Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Arthur S. Brockenbrough, 17 May 1819

To Arthur S. Brockenbrough

Monticello May 17. 19.


I have recieved a letter from Philadelphia which very much affects our arrangements for this year. mr Ware on whom we relied to come himself and bring brickmakers & layers to do a whole range of buildings was it seems under embarrassing circumstances, & on it’s being known that he was coming here, he was arrested by his creditors & was in jail at the date of the letter. what are we to do?—in the first place keep this a profound secret until we can substitute contracts to supply his place. if you are satisfied that Carter can do as good work as the best already done at the University engage him largely for what is yet to be done. and it would be very desirable that he should get the two young men who executed pavilion N. 2. I do not know their names, but they were brothers and journeymen of Brown, and there being no work going on in Lynchburg I suppose they could easily be had. I shall write immediately to Dr Cooper to send us on housejoiners from Philadelphia, which he has assured me1 he could do on the best terms: and I think it necessary for our own credit we should get some workmen from Philadelphia lest we should seem really to have been jockeying our own workmen. before too that this thing be known you should have written articles signed by all your workmen, for they will endeavor to fly the way when they suspect that the Philadelphia competition is withdrawn. Genl Cocke and my self think it better to reserve the question about changing the plan of the Hotels & dormitories for the decision of the visitors at their next meeting, and instead of executing the row on the backstreet which you laid off2 we will do the opposite row of Pavilions & dormitories on the East side of the lawn so as to compleat the buildings for the Professors this year, and leave the hotels for the next year. 4. pavilions, if we can accomplish them will take3 upwards of 400,000. bricks and 26. dormitories will take 40,000. & all this will be wanting if the visitors approve what we propose, of which we have no doubt. I salute you with esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViU: TJP-PP); with seemingly unrelated calculations by Brockenbrough adjacent to signature; at foot of text: “Mr Brockenbrough”; endorsed by Brockenbrough. PoC (DLC); on verso of portion of reused address cover; endorsed by TJ.

TJ later redesignated pavilion n. 2. as Pavilion III. No letter from TJ to Thomas cooper requesting housejoiners from Philadelphia has been found.

In a letter from Alexander Garrett to Brockenbrough, Charlottesville, 24 May 1819, Garrett writes: “Yours of the 19th instant I recieved this morning, and sent it this evening to Mr Jefferson, he writes me that he wrote to you on the 17th and supposes you got his letter on the evening of the date of yours to me. his letter will no doubt give you full imformation [i.e., information] relative to the Philadelphia workman and also inform you whether it be necessary for you to come up immediately or not” (RC in ViU: PP). TJ’s 24 May 1819 letter to Garrett is not recorded in SJL, and neither that nor the 19 May 1819 letter from Brockenbrough to Garrett has been found.

1Word added in margin.

2Preceding four words interlined.

3TJ here canceled “half a million of bricks.”

Index Entries

  • brickmaking; for University of Virginia search
  • Brockenbrough, Arthur Spicer; as University of Virginia proctor search
  • Brockenbrough, Arthur Spicer; letters to search
  • Brown, Matthew; and brickwork for Central College search
  • building materials; bricks search
  • Carter, Curtis; as brick-mason for University of Virginia search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell (1780–1866); and University of Virginia construction search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); and builders for University of Virginia search
  • Garrett, Alexander; as University of Virginia bursar search
  • Garrett, Alexander; letter to accounted for search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and construction of University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; brickmakers and brick-masons for search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; building materials for search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; carpenters and joiners for search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; design of search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; dormitory rooms search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; East Lawn search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; hotels search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; Pavilion III search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; pavilions search
  • Ware, Richard; and builders for University of Virginia search
  • Ware, Richard; insolvency of search