Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: William Thackara to Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 22 December 1817


William Thackara to Benjamin Henry Latrobe

Philada Decr 22 1817


Yours of the 27 ult was duly received and the only apology I can offer for the delay of this letter is that I have been useing every exertion in my power for to obtain the Book you wrote for but I am sorry to add without success as there is an express rule of the Carpenter’s Company that the book is not to be seen out of the pale of their Church

Sir it was with no small emotion of surprise that I read that part of your letter in which you state your Resignation of the architectureal department of the Capitol   but on Reveiwing the Character of Samuel Lane as Commissioner of the Public Buildings at Washington that surprise soon vanish’d for I know him by actual Experience an artful and an Insinuating Villain

With every wish for your Prosperity I remain Your Huml Sert

Wm Thackara

RC (DLC); addressed: “B. H Latrobe Esqr City of Washington”; stamped; inconsistently postmarked Philadelphia, 21 Dec.

William Thackara (ca. 1771–1823), plasterer, worked on Philadelphia’s Congress Hall, 1793–95, on both the Bank of Philadelphia and the United States Capitol in 1808, and on the Pennsylvania State House (later known as Independence Hall) in 1816. In 1804 he was a founder and the first president of the Master Plasterers’ Company of Philadelphia. Thackara worked at various times with architects Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Robert Mills, and William Strickland on a number of Philadelphia’s finest buildings. In 1817 he declined the commission for plastering the President’s House in Washington when commissioner Samuel Lane would not agree to the terms used by the Master Plasterers’ Company. Thackara died in Philadelphia (Robert Donald Crompton, “William Thackara, Jr.: Master Plasterer of Early Philadelphia,” Plastering Industries 46 [Oct. 1960]: 27–37; Latrobe, Papers description begins John C. Van Horne and others, eds., The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1984–88, 3 vols. description ends , 2:348n, 525n; Philadelphia Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 12 June 1823).

Index Entries

  • Articles of the Carpenters Company of the City and County of Philadelphia: and their Rules for measuring and valuing House Carpenters Work search
  • books; of builders’ prices search
  • Capitol, U.S.; B. H. Latrobe works on search
  • Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia; Articles of the Carpenters Company of the City and County of Philadelphia: and their Rules for measuring and valuing House Carpenters Work search
  • Lane, Samuel; as commissioner of public buildings search
  • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry; letter to, from W. Thackara search
  • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry; resigns from work on U.S. Capitol search
  • Philadelphia; builders’ prices in search
  • Thackara, William; and builders’ prices search
  • Thackara, William; identified search
  • Thackara, William; letter from, to B. H. Latrobe search