Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Cooper to Thomas Jefferson, 21 August 1818

From Thomas Cooper

August 21. 1818

Dear sir

Our election for the chemical chair comes on the first day of September. The issue is uncertain. I think the family influence of Mr Rob. Hare is likely to prevail. I have received an invitation from De Witt Clinton, Dr Hosack and Dr McNeven of New York, to accept of a chair of Chemistry connected with a board of agriculture there: the salary contemplated 2500$: but I have written in reply that I cannot accept of it under present circumstances.

I write at present to request your influence with Mr Monroe to send out in some capacity or other, our Mr Thomas Say, and Mr Thos Nuttal; really, as Zoologist and as Botanist, in the Macedonian. They have done more than any two other men of late, to extend our scientific reputation abroad, and are noticed with great respect in the Journal de Physique for last January. M. Correa is at Albany or he would heartily join in this recommendation. They want nothing more than a salary that would decently suffice for necessaries of life, during the cruise, and facilities to pursue their objects.

Why cannot we begin a system for a regular supply of a national Museum, by giving orders to Captains of national vessels to bring home objects of natural history? Knowing your continued love for science, I venture to make this request. I remain ever

Dear sir Your faithful & obliged friend

Thomas Cooper

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 2 Sept. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Patrick Gibson, 9 Dec. 1818, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esq Montecello Virginia”; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 21 Aug.

Cooper served on an American Philosophical Society committee charged with securing government permission for Thomas Say and Thomas Nuttall to travel to the Pacific Ocean on the United States frigate macedonian (APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Minutes, 21 Aug. 1818 [MS in PPAmP]; Richard G. Beidleman, “Some Biographical Sidelights on Thomas Nuttall, 1786–1859,” APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings 104 [1960]: 88–9). Nuttall and Say were recognized for their contributions to botany and zoology, respectively, in the journal de physique 86 (1818): 76, 82, 83–4, 85. Both had published articles in the Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, vol. 1 (1817–18).

Index Entries

  • Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia; journal of search
  • agriculture; Board of Agriculture of the State of New-York search
  • American Philosophical Society; and natural history exploration search
  • Board of Agriculture of the State of New-York; and chemical chair search
  • chemistry; collegiate education in search
  • Clinton, DeWitt; as governor of N.Y. search
  • Cooper, Thomas; academic career of search
  • Cooper, Thomas; and American Philosophical Society search
  • Cooper, Thomas; and proposed national museum search
  • Cooper, Thomas; letters from search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; and American Philosophical Society search
  • Hare, Robert; as university professor search
  • Hosack, David; and N.Y. board of agriculture search
  • Journal de physique search
  • Macedonian, HMS (frigate) search
  • Macneven, William James; and N.Y. board of agriculture search
  • Monroe, James; presidency of search
  • natural history; observations on search
  • New York (state); board of agriculture search
  • Nuttall, Thomas; as scientist search
  • Pennsylvania, University of search
  • Say, Thomas; as scientist search
  • schools and colleges; University of Pennsylvania search