Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Caruthers to Thomas Jefferson, 22 November 1814

From William Caruthers

Lexington 22nd Novr 1814

Dr Sir

haveing Just Got home from the Tour I Was on to the North, when I had the Pleasure of Seeing you at Monticello,1 When you Was So Good as to Grant me the Previledge of using the Natural Bridge in this county for makeing Shot. In conformity to your recommendation, I called to See Doct Bruff in the City, also a Mr Williamson in Boltimore Both their inventions I think Display2 Great ingenuity But I doubt in practice they Will not be found to Succeed Well, especially for Small Shot Mr Williamsons3 I think a preferable plan to the Doctors

Therefore if you Will please to Send me Such Authority as Will Secure to me the use of the Bridge for Such time as you may Judge Right (make it Ten years if you please, as I Shall have to be at Some considerable expence in fixing, in Which I Shall be carefull as you Observed Not to injure the Natural curiosity) (indeed I think it May add to its Beauty)—If it is found Necessary to enclose4 a funnel (as I incline to think it Will from the Best information I could collect) it Shall be a light frame planked & painted White Without Breaking the Rock at all or in any Way injuring the Appearance of the Bridge as a Natural Curiossity Which I think ought5 to be particularly Attended to.

While on to the North I procured Such of the materials for the Machenery, & Arsncik, as could Not be procured here & Wish to proceed to make the fix for commencing6 Soon as I hear from you and hope to be ready to make in time for the Spring demand I am Verry Respectfully Yr Obt Hul Sert

Wm Caruthers

NB If you think it Necessary I Will Wait On You at Monticello, but if Not Would be Glad to close the Business in this Way—Any restrictions7 you think proper to make either as to the erection of the Works Or use of timber if you Will Signify them by letter I Will be Bound by them

RC (DLC); between dateline and salutation: “Honbl Thomas Jefferson”; with postscript written perpendicularly along the left margin; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Dec. 1814 and so recorded in SJL.

In 1813 Thomas bruff, of Washington, D.C., and Peregrine williamson, of Baltimore, each patented improvements in the manufacture of shot and bullets (List of Patents description begins A List of Patents granted by the United States from April 10, 1790, to December 31, 1836, 1872 description ends , 125, 126). Arsenic (arsncik) was used to harden lead and make balls of shot more spherical (John Percy, The Metallurgy of Lead [1870], 71).

1Manuscript: “Montcello.”

2Manuscript: “Dispay.”

3Manuscript: “Williansons.”

4Manuscript: “encolse.”

5Manuscript: “ough.”

6Manuscript: “commening.”

7Manuscript: “restrictictions.”

Index Entries

  • arsenic; used in manufacture of shot search
  • Bruff, Thomas; patent of for improved shot manufacture search
  • Caruthers, William; and Natural Bridge search
  • Caruthers, William; and shot manufacture search
  • Caruthers, William; letters from search
  • Caruthers, William; visits Monticello search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and lease of Natural Bridge search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Caruthers, William search
  • Natural Bridge, Va.; lease of search
  • patents; of P. Williamson search
  • patents; of T. Bruff search
  • shot manufacture search
  • Williamson, Peregrine; patent of for manufacturing shot search