Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Isaac A. Coles, 29 November 1809

To Isaac A. Coles

Monticello Nov. 29.

Dear Sir

Your favor of the 12th I found here on my return from Bedford. the box of books (Turgot’s works) as also mr Livingston’s treatise on sheep are safely recieved. Genl Armstrong & M. de la Fayette write me they have a hope of getting half a dozen Merinos shipped for me with as many mr Livingston has there, Fouche the minister par interim of the interior having expressed favorable dispositions particularly as to those intended for me. I have no doubt, notwithstanding the contrary opinion from Philadelphia, that ours are the real Merinos, as declared by the Capt who brought them in. the sheep of that common appellation are of various grades of excellence, & ours tho’1 probably not of the 1st are of some lower grade of merit.—the grisly bearskin you speak of as left by me has probably lost it’s hair & may have been left as worthless. I remember nothing of it. there is one of Kosciuzko’s profiles of myself which I left because I had one here. if worth your acceptance do me the favor to take it. there are 3. drawings, viz Latrobe’s of the capitol, the Dioclesian Portico, & a drawing of the Capitol on the Dioclesian plan which I value. I mentioned to the President that I would leave them there a while, as Congress might select from them the plan they would chuse for finishing the middle part of that building; but that when they had made their choice, or whenever it should be apparent they would not proceed for the present with the middle building, I should be glad to recieve them, to be sent by water, for fear of breakage.

I heard yesterday (through Dr Everett) from Enniscorthy. all were well except mr Carter. his dropsical swellings had been reduced by scarification, but still his case offered little hope. ever affectionately yours.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); partially dated; at foot of text: “Mr Coles”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 29 Nov. 1809.

For the contrary opinion on TJ’s possession of real merinos, see James Ronaldson to TJ, 5 Mar. 1809. The Polish patriot Tadeusz Kosciuszko took TJ’s likeness while he was vice president and had the image printed in Paris by Michel Sokolnicki prior to the end of 1799. Although some of those closest to TJ disliked the rendering, he hung the profiles in his private cabinet at the President’s House and in the room occupied by his daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph at Monticello (Bush, Life Portraits description begins Alfred L. Bush, The Life Portraits of Thomas Jefferson, rev. ed., 1987 description ends , 28–30; Stein, Worlds description begins Susan R. Stein, The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, 1993 description ends , 170–1). Of the 3. drawings by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, only the northeast elevation of the United States Capitol survives (Latrobe, Papers description begins John C. Van Horne and others, eds., The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1984–88, 3 vols. description ends , 2:323n, 410; Jeffrey A. Cohen and Charles E. Brownell, The Architectural Drawings of Benjamin Henry Latrobe [1994], vol. 2, pt. 2, pp. 383–5; Stein, Worlds description begins Susan R. Stein, The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, 1993 description ends , 158). Among the best-known examples of Roman architecture from the reign of the emperor dioclesian (Diocletian) are his baths at Rome and palace at Split (Latrobe, Papers description begins John C. Van Horne and others, eds., The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1984–88, 3 vols. description ends , 2:319n). Robert carter died later this year (Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901 description ends , 165).

1Word interlined in place of “are.”

Index Entries

  • Armstrong, John; and merino sheep search
  • bear, grizzly; skin sent to TJ search
  • Capitol, U.S.; B. H. Latrobe’s drawings of search
  • Carter, Robert; health of search
  • Coles, Isaac A.; and merino sheep search
  • Coles, Isaac A.; and TJ’s Washington effects search
  • Coles, Isaac A.; letters to search
  • Congress, U.S.; B. H. Latrobe’s drawings of U.S. Capitol search
  • Diocletian; drawings of palace of search
  • Enniscorthy (I. A. Coles’s Albemarle Co. estate) search
  • Essay on Sheep (Livingston) search
  • Everette, Charles; mentioned search
  • Fouché, Joseph, duc d’Otrante search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Portraits; T. Kosciuszko engraving search
  • Kosciuszko, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura; profiles of TJ by search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; and merino sheep search
  • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry; drawings by search
  • Livingston, Robert R.; and merino sheep search
  • Livingston, Robert R.; Essay on Sheep search
  • merino sheep; French search
  • Oeuvres (A. R. J. Turgot) search
  • paintings search
  • Philadelphia; wool analyzed at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ returns from search
  • President’s House; and T. Kosciuszko’s profiles of TJ search
  • Sokolnicki, Michel search
  • Turgot, Anne Robert Jacques; Oeuvres search
  • wool; samples of search