Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 10 October 1809

To Benjamin Henry Latrobe

Monticello Oct. 10. 09.

Dear Sir

Your favor of Aug. 28. came duly to hand, and I congratulate you on the succesful completion of your great arch of the Senate chamber as well as that of the Hall of Justice. I have no doubt you will finish those rooms so as to be worthy counterparts of that of the Representatives. it would give me pleasure to learn that Congress will consent to proceed on the Middle building. I think that the work when finished will be a durable and honorable monument of our infant republic, and will bear favorable comparison with the remains of the same kind of the antient republics of Greece & Rome. I have no doubt that your Cerealian capital will be handsome: and shall be happy to recieve the Model of it. the stone which Andrei and Franzoni are preparing for me, need only be sculptured on one side. I propose to set it into the middle of the frize of a Chimney piece.

Your promised visit to Monticello, whenever it can be effected, will give me real pleasure, and I think could not fail of giving some to you. my essay in Architecture has been so much subordinated to the law of convenience, & affected also by the circumstance of change in the original design, that it is liable to some unfavorable & just criticisms. but what nature has done for us is sublime & beautiful and unique. you could not fail to take out your pencil & to add another specimen of it’s excellence in landscape to your drawing of the Capitol & Capitol hill. the difficulty would be in the choice between the different scenes,1 where a panorama alone could fully satisfy. I salute you with great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Latrobe”; endorsed by TJ.

The drawing may have been Latrobe’s 1806 perspective of the east and north front of the United States capitol (Latrobe, Papers description begins John C. Van Horne and others, eds., The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1984–88, 3 vols. description ends , 2:410).

1Reworked from “between different portions.”

Index Entries

  • Andrei, Giovanni; and carving for TJ search
  • architecture; TJ’s opinion on Monticello as search
  • Capitol, U.S.; construction and repair of search
  • Capitol, U.S.; corncob capitals for search
  • corn; cob capitals for U.S. Capitol search
  • Franzoni, Giuseppe Antonio; and carving for TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; architecture search
  • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry; and model of corncob capitals search
  • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry; letters to search
  • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry; proposed visit to Monticello search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); landscape view of search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); TJ describes architecture of search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Latrobe, Benjamin Henry search
  • Senate, U.S.; chamber of search