Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Horatio G. Spafford, 15 March 1815

To Horatio G. Spafford

Monticello Mar. 15. 15.

Dear Sir

Your favors of Feb. 15. 18. and 24. have all been recieved, and you could not even at the date of the last have recieved mine of Feb. 21. on the subject of your improvement in wheel carriages. I have now to thank you for the certificate of a right to employ it in a carriage. it will be some time before I can avail myself1 of it. I have been obliged latterly2 to relinquish the use of the gigg in travelling on account of fatigue, for that of a 4 wheeled carriage to which your improvement cannot be adapted: and our carts having been always made with wooden axles, we have no works in our neighborhood where so massive an axle of iron can be made as would be necessary for a cart. I shall therefore have to apply to some distant work for one. in the mean time I should be glad to learn how it answers on trial for actual business.3

With Doctr Williams’s Natural and Civil history of Vermont I have been long acquainted. it was printed in a single vol. 8vo at Walpole in N.H. in 1794. I procured it as soon as it appeared, read it with great pleasure and consider it among the very4 best of the accounts which have been published of our different states. it now makes a part of the library I have lately ceded to Congress on the loss of theirs. if the history5 which you mention be a different work, it is unknown to me, and I shall be very glad to recieve it and to remit the price, which I can do to Philada, where I have dealings, but not so easily to Vermont or even New York, unless Congress should emit treasury bills of low denomination which may have a general currency, no bank bills being recieved here but of our own state. be so good as to present my respects to Dr Williams whom I find by your account6 to be within 3. years of my own age, and to accept yourself the assurances of my esteem & best wishes

Th: Jefferson

FC (MHi); in TJ’s hand; on verso of reused address cover in James Ligon’s hand (writing for Patrick Gibson); at foot of text: “Horatio G. Spafford Albany”; endorsed by TJ.

Samuel Williams was, indeed, close in age, having been born in the same month and year as TJ (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates description begins John L. Sibley and others, eds., Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 1873– , 18 vols. description ends , 15:134).

1Preceding two words interlined in place of “make use.”

2Word interlined.

3Sentence interlined, with the insertion mark mistakenly placed after the ninth word of the following paragraph.

4Word interlined.

5Word interlined in place of “work.”

6TJ here canceled “of his age that to be nearly.”

Index Entries

  • books; on history search
  • carriages; gigs search
  • carriages; H. G. Spafford’s improvement to search
  • carts; axles for search
  • gigs; TJ stops using search
  • inventions; of H. G. Spafford search
  • iron; for axles search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; debility search
  • Library of Congress; TJ sells personal library to search
  • patents; of H. G. Spafford search
  • Spafford, Horatio Gates; and patents and patent system search
  • Spafford, Horatio Gates; inventions of search
  • Spafford, Horatio Gates; letters to search
  • The Natural and Civil History of Vermont (S. Williams) search
  • Vermont; history of search
  • Williams, Samuel (1743–1817); age of search
  • Williams, Samuel (1743–1817); The Natural and Civil History of Vermont search