Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 4 November 1809

To Albert Gallatin

Monticello Nov. 4. 09

Dear Sir

Not knowing whether the inclosed letter may give you information either new or useful, I hazard it on the bare possibility that it may. the writer both as to candor & understanding is worthy of entire credit. he is the son of a wheat-fan maker in my neighborhood, & living in the hollow of a mountain unknown to every body & with only a common education, he by some means got a copy of Gibson’s surveying, an Euclid Etc and became, without aid from any one, master of their contents. hearing of him accidentally, I proposed to him to come to Monticello, gave him the use of my books his board, lodging, & moderate wages, with the liberty of dividing his time between reading & work as he pleased. he staid here about two years, & improved himself highly in Mathematics, & being desirous of going into the Western country, I gave him a recommendation to Briggs then Chief Surveyor South of Tennissee. Briggs soon discovered his value & made him his factotum, delivering the care of his office to him entirely, & left him in charge of it when he came away. since this I had heard nothing from him till the reciept of the inclosed letter. he is a man of the purest & most disinterested character, and harbors malice against no mortal. his views may be mistaken, but they are always clear of passion. I have gone thus far into his character that you may estimate properly his information if it contains any thing material. ever affectionately Yours

Th: Jefferson

RC (NHi: Gallatin Papers); at foot of text: “Mr Gallatin.” PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: Gideon Fitz to TJ, 12 Aug. 1809, not found, but recorded in SJL as received from Opelousas on 30 Oct. 1809.

Index Entries

  • A Treatise of Practical Surveying (Gibson) search
  • Briggs, Isaac; surveyor of federal lands search
  • education; at Monticello search
  • Fitz, Gideon; letters from accounted for search
  • Fitz, Gideon; surveying work of search
  • Gallatin, Albert; letters to search
  • Gibson, Robert; A Treatise of Practical Surveying search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction from search
  • Simson, Robert; The Elements of Euclid search
  • surveying; TJ provides training in search
  • The Elements of Euclid (R. Simson) search