrs. Randolph, Mrs. Bankhead, Mrs. Carey and their respective families.

with great respect

Joseph Milligan

RC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Milligan; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson. Esquire, Monticello. Virginia”; franked and postmarked; endorsed by TJ as received 30 Sept. 1814 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

Blodget’s was the great hotel.

1Manuscript: “the.”

Index Entries

  • Bankhead, Ann (Anne) Cary Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter; Charles Lewis Bankhead’s wife); greetings to search
  • Blodget’s Hotel (Washington) search
  • Cary, Mrs. search
  • Gray, William F.; and transmission of packages to and from TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Library of Congress; destroyed by British troops search
  • Library of Congress; librarian for search
  • Library of Congress; TJ sells personal library to search
  • Library of Congress; TJ’s catalogue of books sold to search
  • Milligan, Joseph; and catalogue of TJ’s books search
  • Milligan, Joseph; and office of librarian of Congress search
  • Milligan, Joseph; and sale of TJ’s library to Congress search
  • Milligan, Joseph; letters from search
  • Milligan, Joseph; on military preparations search
  • Milligan, Joseph; sends books to TJ search
  • Monroe, James; as secretary of state search
  • Norfolk, Va.; and War of1812 search
  • Petersburg, Va.; and War of1812 search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings to search
  • Richmond, Va.; defense of search
  • War of1812; and military preparations search
  • War of1812; British destruction in Washington search
  • War of1812; in Norfolk search
  • Washington (D.C.); Blodget’s Hotel search
  • Washington (D.C.); British destruction in search