Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Richard Claiborne, 21 February 1795

To Richard Claiborne

Monticello Feb. 21. 95.

Dr Sir

I have recieved with great pleasure your favor of Jan. 8. informing me of your return to America, and of the measures you have taken for adding useful arts and inhabitants to our country. The machines which perform the labours of man are peculiarly valuable in a country where there is more to do than men to do it. Perhaps we may not be entirely mature for all the articles of your catalogue, but we are so for most of them, and a little time will shew which of them it may be most advantageous to pursue or to abandon. I wish every possible success to them all, as well as to your college. I have myself withdrawn my attentions within the limits of my farm, absolutely tired out with public affairs, and giving place to those who have longer to live and to feel the benefits or evils which are to result from the management of them. I retain however my good wishes for the worthy characters which I have had occasion to know in my course of public life: and I beg you to accept particularly your share in them, and the sentiments of esteem with which I have the honor to be Dear Sir Your most obedt. & most humble servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Colo. Richard Claiborne.”

Claiborne’s favor of Jan. 8, recorded in SJL as received from Philadelphia on 27 Jan. 1795, has not been found.

Your college: on 29 Dec. 1794 Claiborne, an amateur artist and friend of Charles Willson Peale, was elected secretary of “The Columbianum,” an association established in Philadelphia for the “protection and encouragement of the Fine Arts” in America. For committee minutes signed by Claiborne and other documents pertaining to the short-lived organization which proposed to support artists by founding an Academy of Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting within the United States, see Peale, Papers description begins Lillian B. Miller and others, eds., The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family, New Haven, 1983–2000, 5 vols. in 6 description ends , ii, pt. 1, 101–13. For the controversy which divided and destroyed the organization, see Charles Coleman Sellers, Charles Willson Peale, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1947), ii, 65–75.

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