Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Vaughan, 1 March 1815

To John Vaughan

Monticello Mar. 1. 15.

Dear Sir

On the destruction of the Capitol and library at Washington, I offered to Congress my library to replace that which they had lost. it was peculiarly a library for American statesmen, and, in that way, a collection invaluable to the US. the divisions of Classics, Politics, Law, Geography & history, and American history and geography especially, constituted it’s principal mass. having been for 40. years myself abstracted by other duties from the Mathematical and Physical sciences, I had added little in those classes to my early stock. Congress has accepted the offer, and I have now to reprocure for myself very many of the books yielded to them. I must do this chiefly by importations from Paris and London, at each of which places of course I must make deposits of money, perhaps of 500.D. at each the first year. at the latter place this will be at the disposal of my antient friend and class-mate, James Maury, our Consul at Liverpool. but at Paris I have no correspondent in the mercantile or banking way. does mr Girard retain connections of business there, and would he consent to1 be the medium for my little concerns? or can you advise me to any other? I should also have to ask the favor of you to procure me bills to the amount of what I shall remit you when my catalogue & funds shall be ready. the readiest remittance to you would be in Treasury bills of the emission under the law of Mar. 4. 14. which are payable in one year from their date with 5 p.c. interest, this being the medium I am to recieve for my books. will this sell at par, or at what price, with you? if below par, I must defer my proceedings until a concourse of vessels and of demand at our market for tobacco and flour will enable me to sell mine to advantage, which will probably not be till May. I must place with you at the same time some additional funds to answer the purchase of such books as I may get in Philadelphia. will you be so good as to advise me of the price of such stock, and of bills on London, Liverpool or Paris for my government? I believe this application to you is in the regular line of your business, altho’ I am not certainly informed as to that. if so, consider it as made from a preference of your agency to that of any other; if not, indulge it on the ground of friendship, & to one who would otherwise be at a loss from whom to ask such information. I salute you with friendship and respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (PPAmP: Vaughan Papers); addressed: “John Vaughan esquire Philadelphia”; franked; postmarked Milton, 2 Mar. PoC (DLC); on reused address cover of Robert M. Patterson to TJ, 3 Dec. 1814; endorsed by TJ.

Under the provisions of the 30 Jan. 1815 legislation authorizing the purchase of TJ’s library, the former president was to be paid in bills issued under the law of mar. 4. 14, “An act to authorize the issuing of treasury notes for the service of the year one thousand eight hundred and fourteen” (U.S. Statutes at Large, 3:100–2, 195).

1Preceding two words interlined separately in RC and PoC.

Index Entries

  • An act to authorize the issuing of treasury notes for the service of the year one thousand eight hundred and fourteen (1814) search
  • An Act to authorize the purchase of the library of Thomas Jefferson (1815) search
  • books; on geography search
  • books; on history search
  • books; on mathematics search
  • books; on politics search
  • Capitol, U.S.; and War of1812 search
  • flour; sale of search
  • geography; books on search
  • Girard, Stephen; and TJ’s lines of credit search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; TJ’s personal search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and payment for library search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; lines of credit in Europe search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; sells flour search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; sells tobacco search
  • law; books on search
  • Library of Congress; destroyed by British troops 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
  • mathematics; books on search
  • Maury, James; and purchase of books for TJ search
  • tobacco; sale of search
  • Treasury Department, U.S.; treasury notes search
  • Vaughan, John; and TJ’s lines of credit in Europe search
  • Vaughan, John; letters to search
  • Vaughan, John; TJ purchases books through search
  • War of1812; British destruction in Washington search
  • Washington, D.C.; British destruction in search