Thomas Jefferson Papers

George Watterston to Thomas Jefferson, 13 October 1815

From George Watterston

City of Washington Octr 13th 1815


I had the honor to receive your letter of the 10th inst: yesterday evening, requesting the transmission of your M.S notes, contained in Bezout—& am happy to have it in my power to comply with your request, by enclosing & forwarding them to you—In the book refered to I find three half sheets carefully fastened between the printed pages, one of which (—the one I presume, you require) I have taken out—& enclose; the other two relate to plane & spherical trigonometry & the solution of oblique angled triangles & that of right angled spherical triangles.—If you should desire either of these two, by making known to me that desire, I will cheerfully transmit them to you.

The three folio vols of the Laws of Virginia which you state in your former letter, to be in known hands, have not yet been received—& Mr Milligan has said nothing to me on the subject—

I am happy to inform you that the catalogue is now in press—& that, in a few weeks, it will be published—I have preserved your arrangement, as one that I think excellent & that I had previously thought of adopting—I have introduced but1 one alteration & that is in arrangeing each chap: alphabetically—Having pasted printed labels on each vol—it gives them a uniformity of appearance quite agreable to the eye & having put them up in a very beautiful & comodious appartment, the display is really beautiful—& seems to meet with the approbation of all—The proof sheet of the catalogue is examined several times & by several persons, so that it is as accurate as it can well be made—I have, from the very scant & limited appropriation made by Congress; (only 800 dollars) been obliged to exercise some ingenuity to get the catalogue printed before the session of congress—As soon as it is compleated I will send you a copy—

I have the honor to be Sir very respy yr obt servt

George Watterston

RC (DLC); adjacent to closing: “Thos Jefferson Esqe”; endorsed by TJ as received 19 Oct. 1815 and so recorded in SJL.

For TJ’s notes on the solution of oblique angled triangles & that of right angled spherical triangles, see Notes on Napier’s Theorem, printed above at 18 Mar. 1814. Of the initial 800 dollars appropriated to Watterston for the Library of Congress, $190 had been paid to William Elliot for printing services. In 1815–16 Elliot received additional payments totaling $1,519.50 for the printing of the library catalogue and related expenses (ASP, Miscellaneous, 2:281–2).

1Manuscript: “by.”

Index Entries

  • Bézout, Étienne; Cours De Mathématiques search
  • Catalogue of the Library of the United States (G. Watterston) search
  • Cours De Mathématiques (É. Bézout) search
  • Elliot, William; printer search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; files notes in books search
  • Library of Congress; Catalogue of the Library of the United States. To Which is Annexed, A Copious Index, Alphabetically Arranged (G. Watterston) search
  • Library of Congress; TJ’s notes retrieved from search
  • mathematics; Napier’s theorem search
  • mathematics; trigonometry search
  • Milligan, Joseph; mentioned search
  • Napier, John (of Merchiston); mathematical theorem of search
  • Virginia; laws of search
  • Virginia; TJ’s collection of laws of search
  • Watterston, George; as librarian of Congress search
  • Watterston, George; Catalogue of the Library of the United States search
  • Watterston, George; letters from search