Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Clarke, 5 September 1820

To James Clarke

Monticello Sep. 5. 20.

Dear Sir

I have duly recieved your favor of the 1st instant requesting my opinion of the merits of your Odometer, which I shall give with pleasure and satisfaction having had it in use for 13. years. I think it as simple as we can expect such a machine to be, having only three toothed wheels, entirely accurate inconsiderable in weight and volume, and of convenient application to the carriage. with respect to it’s originality, I can only say I have known no Odometer either in Europe or America, resembling it in any degree, or at all to be compared with it, in all it’s characters and merit taken together. I continue still to use it, finding great satisfaction in having miles announced by the bell as by milestones on the road. with this testimony whic[h] I render as a duty, I pray you to accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of otherwise unlocated letter from a Mr. Roscoe to TJ, 22 Mar. 1820 (addressed: “To his Excellency Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Boston, 22 Mar.; recorded in SJL as a letter of that date received 30 Mar. 1820 from “Roscoe. publisher of poems. Boston”); mutilated at seal, with one word rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “Colo James Clarke”; endorsed by TJ.

Index Entries

  • carriages; odometers for search
  • Clarke, James (of Powhatan Co.); letters to search
  • Clarke, James (of Powhatan Co.); odometer of search
  • inventions; odometer search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; odometer of J. Clarke search
  • odometers search
  • Roscoe, Mr. (Boston publisher); letter from accounted for search