Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on St. George Tucker’s Measurements of the Natural Bridge, 9 September 1795

Notes on St. George Tucker’s Measurements of the Natural Bridge

Mr. Tucker’s measures of the Natural bridge.
Sep. 9. 1795.
 f  I
height from top of bridge to1 bottom of water 196–9
    the water 2. I. deep.
conjectural thickness of the arch near middle  56–10
from abutment to abutment across the stream
    under upper side of bridge  70–9
    under lower side of do.  54–2
    narrowest part (a little below middle)2  48–8

MS (DLC); written entirely in TJ’s hand on one side of a small parallelogram-shaped sheet; endorsed on verso: “Natural bridge.”

Tucker’s computations, like his observations of the heights of mountain peaks, are evidence of the jurist’s avocational interest in the measurement of natural features during this period, testifying to his bent for scientific investigation epitomized by the years of effort he devoted to the astronomical problem of the precession of the equinoxes (TJ to Jonathan Williams, 3 July 1796; Hans C. von Baeyer, “The Universe According to St. George Tucker,” Eighteenth Century Life, vi [1980], 67–79; Mary Haldane Coleman, St. George Tucker: Citizen of No Mean City [Richmond, 1938], 124–6).

1TJ here canceled “surf.”

2Closing parenthesis supplied.

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