To John Payne Todd
Monticello Aug. 15. 16.
You have given me, my dear Payne, a very handsome keep-sake which has amused me much, and not the less by the puzzle it has afforded me, to find out the method of rectifying it. I at length discovered it, and that it was only necessary to loosen a little a single screw to throw it out of geer, and to throw it in again after setting the index. it was exactly 10° wrong. it is indeed a very convenient travelling thermometer.
You must now accept a keep-sake from me, which may suit you as a sportsman, better than myself who have ceased to be one. I send by the stage, to be lodged for you at Orange C. H. a box containing a pair of Turkish pistols. they were originally with wheel-locks, which not being convenient, I had locks of the modern form substituted, but so that they can be changed for the former in a moment. they are 20. inch barrels so well made that I never missed a squirrel 30. yards with them. I fixed one in a wooden holster to hang in the loop of the pommel of my saddle to be handily taken out & in, having used it daily while I had a horse who would stand fire. I had other holsters also made for both to hang them at the side of my carriage for road use; & with locks & staples to secure them from being handled by curious people. one of the wheel locks is a little out of order, and will require a skilful gunsmith to put to rights it is now cocked, and I could not find out how to discharge it.
the key is with them; and they wind up to the right, or with the sun. in the hope they will afford you sport in your daily rides, I pray you to accept the assurance of my friendship & respect and to present the same to the president and mrs Madison.
RC (Christie’s, New York City, 1990; facsimile, lacking address cover, in its catalogue of Printed Books and Manuscripts including Americana, 8 June 1990, lot 91; photocopy including address cover from NUt, 1955, in TJ Editorial Files); addressed: “Payne Todd esq. at the President’s near Orange C. H.”; franked; postmarked Milton, 16 Aug. PoC (MHi); on recto of reused address cover of Charles Thomson to TJ, 16 May 1816; mutilated at seal; endorsed by TJ.
- carriages; TJ installs pistols in search
- firearms; Turkish pistols search
- Madison, Dolley Payne Todd (James Madison’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
- Madison, James (1751–1836); greetings sent to search
- pistols; given as gift search
- pistols; used by TJ search
- scientific instruments; thermometers search
- squirrels search
- thermometers; TJ receives from J. P. Todd search
- Todd, John Payne; letters to search
- Todd, John Payne; TJ receives thermometer from search
- Todd, John Payne; TJ sends pistols to search