Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Johann Gotthilff Angerman, 20 December 1802

From Johann Gotthilff Angerman

Editors’ Translation

Lingen, 20 Dec. 1802

Most Gracious Sir!

Your great and widely appreciated concern for the welfare of the noble American nation is so well known that there is little need for my pitiable praise. Nevertheless, the very encouragement you offer to foreigners and observers in the most distant locations emboldens me to present a piece of writing to Your Eminence. This writing has as its principal purpose guaranteeing the safety of the property of residents of this county, who have protection under the present system of surveillance, against devastating flames of major and destructive fires, as appropriate to their individual circumstances. So all the more I hope that this treatise of mine which has just left the press may gain a favorable reception since the publication protects the security of dwellings throughout my native land and, by extension, touches the true common welfare and benefit of every country. In the fondest hope that Your Excellency will deign to receive my well-meaning intentions favorably, I have the pleasure to remain, with the greatest respect

Your most humble and completely devoted servant, who esteems you highly,

J. G. Angerman
Regional Master Builder for the Counties of
Tecklenburg and Lingen in Westphalia

RC (DLC); original in German; at head of text: “Hochgebietender hoher Herr Präsident”; endorsed by TJ as received 28 June 1803 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Johann Gotthilff Angerman, Anweisung, wie das Holz zum Haus- und Schiffsbau so zubereitet werden könne, dass es vor Feuer, Faulniss und Wurmfrass…verwahrt bleibe: nebst einer Anweisung, wie Stroh-, Rohr- und Schindeldächer feuerfest…auszuführen, auch die Feueranstalten zu verbessern seyn (Lingen, 1802).

Upon receiving Angerman’s letter and pamphlet, TJ forwarded them for translation to Jacob Wagner at the State Department, who informed TJ that they were written by “Mr. Angerman of Lingen in Westphalia” (Wagner to TJ, 28 June 1803).

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