Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to George Watterston, 27 July 1820

To George Watterston

Monticello July 27. 20.

Dear Sir

When I recieved the favor of your visit two days ago, your companion mentioned your name, but my hearing is so slow that I did not catch it, and he did not happen to call you by your name in conversation afterwards: hence I had no suspicion, during your short stay, who you were. after your departure, recollecting you had said you resided at Washington, that you spoke with familiarity of the library of Congress, and particularly the part which had been mine, and putting these things together, I began to doubt that it was the person who had the care of that library, and with whom I had had correspondence1 and riding the same day to the President’s he confirmed my doubt. had I been fortunate enough to catch your name I should certainly have pressed for a longer continuance of the favor of your visit, and with my regrets for the loss of that, I pray you to accept my assurances of the pleasure it would have given me and of my esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Rufus Woodward to TJ, 20 June 1820; endorsed by TJ: “Watterston George. July 27. 20.” Mistakenly recorded in SJL as a letter of 21 July.

Watterston’s companion on his recent visit to Monticello was a Dr. Hamilton, probably United States naval surgeon Charles B. Hamilton (City of Washington Gazette, 8 July 1820; Callahan, U.S. Navy description begins Edward W. Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900, 1901, repr. 1969 description ends , 241). the president’s: Highland, James Monroe’s Albemarle County residence.

1Manuscript: “corrispondence.”

Index Entries

  • Hamilton, Charles B. search
  • Hamilton, Dr.; visits Monticello search
  • Highland (J. Monroe’s Albemarle Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; hearing search
  • Library of Congress; librarian of search
  • Library of Congress; TJ sells personal library to search
  • Monroe, James; and G. Watterston search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Hamilton, Dr. search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Watterston, George search
  • Watterston, George; as librarian of Congress search
  • Watterston, George; letters to search
  • Watterston, George; visits Monticello search