Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Ferdinand R. Hassler, 25 December 1819

To Ferdinand R. Hassler

Monticello. Dec. 25 19.


I have duly recieved your favor of the 10th tendering us the benefit of your acknoleged talents for the Mathematical professorship in the University we are establishing, and I regret that it’s unforwardness puts it out of my power to give you an answer of any decisive complexion. our buildings are as yet not half compleated; and it depends on our legislature, now in session whether we shall be able to finish them in 1. or 2. years more, or must be contented, with inadequate funds, to proceed at a snail’s pace, to their completion at the distance of some years. but until they are compleated our funds must be all devoted to that object.

Dr Patterson was so kind as to send me, sometime ago, a list of Mathematical and Astronomical instruments procured by you in London for the U.S. for the purpose of their survey of the coast. as this object seems to be relinquished, they might possibly be willing to cede these instruments at a reasonable price for our University. will you be so good as to inform me whether they remain uninjured, and what was the amount of their original cost, in the shop? you will much oblige me in so doing.

I have been on a former occasion indebted to you for being instrumental in furnishing our neighboring town with the most skilful artist I have known in the line of watchmaker. mr Leschot is perfect in that art, is a most correct and excellent citizen, and I am glad to be able to assure you he is doing as well as himself wishes. I am confident that a silversmith of equal worth would find full employment in the same place. Accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (facsimile in Christie’s, New York City, auction catalogue of Americana and General Historical Letters and Documents, 10 Dec. 1999, lot 90, p. 77); at foot of text: “Mr Hassler.” PoC (DLC); top right corner torn; endorsed by TJ.

Index Entries

  • Charlottesville, Va.; silversmith needed in search
  • Charlottesville, Va.; watchmaker needed in search
  • Hassler, Ferdinand Rudolph; and instruments for U.S. Coast Survey search
  • Hassler, Ferdinand Rudolph; and watchmaker for Charlottesville search
  • Hassler, Ferdinand Rudolph; letter to search
  • Hassler, Ferdinand Rudolph; seeks position at University of Virginia search
  • Leschot, Louis A.; as watchmaker search
  • mathematics; University of Virginia professorship of search
  • Patterson, Robert; and F. R. Hassler’s claim search
  • scientific instruments; for U.S. Coast Survey search
  • scientific instruments; for University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; opening of delayed search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty applicants search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; mathematics professorship search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; scientific instruments for search