Thomas Jefferson Papers

Samuel H. Smith to Thomas Jefferson, 15 February 1815

From Samuel H. Smith

Washington,1 Feb. 15. 1815.

Dear Sir

I tender you my cordial felicitations on the returning blessings of peace, the value of wch will be more sensibly realised by a people who have borne with fortitude the privations and met with courage the perils of war,—blessings to wch they have always had a moral right, and wch they now hold by2 the tenure of physical power. How inestimable the benefits that have flowed from the possession of New Orleans! and how ridiculous the prophecies, that it would weaken, if not destroy the union! Its annexation to our territories saved us from3 war: its brave defence has4 insured us a lasting and honorable peace. May these precious consolations, unalloyed, descend with you to the grave!

Agreeably to the law lately passed, the Library Committee have desired the Secretary of the Treasury to issue, payable to your order, Treasury Notes to the amount of 23,950 dollars, this being the exact amount at wch the Library was valued by Mr Milligan. Will you advise me how these Notes shall be filled? If with your name, they must be sent to you for your endorsement before they can be transferred to another. If you wish to appropriate them here or elsewhere to any immediate purpose, a letter from you, desiring them to be filled with the name of any one, will be a sufficient warrant to the Secretary. I have requested that they be not made out until your answer is received. The Chairman of the Come has promised a return of the Catalogue, wch shall, as soon as received, be forwarded to you.5

The Committee, not considering themselves authorised to take any steps for the transportation of the Library, purpose to obtain a power from Congress to act on this point.

I am, with invariable sentiments of the highest regard & respect.

Sa H Smith

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire”; endorsed by TJ as received 23 Feb. 1815 and so recorded in SJL. Dft (DLC: J. Henley Smith Papers); endorsed by Smith, in part, as “Respecti[n]g Library, &c.”

The United States’s annexation of Louisiana had helped to prevent a war with France. On 20 Feb. 1815 the chairman of the congressional Joint Library Committee, Senator Robert H. Goldsborough, reported “a bill to provide a library room, and for transporting the library lately purchased from Thomas Jefferson, Esquire, to the city of Washington” (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States description ends , 5:652).

1RC and Dft: “Washigton.”

2Word interlined in Dft in place of “under.”

3In Dft Smith here canceled “one.”

4In Dft Smith here canceled “snatched.”

5Sentence set as its own paragraph in Dft.

Index Entries

  • An Act to authorize the purchase of the library of Thomas Jefferson (1815) search
  • Goldsborough, Robert H.; chairs congressional Joint Library Committee search
  • Great Britain; peace with search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; catalogue of search
  • Library of Congress; and library committees of Congress search
  • Library of Congress; payment for TJ’s library search
  • Library of Congress; TJ sells personal library to search
  • Library of Congress; TJ’s catalogue of books sold to search
  • Library of Congress; transportation of TJ’s books to Washington search
  • Milligan, Joseph; and sale of TJ’s library to Congress search
  • New Orleans; and War of1812 search
  • New Orleans; S. H. Smith on search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; and sale of TJ’s library to Congress search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; and transportation of TJ’s library search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; letters from search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; on New Orleans search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; on peace with Great Britain search
  • Treasury Department, U.S.; treasury notes search
  • War of1812; defense of New Orleans search