Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to José Corrêa da Serra, 20 July 1816

To José Corrêa da Serra

Monticello July 20. 16.

Dear Sir

I returned from Poplar Forest about a week ago, and found here your favor of June 16. I learn with sincere regret your rheumatic indisposition; and the more as it strikes so directly at your summum bonum of botanical rambles. would it not be well to direct these towards the Augusta springs, which we consider as specific for that complaint? they are but about 80. or 90. miles from Monticello. but of this we will say more when we have the pleasure of seeing you here; which from the ‘few weeks’ of your letter of June 16. we daily hope. mr Gilmer is also daily expected by his friends.     I am very glad to learn that 3. more of Capt Lewis’s volumes are found, and hope the rest will reappear in time, as no one could think of destroying them. as to the Astronomical observations & the Vocabularies, I will write to Genl Clarke to obtain his order for their delivery to the war-office, to which they belong. besides the notoriety of the fact that the expedition was under public authority, at public expence, & for public objects and consequently that all it’s results are public property, in the XIVth page of the life of Capt Lewis prefixed to the History of his expedition, it will be seen that the Astronomical observations were expressly directed to be rendered to the War office for the purpose of having the calculations made by proper persons within the US. if on these considerations mr Biddle would think himself authorised to deliver these papers to the order of the Secy at war, I will sollicit such an order to be given in favor of such person as the Secretary may engage to make the calculations. but if mr Biddle1 has any scruples of delicacy with respect to Genl Clarke I shall not press it, but wait an answer from him, which will only add 3. or 4. months to the delay already incurred. I hope my anxieties and interference in this matter will be excused, when my agency in the enterprise is considered, and that the most important justification of it, still due to the public depends on these astronomical observations, as from them alone can be obtained the correct geography of the country, which was the main object of the expedition.

I thank you for the new recipe for the cement. I think it more easily practised than the former one, which, by the bye I have recovered. I had stuck the paper into a little Cornelius Nepos which I had in my pocket at the Natural bridge, and had replaced the volume on it’s shelf at Poplar Forest without observing the paper.   I am in the daily hope of seeing you, and the more anxiously lest the recurrence of my calls to Bedford should repeat the last year’s misfortune. but as the next visit to that place has nothing to fix it to a day, it can be accomodated to your movements if known without the least inconvenience. ever & affectionately yours

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on reused address cover from Caspar Wistar to TJ; at foot of first page: “M. Correa de Serra”; endorsed by TJ.

TJ wrote the life of Meriwether Lewis printed in Biddle, Lewis and Clark Expedition description begins Nicholas Biddle, History of the Expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the Sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. Performed during the years 1804–5–6. By order of the Government of the United States, Philadelphia, 1814, 2 vols.; Sowerby, no. 4168; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 7 (no. 370) description ends , 1:vii–xxiii (TJ to Paul Allen, 18 Aug. 1813, Document I in a group of documents on TJ’s biography of Meriwether Lewis). William H. Crawford was the secy at war. The work by the biographer cornelius nepos was part of TJ’s petit-format classical library at Poplar Forest (Leavitt, Poplar Forest description begins Messrs. Leavitt, Catalogue of a Private Library … Also, The Remaining Portion of the Library of the Late Thomas Jefferson … offered by his grandson, Francis Eppes, of Poplar Forest, Va., 1873 description ends , 38–9 [no. 647]).

1Manuscript: “Biddel.”

Index Entries

  • Biddle, Nicholas; and Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Biddle, Nicholas; History of the Expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark search
  • books; classical search
  • building materials; cement search
  • Clark (Clarke), William; and journals of Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; letters to search
  • Crawford, William Harris; as secretary of war search
  • Gilmer, Francis Walker; plans visit to Monticello search
  • health; and warm springs search
  • History of the Expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark (N. Biddle) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Natural Bridge search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Biography of Meriwether Lewis search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; papers of search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; TJ’s biography of search
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition; journals of search
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition; latitude and longitude observations of search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; TJ visits search
  • Nepos, Cornelius; works of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); library at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ returns from search
  • springs; therapeutic search
  • War Department, U.S.; and papers of Lewis and Clark Expedition search