Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William John Coffee, 10 April 1823

Monto Apr. 10. 23.

Dear Sir

I recieved yesterday evening your favor of Mar. 31. acknoleging the rect of the remittance of 100.D. for the ornaments of my Bedford house, and I am particularly happy that it was in hand by the very day which you had originally requested.

Your favor of Mar. 27. with that inclosed for mr Brockenbrough, was recd on the eve of the meeting of the visitors which took place on the 7th inst and was laid before them for decision on the articles of your account which mr Brockenbrough thought himself not authorised to allow. the charges for packing boxes, paper, carting, shipping & screws, amounting to 13.64 they unanimously thought just. on that for lead 60.48 there was some difference of opn on considering the written agreement in the hands of mr Br. signed by yourself & him, in which the stipuln was that you would deliver the ornaments specified in Richmd at the prices expressed without a word said that the ‘lead was to be paid for extra.’ a majority however of the board, influenced by your declaration that it proved a very losing undertaking on your part, were of opinion it should be allowed and so ordered. on my shewing mr Br. the paper you inclosed me (and now herein returned) signed by himself, he solemnly protested that the words ‘lead to be paid for extra’ in the 2d line of this paper, and the words ‘the whips of lead to be paid for extra’ in the 6th line were not in it when he signed the paper, and he observed that in both instances these words were crowded in a smaller hand into parts of lines which had been left vacant. this however was a question into which the board had not entered these appear to be over-charges in the following articles of your acct

Pavilions No 1. 3. 7. charges of 3/6 N.Y. currly = making 43 3/4 cents inst. of 36. cents pr foot
No 2. 4. 8. over charges of ½ cent on each article
No 8. 3/6 N.Y. currency instead of 30. cents

In the agreemt in mr Br’s hand signed by yourself & him the articles at 36. cents are distinctly written. in that now inclosed they are also distinctly written but there appears a fine stroke drawn between the 3 and the 6 thus 3/6 with s. & d super[. . .] so that it reads 3/6 cents per foot or three shillings an six pence cents per foot which is unintelligible and denied by mr Br to have been so when he signed the paper so in the articles of Nos 2. 4. 8. the ½ cent is not in the agreemt signed by both and in that now inclosed seems to be an insertion.

in an article of No 8. the 30. cents are clearly written in both copies of the agreemt but it is extended in your acct @ 3/6 N.Y. money, a currency in which it does not seem probable that mr Br would make an agreemt here. one other article moreover remains for observation. mr Br. & mr Dinsmore positively declare that not a single oxscull for the Dorics in No 2. & No 5. is come; that none are come longer than 4⅝ I. which fit the Ionic frizes & no more of these then enough for the Ionic frizes. the Doric metops being 8 I. sq. the one & 9. I. sq. the other would require larger sculls than 4⅝ I. these two articles are charged in your acct 13.78 and 28.08 amounting to 41.86 enquiry seems to be necessary whether they have been omitted to be delivd in N.Y. or Richmd or whether they have miscarried between Richmd & this place. the 1st enquiry it will be easiest for yourself to make, the latter will be incumbent on mr Br. if lost after delivery at Richmd the loss is our’s, if before we shall hope you will supply them, and in the mean time it is thot fair to suspend the payment for them until ascertained. on the whole the


result seems to be as follows

the charges for lead, boxes, paper, carting, shipping, screws, allowed  74.12
the other articles extendd accdg to agremt (if all were here) would be 382.39
making (instead of 487.46 as pr your acct) 456.51  (to wit 30.95 loss)
but suspending until due enquiry 41.86
leaves to be remitted at present 414.65

I shall advise mr Br. to make this remittance by a note of one of our banks or some bank in N.Y. as you seem to have approved of that mode in my case, and it can be instantly done. should your draught on him be presented here after he will of course refer it back to you

The brittleness of the material, however carefully handled, occasions some loss. it does not answer our purpose so well as the flexible putty composn which it was supposed the simple term composition used in the agreemt implied in technical understanding and the more especially in our case as you had made some of putty while here as a sample to shew that you were familiar with the subject. I am in hopes however that our loss by breakage may not be such as to occasion a deficit, and with the further hope that the ox sculls missing will still be found I salute you with frdship and respect.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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