Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Rembrandt Peale to Thomas Jefferson, 13 July 1813

From Rembrandt Peale

Philada July 13. 1813,

Dear Sir

In a Box of Books which general Armstrong presented to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine-Arts there were packed up several articles belonging to himself which he requested me to take charge of, It was a long time after I had them before I remarked a small package for you, containing 3 Stones which you were desirous of possessing, accompanied with a letter from the gentleman who purchased them for you. The small piece which he mentions having cemented, I found again loose—but no other damage. Dr marks & afterwards a near neighbour of yours promised to take charge of them but they failed giving me notice of their departure, and I now remit them by Mr Correa for whom they have been long waiting.

Having purchased the museum in Baltimore, I mean to form a handsome establishment in that City, the general plan of which will differ from my fathers museum, it being my intention to render it more properly a museum of Arts & Sciences, and, without neglecting any branch of Natural History to bestow my chief attention to the formation of a Picture Gallery & Depository of the course and products of manufactures—

I still hope some fortunate leisure will enable me to pay a Visit to Monticello. In the meanwhile believe me Sir

Your friend Respectfully.

Rembrandt Peale

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 1 Aug. 1813 and so recorded (as delivered “by Mr Correa de Serra”) in SJL. Enclosure: Claude Antoine Prieur Duvernois to TJ, 5 Sept. 1810.

In 1813 Peale purchased the collection formerly exhibited by James Savage as the Baltimore New Museum and, later, by Caleb Boyle as the Baltimore Permanent Museum (Peale, Papers description begins Lillian B. Miller and others, eds., The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family, 1983– , 5 vols. in 6 description ends , 3:170n, 344).

Peale’s undated “Prospectus of a Museum of Arts and Sciences, to be established in Baltimore,” a copy of which came into TJ’s possession at some point, laments that, “except in the capital cities of Europe, the inquisitive mind labours under the want” of instruction; suggests that institutions displaying “Natural and Artificial objects” scientifically are exceeded in importance only by public libraries; states that museums provide “a School of universal Knowledge” and “the means of rational Amusement, even to the most idle”; and proposes, with the aid of liberal patrons, to form such a repository, containing “Pictures, Statues, Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Insects, Shells, Plants, Minerals, Philosophical, Mechanical, Agricultural and Commercial objects of demonstration” (printed circular in DLC: TJ Papers, 228:40745–6; addressed in an unidentified hand: “Edward Johnson Esq.”).

Index Entries

  • Armstrong, John; donates books search
  • Baltimore, Md.; museums in search
  • Boyle, Caleb search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; conveys minerals to TJ search
  • Duvernois, Claude Antoine Prieur; sends minerals to TJ search
  • Marks, Dr. search
  • museums; in Baltimore search
  • museums; Philadelphia Museum search
  • Peale, Charles Willson; and Philadelphia Museum search
  • Peale, Rembrandt; Baltimore museum of search
  • Peale, Rembrandt; forwards minerals to TJ search
  • Peale, Rembrandt; letters from search
  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia) search
  • Philadelphia; Museum search