Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Edmund M. Blunt, 25 July 1811

To Edmund M. Blunt

Monticello July 25. 11.


I have duly recieved your favor of June 28. accompanied by a copy of your edition of the Nautical Almanac for the next year. for this be pleased to recieve my thanks. the present is acceptable, the book being in the form to which I have been the most accustomed. I have, for 3. or 4. years, been in the habit of using Garnet’s edition, without observing the errors you ascribe to it. the misfortunes to which such errors may expose the mariner are certainly serious, but their entire avoidance is all but impracticable. we are obliged to take those things on trust, and run the risks attending them. yet he undoubtedly who avoids most of them, deserves best of the public. the British Requisite tables have two pages of Errata closely printed. their Ephemeris is probably nearer being correct. I think you have done wisely in adhering strictly to it’s form. seamen are taught to use it mechanically, and what may be real improvements of form1 to men of science, are, with them, obstacles to it’s use. as so much of the merit of your edition depends on the accuracy of the copy, you are sensible I can say nothing on that head. even an habitual use2 furnishes but accidental detections of figures. nothing less than the literal examination which should be used by the corrector of the press, can authorise a recommendation on that head. I shall be glad to be an annual customer for your edition, & presume the deposit you propose to make at Norfolk will enable me to obtain a copy annually. wishing you an encoraging remuneration of your undertaking I tender you the assurance of my respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Edmund M. Blunt”; endorsed by TJ.

british requisite tables: Nevil Maskelyne, Tables requisite to be used with the Nautical Ephemeris for finding the Latitude and Longitude at Sea, 2d ed. (London, 1781; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3811). Bonsal, Conrad & Company, booksellers in norfolk, were listed on the cover of Blunt’s nautical almanac as among those stocking the work.

1Preceding two words interlined.

2TJ here canceled “is not sufficient to.”

Index Entries

  • almanacs, nautical; TJ on search
  • Blunt, Edmund March; letters to search
  • Blunt, Edmund March; Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris for the year 1812 search
  • Bonsal, Conrad & Company (Norfolk firm) search
  • Garnett, John; Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives books search
  • Maskelyne, Nevil; Tables requisite to be used with the Nautical Ephemeris for finding the Latitude and Longitude at Sea search
  • Tables requisite to be used with the Nautical Ephemeris for finding Latitude and Longitude at Sea (N. Maskelyne) search
  • The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris (E. M. Blunt); sent to TJ search
  • The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris (J. Garnett); errors in search