Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Lambert to Thomas Jefferson, 8 January 1811

From William Lambert

City of Washington, January 8th 1811.


I inclose for your acceptance, a printed copy of my answer to the Critical Reviewers of Boston, in Massachusetts, who have, in their review for the month of October last, published a number of remarks against my papers submitted to Congress at their last session, relative to the establishment of a first meridian for the United States. Altho’ I dislike much to appear before the public in the style and manner forced upon me by those reviewers, yet I thought it advisable so to do, and1 to counteract unfavorable impressions not more insidious in their tendency, than in the2 form of proceeding, and method of circulation. I wish it was in my power to send you a copy of the review; but I have as yet seen but one of them.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, Your most Obedt servant,

William Lambert.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson, late President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 8 Jan. 1812 received 13 Jan. 1811 and so recorded (with correct year of composition) in SJL. Enclosure: Lambert, To the Critical Reviewers of Boston, in the state of Massachusetts (Washington, D.C., Dec. 1810; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library [1829] description ends , 7 [no. 305]; TJ’s copy at ViU).

On 19 Apr. 1810 Lambert sent TJ a highly critical reaction to Lambert’s proposal for an American prime meridian. It subsequently appeared in the october 1810 issue of the Monthly Anthology, and Boston Review. Lambert’s rejoinder, enclosed here, vigorously defended his calculations and charged his critics with sectional and pro-British bias. In response the periodical published a “Defence of the Review of Mr. Lambert’s Memorial,” which accused Lambert of mixing party politics with science and recommended against legislative approval of Lambert’s scheme (Monthly Anthology, and Boston Review 10 [1811]: 40–8).

1Lambert here canceled “endeavor.”

2Lambert here canceled “manner.”

Index Entries

  • Boston, Mass.; W. Lambert criticized in search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Lambert, William; and prime meridian search
  • Lambert, William; letters from search
  • Lambert, William; To the Critical Reviewers of Boston search
  • Monthly Anthology, and Boston Review search
  • prime meridian search
  • To the Critical Reviewers of Boston (Lambert) search
  • “Defence of the Review of Mr. Lambert’s Memorial,” search