Thomas Jefferson Papers

Samuel H. Smith to Thomas Jefferson, 30 January 1815

From Samuel H. Smith

Jan. 30. 1815.

Dear Sir

I am happy to advise You that the bill authorising1 the purchase of Your Library has passed the two houses of Congress. I enclose for Your satisfaction a copy of the bill. It now rests with the Library committee to make the final agreement. The sum stipulated is precisely that estimated by Mr Milligan. I shall, doubtless, in a few days hear from the Committee, when I will again write You.

We have had a most rigid spell of weather. The mercury in my thermometer was yesterday morning2 one degree below zero, and the ice in our streams is already a foot thick. The cold and storm without have probably driven you into the retirement of Your closet, where You must experience a fine contrast to the roaring3 winds without. It is on such occasions that man feels the reason he has to exult in his civilisation & philosophy.

I am with great & sincere respect & regard

Sa H Smith

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 5 Feb. 1815 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: “An Act to authorize the purchase of the library of Thomas Jefferson, late President of the United States,” 30 Jan. 1815 (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, 1845–67, 8 vols. description ends , 3:195).

rigid in this context means “severe” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ).

1Manuscript: “authorisig.”

2Manuscript: “mornig.”

3Manuscript: “roarig.”

Index Entries

  • An Act to authorize the purchase of the library of Thomas Jefferson (1815) search
  • Library of Congress; and library committees of Congress search
  • Library of Congress; TJ sells personal library to search
  • mercury; used in thermometers search
  • Milligan, Joseph; and sale of TJ’s library to Congress search
  • scientific instruments; thermometers search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; and sale of TJ’s library to Congress search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; letters from search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; reports on weather search
  • thermometers; mentioned search
  • weather; cold search
  • weather; ice search
  • weather; wind search