Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to George Watterston, 20 October 1815

To George Watterston

Monticello Oct. 20. 15.

I thank you, Sir, for the paper you have been so kind as to return me from Bezout. it was nothing more than an exemplification of the process prescribed in his book. the other leaf or leaves inserted therein are not desired. they were inserted as a supplement to his spherical trigonometry, because he omits (as nearly all French Mathematicians do) Ld Napier’s1 catholic canon, which is of great value, as supplying the many rules in that branch by a single one, easily retained in the memory. I inserted the same in Potter’s mathematics, because he has given Ld Napier’s canon unintelligibly & incorrectly.

With respect to the 3. vols of Virginia laws, 2 of them are in my own possession, but at a distant place from which no conveyance has yet occurred; but there will be one about the last of next month. the other is a MS. volume of laws never yet printed. mr Hening had borrowed it, being the only copy now existing. he is engaged in having the inedited acts in it printed, and as soon as that is done, it will be forwarded to you. Accept the assurance of my esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NN: T. H. Morrell Collection); at foot of text: “Mr George Watterston.” PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ, postmarked Philadelphia; endorsed by TJ; with foot of recto containing an unrelated salutation, dateline, and internal address of a letter to James Lloyd dated Philadelphia, 22 Aug. 1815, in an unidentified hand.

For the ms. volume of laws never yet printed, see TJ to Watterston, 7 May 1815, and note. inedited: “unpublished” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols.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: “Nepier’s.”

Index Entries

  • A System of Practical Mathematics (J. Potter) search
  • Bézout, Étienne; Cours De Mathématiques search
  • books; on mathematics search
  • Cours De Mathématiques (É. Bézout) search
  • Hening, William Waller; and TJ’s collection of Va. laws search
  • Hening, William Waller; The Statutes at Large search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; files notes in books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; loans books search
  • Library of Congress; TJ’s notes retrieved from search
  • mathematics; books on search
  • mathematics; Napier’s theorem search
  • mathematics; trigonometry search
  • Napier, John (of Merchiston); mathematical theorem of search
  • Potter, John (mathematician); A System of Practical Mathematics search
  • The Statutes at Large (W. W. Hening); sources for search
  • Virginia; laws of search
  • Virginia; TJ’s collection of laws of search
  • Watterston, George; as librarian of Congress search
  • Watterston, George; letters to search